What if BJP Wins Elections? Modi’s Sectarian Politics Will Make Bigotry the Defining Ideal of the Republic

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What if BJP Wins Elections? Modi’s Sectarian Politics Will Make Bigotry the Defining Ideal of the Republic

If Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is returned to office, his sectarian politics will make bigotry the defining ideal of the republic, warns a writer in an article published by The Guardian, as Modi, unable to enhance the lives of people, has meticulously incited their passions.

“This election [2019] has, in effect, been a referendum on whether the republic retains its founding ideals or, if Modi wins another term – and exit polls released on Sunday show him winning with a comfortable majority – it leaps to a place of sectarianism from which return may be close to impossible,” he said.

In that case, the Hindu nationalism will become the official ideology of the republic, making bigotry affirmation of the republic’s ideals, by changing the constitution.

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He added that the elections were “the most consequential vote in the lifetime of a majority of Indians alive today”, as India under Modi had undergone the most total transformation since 1991.

Talking about the authoritarian approach including politicisation of military and the judiciary plunged into the most existential threat since 1975, the article said democratic institutions had been repurposed to abet Modi’s project to remake India into a Hindu nation.

Even the election commission, revered for its incorruptibility and fierce independence, functioned during this vote as an arm of Modi’s BJP, “too timid to even issue perfunctory censures of the prime minister’s egregious use of religious sloganeering”, according to the article

Modi’s “New India” is culturally arid, intellectually vacant, emotionally bruised, vain, bitter, boastful, permanently aggrieved and implacably malevolent. Moreover, bigotry against religious minorities is now a common feature of the members a self-pitying majority, as Muslims are lynched by mobs since Modi came into office for such offences as eating beef, dating Hindus and refusing to vacate their seats for Hindu commuters on crowded trains.

It notes that although sectarian prejudice has always existed in India, the room for giving it homicidal expression has expanded exponentially under Modi.

And this Hindu nationalism has inculcated extremism in the society to a level where voters say “why must Hindus bear the burden of secularism?” and “secularism would result in Hindus being outbred and ruled over by Muslims.”

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Today, the unemployment rate is the highest in 20 years, but the majority of Hindu voters say: Modi has failed us, yes, but he has at least put Muslims in their place.

But this increased reliance on religious bigotry is a result of Modi-led BJP’s failure to deliver any of the big promises, especially jobs and economic development, made after 2014 despite having an absolute majority in parliament in 2014.

The myth of Modi as a technocratic moderniser was crafted by an ensemble of intellectuals and industrialists who devoted themselves to the cause of deodorising Modi, a Hindu supremacist – who as chief minister of Gujarat in 2002 presided over a pogrom of Muslims. But it collapsed early on under the burden of the incompetence, vainglory and innate viciousness of the man who once described refugee camps housing displaced Muslims as “baby-producing centres”.

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But the actual dilemma is the absence of any alternative amidst an existential crisis. “Thus Hindu-nationalist project will neither dissipate nor die even if Modi is defeated, it will go into remission. The BJP’s leaders and cadres will outgrow Modi as he outgrew his mentors and regroup. They are incompetent in government but they are peerless in opposition.”

“And on any given day, there are tens of thousands of activists, spread out across India, preaching the gospel of Hindu nationalism and fomenting a revolution from the bottom up. They believe in their cause. Most of their adversaries long ago abandoned theirs.”

 

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