Few months ago when the Congress party launched a social media campaign mocking the BJP’s claims of development in Gujarat, the saffron party perhaps felt the heat for the first time in its bastion. It prompted its national president, Amit Shah, and Home Minister Rajnath Singh to desperately urge voters not to pay heed to the social media campaign.
The chain of events since then have made matters worse for the BJP, which has governed the western Indian state for 22 years without any interruption. Many analysts suspected that the BJP and its supporters will subsequently resort to dangerous tactics to polarise the voters along the lines of their faith closer to the time of the election.
Their fears weren’t unfounded as that’s precisely what has happened.
A video of a frightened Hindu girl walking through a Muslim neighbourhood with the sound of the Azaan (Muslims’ call for prayers) in the background as her nervous parents anxiously wait for her at home has gone viral now.
In the video, efforts have been made to create a distrust between Hindus and Muslims while instilling fears that why it is a good idea to have a government of Prime Minister Narendra’s party.
Upon her return back home, her mother is heard saying in Gujarati, “Ek minute, kem navai lagi ne ke aa Gujarat ni vaat chhe? (One minute, why are you surprised to see that this is happening in Gujarat?).” Her father joins in by saying, “Bavis varsh pehla pan avu j thatu hatu. Ane avu thai shake chhe. Jo e loko avshe to. (Twenty two years ago, this used to happen. And it can happen if those people come).”
It’s the girl, who then is seen comforting her parents. She says, “Pan don’t worry. Koi nai ave. Kemke ahi Modi chhe. (But don’t worry. Nobody will come. Because Modi is here).”
A human rights activist, Govind Parmar, in the state has now approached the Election Commission alleging that an attempt had been made to polarise the political campaign in Gujarat ahead of next month’s elections. Parmar has demanded a ban on the video arguing that it promoted hatred against Muslims.
Gujarat goes to polls in two stages on 9 and 14 December with the counting of votes being scheduled for 18 December.
The state’s chief electoral officer BB Swain has reportedly ordered a police inquiry to ascertain the origin of the video.