What does the 2024 election in India entail?

BJP is the world's most organized and extensive far-right- wing of the Hindu Nationalist movement Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

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President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Naredra Modi have tea in the garden gazebo at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, Jan. 25, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

India’s 2024 election has much significance for the country and the region. 969 million registered voters, a vast number and monumentally more than all the countries of Europe, will decide who will be their next ruling party. Due to the large number of voters, the Lok Sabha election has been divided into 7 phases, starting on 19th April and continuing until 1st June. Of these, 543 members will be selected for the lower House of Parliament. India, which at one time was considered the Champion of democracy. This election will determine whether people support democracy or far-right ideology, and let’s look at what election 2024 will bring for India’s future.

Two large parties with their alliance are contesting the Lok Sabha elections 2024; one is the National Democratic Alliance, which is led by Prime Minister Modi of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and on the other hand, there is an Indian National developmental inclusive alliance (INDIA) of 28 parties, led by the Indian National Congress the rival party of the BJP. There is a series of events in the two tenures of the BJP that endorse their far-right ambitions, but before discussing it, let us have a closer look at what far-right ideology entails.

Far Right ideology and BJP:

BJP is the world’s most organized and extensive far-right- wing of the Hindu Nationalist movement Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). To back this, there is a lot of evidence which can be traced to early 1920, and the central prominent is the teachings of Savarkar, which is all about ultranationalist tendencies and gave two ideologues- Hindu-Rashtra and Akhand Bharat, which means India only for Hindus and other reflects the expansionist objectives. Plurality and belief in secular principles were the essence of Indian culture, but both are threatened since Modi has been in power since 2014. Contrary to the above far-right ideologies, it is crucial to mention that Christians, Sikhs and Muslims constitute almost 22 per cent of the total population in India, which is indeed not a tiny figure to undermine.

This BJP attacks India’s secular fabric and democratic values. The BJP creates an atmosphere of extreme nationalism and religious supremacy that instill fear and enmity into the hearts of minorities, particularly Muslims and Christians. The RSS Hindutva – which aims to create a nation for Hindus – contradicts India’s constitution that guarantees a society based on diversity and equality. This trajectory endangers India’s ability to maintain its democratic and inclusive nature. If not addressed, it will exacerbate division, increase violence, and erode human rights. While confronted with this far right dominated ideology, India must protect their secular valves, plurality, and liberty which is the fundamental principles of India’s democracy.

BJP and India’s Democracy:

Democracy on the state level has no value if it does not exist on a societal level. Without any doubt, channeling and normalizing the far-right discourses and slogans will have drastic consequences for the country. In the early 1950s and 60s, congress politics revolved around non-alignment policy, anti-imperialistic vision, independent foreign policy development in agriculture and their slogans for secular and pluralistic principles. In 2024, Congress now focuses on the pressing issues of unemployment, rural misery, and religious polarization. In contrast to the BJP’s divisive rhetoric, their vision promotes inclusive governance. 

There is much that is surprising in the slogans of the BJP. Abki bar 400 is being used as a slogan that aims to get 370 seats for the party alone; not only this, but it is also a reference to the abrogation of Article 370, which is being sold to the public to exploit their opinion. Modi’s long list of undemocratic actions, including the abrogation of Article 35A, the establishment of the Ram temple, the imposition of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CCA) and his attitude towards Sikhs and Muslims reflect his far-right extreme ideology. Moreover, the farmer protests, the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar and the fraud in the electoral bond scheme have further exposed their authoritarian ambitions.

Democracy at life support: 

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is a significant threat to Indian democracy. The 2024 election will be the last chance to defeat the far right nationalist ideology in India. The constitution will be rewritten if the ruling party’s alliance receives two-thirds of the seats. 969 people will now decide the future of democracy in India. A vote against BJP is no longer just a political opinion, but it is a vote against social discrimination, violation of human rights and undemocratic measures. This is the last chance to maintain a unique identity in the world and save the country from falling into the hands of into a specific segment of mentality.

 Not only the BJP coming back to power may threaten the lives of religious minorities, but it also poses a serious threat to the Pluralism and secularism essence of Indian society. Extreme Polarization in Indian Society will lead to communal violence as we observed in Manipur. However, it affects the entire region as the disturbance in the country, with a population of 1.43 billion, will have far-reaching consequences.

Moreover, it will be difficult for India to uphold the title “Champion of democracy “any more.

Abdul Mussawer Safi

Abdul Mussawer Safi is a budding author with a passion for world politics, with a particular focus on the regional dynamics of South Asia. His work has been featured on several notable platforms. He is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in international relations at the National Defense University Islamabad.

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