Is Modi's latest offensive to check Congress' caste polarisation?

Niraj Sharma
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Narendra Modi addresses public rally in Banswara, Rajasthan

Narendra Modi addresses public rally in Banswara, Rajasthan on April 21, 2024

New Delhi: Hate speech and polarisation attempts took centre stage just two days after the first phase of voting when Prime Minister Narendra Modi went all out against the politics of appeasement prominently visible in Congress’ manifesto.


On Sunday, he accused the Congress of planning to give away people's hard-earned money and valuables to "infiltrators" and "those who have more children".

The entire opposition including Congress and people of civil society associated with them are up in arms against Modi for allegedly referring to the Muslim community as "infiltrators" and "those who have more children".

The grand old party lodged a formal complaint with the Election Commission on Monday and the poll panel in all likelihood will issue a notice to Modi as a standard protocol.


While some political pundits denounce Modi’s comments as not justifiable at all, a few others are of the view that Modi and BJP must be ready with their reply to the poll panel in advance.

“This appeared to be a well-planned strategy to take Congress’ polarisation head-on. This is not the first time Modi has done it. Such remarks cannot be justified,” said a political analyst.

The entire country is curious to know what Modi will say in his reply to the Election Commission.


“Look at Modi’s usage of words carefully without appropriating in the manner it appears on the face, he first said “ghuspaithiye”, apparently referring to infiltrators from Bangladesh and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar. Then he used the term “zyada bachche paida karne wale”, again apparently referring to them as those who have more children,” another political analyst said when asked how BJP will defend Modi’s statement.

“When Arvind Kejriwal openly calls Hindu and Sikh refugees rapists and Pakistanis, wasn’t that hate speech for the opposition? Why those comments were not appropriated by the opposition as statements against all Hindus and Sikhs? Wasn’t that a hate speech worthy of putting the lives of thousands of refugees in danger?” the analyst added.

What led to Modi going on the offensive?


The opposition claimed that Modi’s statement was due to a foreseeable defeat after the first phase of polling. 

“The opposition parties themselves know that they have no chance to come to power. It would be a far cry on the part of the opposition to say BJP saw defeat after the first phase of polling,” said one of the political analysts quoted above.

When asked why Modi waited for the first phase of polling to end to say what it had apparently planned, the analyst said that the ground report must have played a big role. 


“In your ground report, you showed how Muslim areas saw bumper voting while it was lacklustre in Hindu areas. BJP is far from losing but you can say it might be worried about the winning margins both in terms of vote margins and overall tally of seats,” he added.

When asked about the need for such language if it was not fear of losing or desperation, the analyst recalled the Karnataka and Telangana elections that the Congress won on the back of polarisation, such as talking about banning Bajrang Dal in their manifesto. 

“Polarisation has become the design of Congress’ manifestos in recent times. Who can deny that the design of polarisation coupled with wealth redistribution in the manifesto of Congress may dent the prospects of the BJP in a few seats? Why should the BJP not have the right to respond?” he asked.


The Congress scion Rahul Gandhi at the launch of his party’s manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections in Hyderabad on April 6 clearly and repeatedly explained how the wealth redistribution will be executed. 

He spoke about commissioning financial and institutional surveys after the caste survey.

In subsequent public meetings, the Congress scion talked about wealth redistribution following the financial survey while addressing his core voters.

“The grand old party had already promised several things for minorities in their manifesto aiming at consolidation of Muslim votes. Wealth redistribution was something that resonated among Muslim voters as they looked upon Congress as if they would be handed over the money snatched from rich people. Indian Muslims are largely progressive. Most of them even vote for the BJP. It was the infiltrators who made a large chunk of Congress and the opposition’s vote bank. That is what Modi exposed,” said the analyst.

By bringing the statement of former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh back after 18 years in which he said Muslims have the first right to the country’s resources, Modi opened a Pandora's box.

It has come to light that Congress wanted to bring 15 per cent Muslim reservation by changing the Constitution during the UPA regime and breaking into the reservation for SC, ST and OBC. 

When asked if reviving Singh’s comments would put doubts in the SC, ST and OBC communities that their reservation would be transferred to Muslims, the analyst nodded yes.

“Quite possible. It may cost Congress heavily,” said one of the analysts quoted above.

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and other opposition leaders claimed that Modi is trying to get votes by showing fear. 

On the other hand, BJP leaders said that it was the opposition parties including Congress who were indulging in fear-mongering when they were talking about changing the Constitution if BJP wins this election. 

“The Congress-led opposition simply implied that BJP would abolish reservation. The opposition tried to create fear that this would be the last election if the BJP won in 2024. How is this fear-mongering accepted?” BJP leaders asked.