- Modi’s re-election rabble-rousing can boomerang
A clear and manifest antipathy towards Pakistan constituted the principal plank of the BJP’s electoral strategy from the outset of the 2019 Lok Sabha election campaign, but PM Narendra Modi and BJP president, Amit Shah, have gone overboard in whipping up Indian voters’ emotions into a fanatical anti-Pakistan, anti-Muslim frenzy. Today is just the third stage of the seven-phase Indian elections being held from 11 April to 23 May, thus providing ample scope for further fire-spitting oratory and mischief, more spewing of poisonous anti-Pakistan propaganda. Real voter grievances and issues, notably BJP’s massive failure in providing jobs to millions entering the labour force or boosting of the national economy, take second place; even the main opposition Congress party is being demonised as being weak on Pakistan to nervously downplay its recent successes in State elections. So, the entire drum-beating and hate-fomenting are directed at Pakistan, based on dangerously deluded Indian self-assessments, and fallacious (or fatal) analysis of Pakistan’s nuclear responses, without mature reflection or ice cold realism or, to stretch it a bit, with some modicum of Stoic self-restraint.
Modi was at his dragon fire-breathing best (or worst) on Sunday while campaigning close to the international border in Rajasthan, sounding more like a swaggering warlord rather than the usual run of politicians on the hustings desperately seeking re-election. Among the nuggets of wisdom he scattered were a fresh rerun on the vain Indian dream of having ‘called Pakistan’s nuclear bluff’, with menacing emphasis on India’s own triad of nuclear weapon’s delivery, which was (sarcasm, dripping sarcasm!) not for Diwali fireworks; taking false credit for the dubious Balakot air strikes and destruction of phantom terror camps inside Pakistani territory; amending the constitution to facilitate return of Hindus ‘oppressed’ in Pakistan; to revisit the Indus Water Treaty; and finally wistfully lamenting his absence during the 1972 Simla Agreement signing, a ‘golden opportunity’ squandered to finally end the Kashmir dispute by returning occupied Pakistani territory and POWs captured in 1971 war. Last week India had also unilaterally suspended cross-LOC trade to punish Kashmiris for boycotting the 2019 general elections and with that triumvirate of racism and hate, Trump, Netanyahu and Modi simultaneously in power, the global picture would indeed appear bleak and nasty.