As the Lok Sabha elections draw near, the atmosphere is thickening with political and religious tension all across the country. India is a country where religion and politics are so deeply intertwined that it gets difficult to identify one from the other. At one place some religious cleric instructs his devotees which political candidate to vote for and at times, a politician might invoke a particular God to gain votes.
At such a crucial time, the US Intelligence Chief has expressed grave concern that India might see communal violence ahead of Lok Sabha Polls. Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence told the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that if BJP keeps stressing nationalistic themes then parliamentary elections in India might spark communal violence.
US Intelligence Community maintains a worldwide assessment of possible mass threats and riots and this report was included in the same.
“BJP policies during Modiâ€™s first term have deepened communal tensions in some BJP-governed states, and Hindu nationalist state leaders might view a Hindu-nationalist campaign as a signal to incite low-level violence to animate their supporters,” Coats told the committee.
Coats also stated that as a reaction
to being alienated and targeted multiple times, the Islamist terror groups
might also rise and gain influence. “We judge that cross-border terrorism,
firing across the Line of Control (LoC), divisive national elections in India,
and Islamabad’s perception of its position with the United States relative to
India will contribute to strained India-Pakistan relations at least through May
2019, the deadline for the Indian election, and probably beyond,” he added.
“Political maneuvering resulting from the Indian national elections probably will further constrain near-term opportunities for improving ties,” Coats said.
It is now more important than ever for an average Indian voter to understand their own good and not fall for the jingoistic fervor cooked up by the ruling party in order to score political brownie points. The time has come to understand the nuanced difference between patriotism and nationalism, and be a patriotic citizen in such a difficult time.
This is not the first time that BJP has invoked the religion card to sway the mass sentiments in their favour, but this time, in the age of information, the voter is aware. The cheap tactics of wordplay, slandering, ad hominem and double standards might have borne fruit in the past but now the party with the ideals of progress is bound to gain legitimate traction.