INDIA these days is going through its multi-phase general elections that will run till June 1 in which the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to secure a third consecutive term for a variety of reasons.

First, recent actions, such as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s imprison-ment for corruption and Rahul Gandhi’s defamation conviction, highlight the challenges that are being faced by opposition leaders. Second, the BJP’s involvement in the electoral bond scam underscores its close ties with the business community, which is also evident through tax exemptions for companies that have been funding the ruling party.

Third, press freedom has diminished under BJP governance, with media attention diverted from crucial socio- economic issues to divisive topics. Fourth, the BJP’s adept marketing strategies, targeting voters of all ages through various media formats, deserve acknow- ledgment. Lastly, the BJP’s Hindu ideology resonates with a significant voter base, leveraging sentiments surrounding religious and nationalistic issues.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi adeptly capitalises on nationalist and religious sentiments, whether through the demolition of the Babri Mosque to build the Ram Mandir, or by trying to promote Lakshadweep as a rival tourism spot against Maldives.

India and its people love to describe themselves as the world’s largest democ- racy, but the country continues to be run by a party that passionately loves to take anti-democratic steps, like putting major opposition leaders in jail, entering into uncomfortable nexus with business giants, and promoting parochialism in the country. We are surely living in rather interesting and intriguing times.

Taha Abdul Ahad
Rawalpindi

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2024

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