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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Indian PM Modi’s BJP wins landslide victory in Gujarat

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India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, delivered a strong performance ahead of the 2024 general elections, winning a landslide victory in the western state of Gujarat on Thursday.

His BJP, a Hindu nationalist, has retained its 27-year control of Modi’s home state of Gujarat, but in northern Himachal, his Pradesh state has fallen to the main opposition Congress party. deprived of power.

BJP has not lost a general election in the western industrial state of Gujarat since 1995. Modi was Gujarat’s top official for 13 years until becoming prime minister in 2014.

Modi emerged as an advocate for the Hindu movement after the deadly 2002 Gujarat riots. This is one of the worst outbreaks of religious violence since India’s independence in 1947. Human rights groups say about 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, have been killed and dozens of women raped this year after a passenger train carrying scores of Hindu pilgrims was set on fire.

The BJP has been accused of exploiting religious polarization to win the Hindu vote. Modi’s government allowed the release of a Hindu convicted of gang rape during his 2002 riots shortly before state elections.

In some reports in the Indian media, people in the state expressed that rising inflation and unemployment were problems in the state, but Modi’s prominent character and anti-Muslim sentiment influenced the vote decision. There is a possibility.

Ajay Gudhavarthy, a political science professor at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, told Al Jazeera that the BJP’s comfortable victory in Gujarat showed a deeper integration of Hindu voices. Gudavarthy said:

“Even popular opposition leaders lose when the Hindu card comes into play. I have to admit that [Hindu] sentiment is very low,” he said.

India’s Electoral Commission, which continues to count votes until Thursday, said the BJP has won 142 of its 182 seats in state legislatures, leading in its 14 other constituencies. A rival congress party won his 16 seats and was leading in another constituency, while a new group, the Aam Admi Party, won its five seats. According to the Electoral Commission, the MPs usurped power from the BJP in Himachal Pradesh, winning 39 of the 68 seats, leading the BJP with 19 seats in another constituency.

The BJP also lost to his Aam Admi party in the region on Wednesday after leading for 15 years in a row in a pivotal election for control of the local government in the capital New Delhi, the commission said. the meeting said.

The votes were held in Gujarat on 1 December and in Himachal on 12 November.

Voting will begin Thursday morning, with full results expected later in the day.

Experts say Modi’s overwhelming victory in the western states will boost his BJP’s popularity ahead of his scheduled general elections in the summer of 2024, which will see him seek a third term as prime minister. Says. Prime Minister Modi and his close aide, Home Secretary Amit Shah, have been actively campaigning for the BJP in Gujarat for about a month, holding several rallies and roadshows.

“Thank you Gujarat. I am overwhelmed with so many emotions after witnessing the staggering election results,” Modi tweeted on Thursday. and celebrated the development policy.”

Muslims, who make up nearly 10% of Gujarat’s 60 million population, face increasing hatred and institutionalized discrimination in India’s most socially polarized state.

Kareem Siddiqi, an ethnic minority rights activist in Gujarat’s capital Ahmedabad, told Al Jazeera that the BJP was conducting a large-scale anti-Muslim campaign to win votes in state elections.

“The vote was conducted using the perspective of the local government. There is no Muslim representation in politics. I’m thinking,’ he said. “The Muslim minority admits that the government is not on our side. We have no expectations of the government. Our concern will always be our safety.

“Hate has spread from urban to rural areas by the BJP for the past five years.We are really worried about it,” he said. Yagnesh Dave, a spokesman for the BJP in Gujarat, said his party had won even in the “Islamic areas” where the parliamentary party had previously won.

“People chose us. It shows that Muslims also support us,” he told Al Jazeera.

But he said the party’s election manifesto promised to create a so-called “anti-radicalization cell” to “eliminate potential threats and anti-Indian forces.”

Forming a task force to review curricula in Muslim schools statewide is also part of the manifesto, Dave added. In an interview with Al Jazeera, he told Al Jazeera, referring to a far-right Hindu conspiracy theory that believes that a Muslim man marrying a Hindu woman is doing so to convert them. , told Al Jazeera. Islam.

The parliamentary party, which has dominated the South Asian nation’s politics for decades, is struggling to make a comeback. One of its supreme leaders, Rahul Gandhi, is currently holding the Bharat Jodhyatra (March for the Unity of India). This is his trek of cross-country, which the party says aims to address hatred and division in society.

The 3,500 km (2,175 mi) walk will begin in southern Tamil Nadu in September, and he plans to reach Indian-controlled Kashmir in February.


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