Communal polarization posing threat to democracy: Harshdev

NPP leader Harshdev addressing press conference in Jammu.
NPP leader Harshdev addressing press conference in Jammu.

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Apr 24: Describing the prevalent trend of communal polarization in the elections dangerous for the country, NPP chairman and former minister Harsh Dev Singh accused the traditional parties for dissecting the electorate on religious lines for their political gains.
Addressing a press conference here today Singh said, “Religious- ethnic conflicts rather than agenda of broad based and inclusive development are propagated among the people to determine electoral choices. It has posed a grave threat to the Indian democracy.”
Accusing both BJP and the Congress for playing communal trump card during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, Harshdev said that these conventional parties had murdered their ideological philosophy for the sake of vote bank politics. He said BJP and other right-wing parties have drawn support from the Hindus by inciting the theory of ‘Hindutva’ while the Congress and the left parties have drawn support from Muslims by confronting the Saffron philosophy.

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He said development and corruption were two major poll issues in 2014 when Narendra Modi projected himself as the mascot of development. Both these issues have lost their appeal as the supporters who backed the BJP on the promise of development have turned averse. The BJP refurbished its strategy with greater prominence given to ‘Hindutava’ which has been reflected in high pitched communal rhetoric in the past few months. Religious and communal issues, such as the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, Babri Masjid and triple Talaq, triggered the polarization of the vote base thus influencing the electorate in the elections, Singh maintained.
Asserting that the polarization strategy was an attempt to pose threat to plurality and co-existence, Harsh Dev said paving way for one party, one leader-centric system on communal lines would weaken the foundations of our vibrant democracy. He said both BJP and Congress believe that creating Hindu-Muslim divide would pay them political dividends. Many State elections after 2014 have witnessed aggressive pitching of divisive issues rather than development. This happened during the Gujarat and UP elections in 2017. Same was the case in Bihar in 2015 and Karnataka in 2018.
Shockingly, during the current Parliamentary elections in Jammu region, BJP harped on fanning passions over the killings of Parihar brothers and a prominent social worker in Kishtwar to polarize the voters while Congress exploited the ugly incident in Bhaderwah for consolidating its vote bank, Singh added.