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Modi stokes Hindu Insecurity in Final Campaign Push

Facts have not deterred Modi from building up a false alarm among voters about Muslim reservation in UP.

Supporters at one of Modi's rallies in Uttar Pradesh. Photo: X/@BJP4India

New Delhi:  With the 2024 Lok Sabha election entering its final leg, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has intensified his tactic of polarising Hindu voters in his favour in Uttar Pradesh by manufacturing insecurity among them and projecting a conspiracy theory that his opponents planned to change the constitution to grant reservations to Muslims.

Addressing three back-to-back rallies in East UP on May 26, Modi, up against the ‘PDA’ strategy of the Samajwadi Party, primarily focused on pitting OBCs (Other Backward Classes) and Dalits against Muslims. PDA stands for pichda (backwards), Dalit, and  alpsankhyak (minority).

“These INDI alliance people want to turn the majority community (Hindus) in India into second-class citizens,” Modi said in Ghosi.

Modi then claimed that the opposition was plotting “three big conspiracies” to deprive them of their rights.

First, Modi said, the opposition planned on changing the constitution to allow reservations on the basis of religion.

Second, he said the opposition parties would scrap the reservations provided to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes.

Third, he said the entire reservation quota would be allotted to Muslims on the basis of religion. Apparently targeting the opposition for promising a caste census, Modi accused them of trying to make different Hindu castes – Dalits, OBCs and the general – fight among themselves so that they become “weak” and are diverted from important issues.

A new stick that Modi is also using to beat BJP’s main opposition in Uttar Pradesh, the SP, and project it as pro-Muslim is its now-defunct promise – made in 2012 and 2014 – of providing Muslims reservations in accordance with their share in the state’s population. The SP’s promise was made on the basis of the findings of the Sachar Committee report which drew a dismal picture of the social, economic and educational status of Muslims in the country. In absolute terms, UP has the highest population of Muslims in the country – one-fifth of the state’s population comprises of Muslims.

The SP lost power in UP in 2017. The state has since then been ruled by the BJP of Modi, who has himself been in power at the Union government for a decade. In the 2017, 2019, 2022 and 2024 elections – both state and Lok Sabha – the SP, stung by a huge defeat in 2014, made no mention of providing quotas to Muslims. Even the Congress, the main constituent of the INDIA bloc in the country, has not made any such promise in its 2024 election manifesto.

However, these facts have not deterred Modi from building up a false alarm among voters about Muslim reservation in UP.

“Can you imagine how they were bent on snatching the rights of SC, ST and OBC to please their vote bank,” Modi said in Mirzapur. In the wake of the Kolkata High Court quashing OBC quota provided to Muslim communities in West Bengal, Modi claimed that the Opposition parties now planned to change the constitution and provide reservations to Muslims so that their decision cannot be challenged in court.

“I also came from a most-backward class community like you. I understand the lives you have to live,” said Modi.

Reaching out to Dalit voters in the 13 remaining constituencies in UP, Modi accused the SP of intending to provide Muslims reservation in its 2012 manifesto akin to the quotas provided to Dalits by B. R Ambedkar.

“This is against the spirit of the constitution and Babasaheb but the INDI people don’t care about it,” he said.

Modi’s stress on the constitution has been in response to the opposition’s high-pitched campaign accusing the BJP of planning to change the constitution after the party gloated over its ambitious goal of hitting the 400-seat mark in the election.

Deploying more fear-mongering, Modi said that the opposition parties were “constantly exerting pressure” to reverse the Supreme Court judgment on the Ram Mandir just like the “Shah Bano decision” was reversed. In Bansgaon, Modi claimed that “dua” or prayers were being offered in Pakistan in support of the INDIA bloc and that “jihadis” from across the border were backing the opposition. He also claimed that the opposition parties would reverse the decision to dilute Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and scrap the Citizenship Amendment Act.

“The forces against India want this,” he said.

©2023 All rights reserved. Foundation for Independent Journalism (FIJ)

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