BJP Politicizes Wealth Redistribution to Defend the Rich in Elections

India’s BJP Defends the Super Rich by Giving Wealth Redistribution Policy a Sectarian Color During General Elections

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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to his supporters as he arrives to attend a rally in Guwahati, India, February 4, 2024. [ Photo: REUTERS/Anuwar Hazarika/File Photo]

Voting for the first three phases in India’s general elections has concluded. A center-left coalition of parties and the right-wing incumbent coalition are vying for votes and clashing over the issues of wealth and income redistribution in the country.

The Congress Party, leading the center-left INDIA alliance, has accused the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) central government of failing to take appropriate policy decisions to curb inequality. However, instead of acknowledging the need to address inequality, the BJP has twisted the claims and accused Congress of planning to rob people’s “hard-earned wealth.”

During election speeches, Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that Congress is planning to take wealth away from the people of the religious majority community (Hindus) to give it to minority Muslims. He said the latter are “infiltrators and produce more children.”

In its manifesto, Congress has promised to conduct a nationwide socio-economic and caste census and take measures to “address the growing inequality of wealth and income through suitable changes in policies.” Its leaders have also loosely talked about redirecting billions of dollars of tax benefits given to the corporate houses under the current government to the country’s marginalized sections.

However, though it defended the need for social and economic justice, fearing polarization on religious lines following Modi’s explicit allegations, Congress appeared reluctant to articulate how it plans to achieve that agenda. It outrightly denied it had ever planned to impose wealth or inheritance tax on the country’s super-rich.

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