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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 29 May 2024

400-paar bows out to polarisation: After Modi, BJP returns to divisive agenda to corner Opposition

At Banswara in Rajasthan on Sunday, Modi had resorted to an undisguised attempt at polarisation by alleging that the Congress’s poll manifesto had pledged to “survey” and “attach” citizens’ properties and distribute them disproportionately among Muslims

J.P. Yadav New Delhi Published 23.04.24, 06:39 AM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s helicopter arrives at the venue of a public meeting in Aligarh on Monday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s helicopter arrives at the venue of a public meeting in Aligarh on Monday. PTI photo

The BJP and the saffron ecosystem on Monday segued into a shrill polarising rhetoric from the rallying “400-paar” cry, taking their cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

At Banswara in Rajasthan on Sunday, Modi had resorted to an undisguised attempt at polarisation by alleging that the Congress’s poll manifesto had pledged to “survey” and “attach” citizens’ properties and distribute them disproportionately among Muslims.

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For the past couple of days, Modi had stopped raising the “abki baar 400 paar” slogan at his rallies.

Two top leaders of the BJP — home minister Amit Shah and party chief J.P. Nadda — on Monday intensified the polarisation effort with shrill cries of “Jai Shri Ram” and an all-out attack on the Congress by labelling it “Ram virodhi”, “Sanatan virodhi” and “desh virodhi”.

In a statement issued under the BJP’e letterhead, home minister Shah accused the Congress of being “hell-bent on harming Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Christian, Sikh and Parsi communities to appease its vote bank”.

Shah’s statement was a rebuttal of Congress leader P. Chidambaram’s claim on Sunday that the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act would be scrapped if the Congress was voted to power.

“Blinded by the politics of appeasement, the Congress has lost its nerve upon seeing its crushing defeat in the first phase,” Shah said.

He stressed it was “Modi’s guarantee” that the persecuted minority communities who have come to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh would be given citizenship through the CAA. “And no one can stop it,” he said.

“The Congress has a problem with Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, Sikhs and Parsis receiving citizenship,” the home minister said.

Earlier, Shah accused the Congress of planning to take away the properties of Hindu “mutts and temples” and distribute them among the minorities.

BJP insiders said the change of tack was part of a strategy to draw the Opposition into the “tried-and-tested” polarising pitch and put it on the defensive.

Addressing an election rally in Kanker, Chhattisgarh, Shah accused the Congress of an intent to attach the properties of Hindu “mutts and temples” and distribute them disproportionately among the minorities.

“The Congress is raising questions over Modiji’s ‘survey’ speech. I want to ask the Congress, doesn’t their manifesto talk about conducting a survey of properties owned by citizens?” Shah told the crowd.

He went on to repeat Modi’s claim that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that “Muslims” had the first right over the country’s resources.

“Their Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, had said that minorities and not tribals had the first right over the country’s resources. Brothers and sisters, they are eyeing the properties of mutts and temples and of everyone, and where will the money go?” Shah said.

“This is the Congress’s line, and we (the BJP) say that the poor, tribals, Dalits and the OBCs have the first right over the country’s resources,” Shah said, trying to counter the fear of reservations being withdrawn if Modi returned for a third term.

Besides “Bharat Mataki jai” and “Vande Mataram”, Shah raised the slogansof “Jai Shri Ram” at therally. Like Modi, he refrained from raising the “abki baar400 paar” cry.

Party strategists feel that the “400 paar” slogan, reeking of overconfidence, had given the Opposition a tool to level the Constitution-change charge.

Nadda was also in Chhattisgarh on Monday to address poll rallies. He too accused the Congress of opposing the Ram temple and “boycotting” its inauguration by Modi. Nadda referred to “anti-Sanatan” remarks by Congress ally DMK and asked the crowd if it would like to support a “Ram virodhi, Sanatan virodhi and desh virodhi” Congress.

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