PM Modi Under Fire for Alleged Hate Speech During Election Rally

Accusations of Anti-Muslim Rhetoric Prompt Electoral Violation Claims. Opposition Lodges Complaints, Alleging Violations of Electoral Laws.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come under fire for resurrecting old anti-Muslim tropes during a recent election rally, prompting analysts to suggest a potential shift in his campaign strategy. Accusations of spreading hatred against Muslims surfaced following Modi’s controversial remarks equating the community to “infiltrators” in the midst of the country’s general elections.

Addressing a crowded rally in Banswara (Rajasthan), PM Modi stirred controversy by insinuating that if the opposition, led by the Congress party, were to assume power, they would redistribute the nation’s wealth among those with larger families—a veiled reference to Muslims. His rhetoric took a divisive turn as he questioned whether hard-earned money should be allocated to what he termed as “infiltrators.”

Furthermore, Modi alleged that under opposition rule, even traditional symbols of Hindu weddings, like the mangalsutra, would be at risk. Such statements have been criticized for perpetuating anti-Muslim sentiments and reinforcing divisive narratives.

Leaders within Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies have long portrayed India’s Muslim population, numbering over 200 million, as outsiders. Muslim asylum seekers and refugees from neighboring countries, particularly Bangladesh and Myanmar, have been singled out as “infiltrators.”

In response to Modi’s remarks, a Congress delegation comprising Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Gurdeep Sappal, and Supriya Shrinate met with the Election Commission of India to lodge complaints against the BJP and other actors for alleged violations of electoral laws. The complaints, numbering 16, cite breaches of The Representation of the People Act, 1951, Supreme Court judgments, and the Election Commission’s Model Code of Conduct.

Meanwhile, the BJP and its partners have promoted the conspiracy theory that Indian Muslims aim to outnumber Hindus by producing more children. However, government data contradicts this claim, showing a significant decline in the Muslim fertility rate over the past three decades.

Political leaders have weighed in on Modi’s rhetoric, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi condemning the perceived erosion of democratic principles and the constitution. Another Congress figure, Jairam Ramesh, accused Modi of seeking to amend the constitution, particularly regarding principles of social justice and empowerment.

While Modi has previously focused on governance achievements in his campaign strategies, his recent embrace of divisive rhetoric raises concerns about the role of identity politics in shaping electoral discourse. As the election season unfolds, observers are closely monitoring whether this shift in rhetoric will impact voter sentiments and the broader social fabric of the nation.

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