Rajasthan poll discourse is all about communal divide now

Rajasthan Chief Minister and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot during a public meeting ahead of State Assembly elections. Photo: PTI

Jaipur: As polling day comes closer, the political discourse in Rajasthan is drifting towards communal polarisation. Along with old and recent local issues that disrupted communal harmony, promise for peace is being offered as a reward for vote.

"Slogans supporting terrorism are being hailed in Rajasthan, this was beyond expectation. It is appeasement politics of Congress that nurtures terrorism and communal violence wherever the party comes to power," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a public gathering in Baytoo constituency on Wednesday.

Modi stated that all citizens, especially economically weaker sections, bear the brunt of communal violence and subsequent curfew. He said Congress government is leading Rajasthan towards cultural disintegration and thus it must be replaced.

"People of Rajasthan will once again be able to celebrate their festivals without fear and disruption," said Modi. His assurance was more of a reminder of the assault and disruption of Ram Navami procession in various parts of the state.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during a public meeting ahead of Rajasthan Assembly elections. Photo: PTI

Just before Modi's accusations, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had slammed the BJP leadership for communalism. anticipating the attack from Modi, Gehlot stated that the Prime Minister and Home Minister Amit Shah had been stirring up sentiments of people and they should refrain from divisive politics.

"This strategy may have worked for them in Uttar Pradesh. However, this is Rajasthan and people here live in peace and harmony," Gehlot said at a press meet in Jaipur.

Interestingly, Gehlot made the statements after welcoming former state president of BJP minority wing Amin Pathan to Congress. It is the second major blow to BJP’s already thin minority voter base. Earlier this month, disappointed Yunus Khan had quit BJP. However, the BJP leadership remains unflinched by the disappointment of the minority community as the party has decided not to field a single Muslim candidate and put up several godmen in poll fray this elections.

The network of PFI is also to blame for the polarisation in Rajasthan. Their role was suspected in several instances of communal violence in the state in recent years. The most gruesome of that has been the beheading of tailor Kanhaiyalal in Udaipur last year. He was executed by two youths who also videotaped the incident and posted it online.

Lynching of two minority youths by cow vigilantes earlier this year is also drawing attention now.

Communal divide is clearly visible in nearly 10 per cent of the 200 assembly seats in Rajasthan. However, the issue will have an impact on almost all constituencies in Rajasthan.  

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