Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday alluded to the Ukraine conflict to imply he had made India so strong that it could “stand firm” and look after its own interests at a time the world was divided into two camps.
While Indians were filled with despair during the tenures of past governments, now “every citizen is proudly saying that the nation is changing and going ahead swiftly”, Modi said in a virtual address to the BJP on its 42nd foundation day.
“Today, India stands firm before the world over its own interests without any fear or pressure,” Modi said. “When the entire world is divided into two rival factions, India is being seen as a nation that can firmly speak about humanity.”
The Indian government has withstood western pressure to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine and to stop doing business with Moscow. India condemned the killings of civilians, some of whose hands were tied, in Bucha and supported the call for an independent investigation. While the West is blaming Russia for the Bucha killings, India did not name any country.
Modi appeared to be celebrating his government’s stand as a sign of the country’s rising strength and stature under him, and suggested that the “changes in the global order” that the “current situation” was likely to cause would bring “many new opportunities” to India.
Modi’s self-congratulatory address comes at a time the steeply rising prices of fuel and other essentials have left households reeling and triggered almost daily protests by the Opposition in Parliament.
The Prime Minister did not mention the price rise but accused the Opposition of “vote bank politics” and “parivar bhakti” (dynasty worship), while appearing to suggest his party’s politics was based on “rashtra bhakti” (patriotism).
“Two kinds of politics are going on in the country. One is parivar bhakti and the other is rashtra bhakti,” he said.
Explaining the idea of “vote bank politics”, Modi said that parties that were in power earlier had made promises to “some sections of society” and ignored others.
“The BJP not only fought against vote bank politics but was able to convince the people about its ill-effects,” the Prime Minister said.
Modi blamed “dynasty politics” for corruption and claimed the BJP was the first party to have made it an electoral issue and succeeded in convincing people about its dangers.
However, the BJP has a few dynasts too, for instance, Union minister Anurag Thakur whose father Prem Kumar Dhumal was chief minister of Himachal Pradesh.
Besides, the BJP has in recent months welcomed turncoats like Jyotiraditya Scindia and Jitin Prasada — both sons of senior Congress leaders —and rewarded them with ministry berths.
Party insiders said Modi’s latest attack on dynastic politics was aimed at denying posts and nominations to relatives of current BJP leaders, such as defence minister Rajnath Singh.
“Rajnath’s son Pankaj Singh, a second-term MLA from Uttar Pradesh, has been denied a ministry in the Yogi Adityanath government on the pretext of discouraging dynasty politics,” a BJP source said.
A BJP MP, however, asked: “If Jyotiraditya and Jitin Prasada can be made ministers and (Union home minister) Amit Shah’s son Jay appointed Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary, why can’t Rajnath’s son become a minister?”
Senior BJP leaders, including party president J.P. Nadda, Shah and Rajnath, were at the party headquarters to listen to Modi’s virtual speech.
Apart from holding a slew of events to celebrate its foundation day, the party invited the envoys of several countries to its headquarters in the evening for an interaction with Nadda.
The BJP, founded in 1980, was earlier known as the Bharatiya Jana Sangh.