Election times bring the main issues of a country to the fore.
- While addressing the farmers of Wardha, PM Narendra Modi took a shot at Congress accusing the party of promoting Hindu Terror
- Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala came out seeking an apology for disgraceful comments and asked EC to probe into the PM’s speech
- Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi addressed the farmers of Chandrapur in Maharashtra and followed the PM’s suit to give his take on Hinduism
Religious appeasement is high on political agendas in 2019. PM Modi seen here at Tirumala Temple in Andhra Pradesh | Credits: Rediff
India is the world’s biggest democracy, and elections are the biggest festival of a democracy. So come election time, voters feel a sense of power for the slightest bit of time. Politicians oblige them by talking about the main issues plaguing the country – precisely what the citizens want.
“While it was Vikas in 2014, in 2019 the word is Hindu” – Deepak Kaistha
Addressing massive turnouts at an election rally in Wardha, Maharashtra; Prime Minister of secular India turned into a proponent of Hindu sentiment.
Wardha is part of the drought-ridden Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. It is currently in the midst of an ongoing agrarian crisis. Data revealed through RTI notes over 14,000 farmer suicides in Maharashtra over the last five years.
कांग्रेस के नेता कान खोलकर सुन लें – हिन्दू कभी आतंकवादी नहीं हो सकता।
हिन्दू आतंकवाद का झूठ फैलाने का पाप कांग्रेस ने किया है और अब इतना डर लगने लगा है कि सीट बदलनी पड़ी है….
यह डर अच्छा है।
कांग्रेस की पराजय पक्की है। pic.twitter.com/8zAa2SNtiP
— Chowkidar Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 1, 2019
When PM Modi addressed the communities of Wardha, much to their disappointment, he had something else in his mind.
Modi’s speech was bestrewed with the words ‘Hindu’ and ‘Hindu terror’. A clear shift from the development-focused agenda of 2014.
Contrasting Speech from 2014 – From ‘Farmer plight’ to ‘Hindu pride’
Modi had addressed the audience at Wardha for roughly half an hour in 2014. For two-third of that time, he spoke on farmer issues.
Analysis of Modis Speech in Wardha in the run up to 2014 LS Elections | Credits: Dailyo
Modi’s speech had promises for the farmers of Vidarbha, based on his Gujarat Model. He addressed irrigation issues and promised technology support and loans at lower interest rates.
In his 2019 speech, Prime Minister Modi sang a different tune. With a stark shift from his 2014 narrative, Modi appealed to the ‘Hindu sentiments’ instead.
In a breakdown of the 1st April Modi speech, roughly eight minutes were spent attacking Congress. Five minutes were spent on criticizing NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, around three minutes of terrorism, Balakot strikes and nationalism; and two minutes on the ASAT test.
Analysis of Modi’s Speech at Wardha in 2019 | Credits: DailyO
The real issues of Vidarbha’s farmers got the privilege of around three and half minutes of the PM’s time.
Modi’s oratory skills might still be intact, but his narrative that people bought into five years back, is thoroughly changing.
Wayanad, Minorities and ‘Hindu Terror’
PM addressed Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest from a second seat in Wayanad, stating that the choice was made by the Congress’ Chief due to substantial minority community voters in the constituency.
Hindus make up 49 per cent of the population in Wayanad.
Inciting further polarization, Modi said Congress was scared as it had alienated Hindu voters by coining the phrase ‘Hindu terror’.
The PM asked the audience:
“How can the Congress be forgiven for insulting the Hindus in front of the world? Weren’t you hurt when you heard the word ‘Hindu terror’?”
Referring to the acquittal of Swami Aseemanand, PM said it had exposed the conspiracy hatched by Congress to defame crores of Hindus. In the verdict, the judge had stated that he was pained and anguished to see the dastardly act go unpunished due to gaping holes in the prosecution evidence… an act of terrorism has remained unresolved.
PM Modi made 13 different communal references during his 2019 Wardha Speech | Credits: The Telegraph
The remark is aimed at a 2013 statement by then Union Home Minister Sunil Shinde where he had criticized the BJP and RSS for fanning ‘Hindu terrorism’. Citing reports of the Samjhauta blast investigation, Shinde had claimed that RSS conducted camps to spread terrorism.
Addressing his following of devout Hindus, PM Modi summoned a loud ‘No’ with the question, “Can a Hindu be a terrorist?”
“Will you choose heroes of Hindustan or those who have become heroes in Pakistan? Will you teach a lesson to those who have insulted the bravery of our army?”
This made Congress question the speech
Congress was quick to probe the Election Commission to see if PM’s speech was in
violation of a certain Representation of the People’s Act.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala criticized PM Modi for calling his speech communal and urged the EC to probe into it. | Credits: Deccan Herald
“PM Modi has committed a corrupt practice under Section 123 sub clause 3 of the Representation of the People Act besides violating the dignity of the office that he holds and every other yardstick that is necessary in public life. He must apologise to the nation,”
Then Rahul Gandhi gave his take on the word – ‘Hindu’
— Congress (@INCIndia) April 5, 2019
PM aspirant, Rahul Gandhi addressed a rally in Chandrapur, Maharashtra. The Congress Chief gave his take on what it takes to be a real Hindu. Referring to LK Advani’s retirement from Lok Sabha and diminishing place in the BJP power bloc, Gandhi asked the crowd if there was a bigger value in Hinduism than the ‘Guru-Shishya ka Rishta’. He claimed that Modi ‘had thrown his Guru off the stage’.
Gandhi counter-questioned the PM’s rhetoric on religious values. And said:
“Narendra Modiji is talking of Hinduism, but look at what he has done to his own guru. Advani ji is his Guru. Threw him down from the stage. And he talks about ‘dharma’. Where is it written in our religion that we should spread hatred? This is not the Hindu philosophy.”
Gandhi further enlightened his audience with his religious wisdom. He claimed to have read Hindu religious text books extensively and nowhere has he found it written that Hinduism is about killing people or violence.
Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi is looking to undo PM Modi’s affinity among Hindu voters with his own appeasement. | Credits: Asian Age
From the rally remarks and tactics of the two candidates for the top office, it looks like ‘Hinduism’ is an essential term in deciding 2019’s election race.
It looks like Rahul Gandhi loves falling into Narendra Modi’s trap. Or maybe they both share the same ideology…
- Maharashtra’s farming community has seen over 14,000 farmer suicides in the past five years
- PM Modi’s speech was much in contrast to his 2014 speech at the same place which had focused on development
- Rahul Gandhi came out with his own rhetoric leveraging LK Advani’s situation to resonate with the Hindu voters