Editorial: The PM Crosses The Limit

Editorial: The PM Crosses The Limit

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Tuesday, April 23, 2024, 08:05 PM IST
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Narendra Modi | File/ANI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not just the leader of a political party seeking votes. By virtue of the post he holds, he is also the leader of every single person who lives in this country. And for that very reason, he is respected the world over. Seen against this backdrop, what Modi said at Banswara in Rajasthan on April 21 was shocking. He dusted off an old statement Dr Manmohan Singh made as Prime Minister as far back as 2006 to claim that if the Congress came to power, there was the possibility that all the wealth of the nation, including the mangalsutra of the women, would be given away to the Muslims. He also used derogatory terms to describe the community as “infiltrators” and as those who produce a lot of children. His listeners were enjoying his bawdiness, shocking to the rest of the world.

Modi should have known that his predecessor had included large groups of people like women, backward classes, the Scheduled Castes, and the Scheduled Tribes along with the minorities as the first claimants to national resources. Manmohan Singh had at that time clarified his position. The Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee had found that, economically, the condition of Muslims was almost at par with that of the SCs. Also, the decennial census shows that the decline in population growth was the sharpest among the Muslims. An illiterate, poor Muslim produces as many children as an illiterate, poor Hindu, highlighting the fact that education and economic growth are the greatest contraceptives. Modi did not certainly crown himself with glory when he made such statements.

In the past, too, Modi had shown the proclivity to drum up communal issues when he found the going tough. Whether the reports he received of the trend of voting in the first phase of polling on April 19 forced him to pander to the baser instincts of the voters is difficult to say. Nobody would question the fact that what he said amounted to a violation of the code of conduct that political parties and their leaders are expected to uphold during the campaign. The Election Commission has the power to take action against those who breach the code, no matter who the person is. Naturally enough, the people are waiting with bated breath for what action the three-member Commission takes to ensure that elections are free and fair.

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