Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Wednesday, March 27, 2019 03:22:50 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter
BREAKING NEWS:

War against Pakistan: A stunt before India's general election

By
08th-Mar-2019       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Soutik Biswas :
A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth, American political journalist Michael Kinsley said.
Last week, a prominent leader of India's ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appeared to have done exactly that. BS Yeddyurappa said the armed aerial hostilities between India and Pakistan would help his party win some two dozen seats in the upcoming general election.
The remark by Mr Yeddyurappa, former chief minister of Karnataka, was remarkable in its candour. Not surprisingly, it was immediately seized upon by opposition parties. They said it was a brazen admission of the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party was mining the tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals ahead of general elections, which are barely a month away. Mr Modi's party is looking at a second term in power.
Mr Yeddyurappa's plain-spokenness appeared to have embarrassed even the BJP. Federal minister VK Singh issued a statement, saying the government's decision to carry out air strikes in Pakistan last week was to "safeguard our nation and ensure safety of our citizens, not to win a few seats". No political party can afford to concede that it was exploiting a near war for electoral gains.
Even as tensions between India and Pakistan ratcheted up last week, Mr Modi went on with business as usual. Hours after the Indian attack in Pakistan's Balakot region, he told a packed election meeting that the country was in safe hands and would "no longer be helpless in the face of terror". Next morning, Pakistan retaliated and captured an Indian pilot who ejected from a downed fighter jet. Two days later, Pakistan returned the pilot to India.
Mr Modi then told a gathering of scientists that India's aerial strikes were merely a "pilot project" and hinted there was more to come. Elsewhere, his party chief Amit Shah said India had killed more than 250 militants in the Balakot attack even as senior defence officials said they didn't know how many had died. Gaudy BJP posters showing Mr Modi holding guns and flanked by soldiers, fighter jets and orange explosions have been put up in parts of the country. "Really uncomfortable with pictures of soldiers on election posters and podiums. This should be banned. Surely the uniform is sullied by vote gathering in its name," tweeted Barkha Dutt, an Indian television journalist and author.
Mr Modi has appealed to the opposition to refrain from politicising the hostilities. The opposition parties are peeved because they believe Mr Modi has not kept his word. Last week, they issued a statement saying "national security must transcend narrow political considerations".
But can the recent conflict fetch more votes for Mr Modi? In other words, can national security become a campaign plank?
Many believe Mr Modi is likely to make national security the pivot of his campaign. Before last month's suicide attack - claimed by Pakistan-based militants - killed more than 40 Indian paramilitaries in Kashmir, Mr Modi was looking a little vulnerable. His party had lost three state elections on the trot to the Congress party. Looming farm and jobs crises were threatening to hurt the BJP's prospects.
Now, many believe, Mr Modi's chances look brighter as he positions himself as a "muscular" protector of the country's borders. "This is one of the worst attempts to use war to win [an] election, and to use national security as petty political gain. But I don't know whether it will succeed or not," says Yogendra Yadav, a politician and psephologist.
Evidence is mixed on whether national security helps ruling parties win elections in India. Ashutosh Varshney, a professor of political science at Brown University in the US, says previous national security disruptions in India were "distant from the national elections".
The wars in 1962 (against China) and 1971 (against Pakistan) broke out after general elections. Elections were still two years away when India and Pakistan fought a war in 1965. The 2001 attack on the Indian parliament that brought the two countries to the brink of war happened two years after a general election. The Mumbai attacks in 2008 took place five months before the elections in 2009 - and the then ruling Congress party won without making national security a campaign plank.
Things may be different this time. Professor Varshney says the suicide attack in Kashmir on 14 February and last week's hostilities are "more electorally significant than the earlier security episodes".
For one, he says, it comes just weeks ahead of a general election in a highly polarised country. The vast expansion of the urban middle class means that national security has a larger constituency. And most importantly, according to Dr Varshney, "the nature of the regime in Delhi" is an important variable. "Hindu nationalists have always been tougher on national security than the Congress. And with rare exceptions, national security does not dominate the horizons of regional parties, governed as they are by caste and regional identities."
Bhanu Joshi, a political scientist also at Brown University, believes Mr Modi's adoption of a muscular and robust foreign policy and his frequent international trips to meet foreign leaders may have touched a chord with a section of voters. "During my work in northern India, people would continuously invoke the improvement in India's stature in the international arena. These perceptions get reinforced with an event like [the] Balakot strikes and form impressions which I think voters, particularly on a bipolar contest of India and Pakistan, care about," says Mr Joshi.
Others like Milan Vaishnav, senior fellow and director of the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, echo a similar sentiment. He told me that although foreign policy has never been a "mass" issue in India's domestic politics, "given the proximity of the conflict to the elections, the salience of Pakistan, and the ability of the Modi government to claim credit for striking back hard, I expect it will become an important part of the campaign".
But Dr Vaishnav believes it will not displace the economy and farm distress as an issue, especially in village communities. "Where it will help the BJP most is among swing voters, especially in urban constituencies. If there were fence-sitters unsure of how to vote in 2019, this emotive issue might compel them to stick with the incumbent."
How the opposition counters Mr Modi's agenda-setting on national security will be interesting to watch. Even if the hostilities end up giving a slight bump to BJP prospects in the crucial bellwether states in the north, it could help take the party over the winning line. But then even a week is a long time in politics.
(Soutik Biswas, India Correspondent, BBC Online)

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Nation's supreme sacrifice for independence must not go in vain


THE nation is set to celebrate 49th Independence Day and National Day today. This year, the Independence Day has got special attention following the announcement of United Nations Under-Secretary General and Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng. The special envoy on Sunday said that UN will raise the ...

Cricket »

Brian Lara hopes to witness an India-Pakistan final in WC 2019


Former West Indies legend Brian Lara predicted India as favorites to claim the World Cup title.While the cricketing interactions between sub continental arch rivals hit an all-time low in barometer following never ending political disarray, Caribean living legend has foreseen a repeat of the 2017 ICC Champions' Trophy final where ...

International »

Venezuela crisis: Russian military planes land near Caracas


Two Russian military planes landed in Venezuela's main airport on Saturday, reportedly carrying dozens of troops and large amounts of equipment.The planes were sent to "fulfil technical military contracts", Russia's Sputnik news agency reported.Javier Mayorca, a Venezuelan journalist, wrote on Twitter that he saw about 100 troops and 35 tonnes ...

International »

New Zealand's Ardern orders top-level inquiry


New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ordered a top-level inquiry into the Christchurch mosque attacks that left 50 people dead.She said a royal commission would examine whether police and intelligence services could have done more to prevent the 15 March shootings.A royal commission is the highest level of independent ...

Entertainment »

I am a part of a film that will help people see beauty in different light: Deepika


Bollywood’s leading lady Deepika Padukone has time and again exhibited her thirst for challenging roles with her diverse choice of films. Giving testimony of the same yet again, Deepika will be seen slipping into the skin of an acid victim survivor for Chhapaak and is exhilarated to give to the ...

Cricket »

Rumana receives T20 Team of the Year cap from ICC


Bangladesh Women's team star Rumana Ahmed received the 2018 ICC T20 Team of the Year cap from the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday, according to a message sent by Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).Rumana is the first Bangladesh player to have been selected in the ICC squad. The right-arm leg-spinner ...

International »

Maduro vows ‘deep’ change in Venezuela government amid pressure


AP, Venezuela :Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro vowed a major shake-up in his government, a sign he is feeling pressure from U.S. sanctions and an international outcry for him to resign."I will in the coming hours announce new government methods and a profound change in the entire government of Venezuela," Maduro ...

Football »

England, France win big, Portugal held as Euro defense opens


AP, London :Big and slick wins for France and England. Not even a goal for Portugal.Even with Cristiano Ronaldo returning to the Portugal side for the first time since last year's World Cup, the European champions could only begin their title defense with a 0-0 home draw against Ukraine.The goals ...

Sports »

Serena survives scare to advance in Miami


AFP, Miami :Serena Williams survived an "irresponsible" second set lapse on Friday to see off Sweden's Rebecca Peterson 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 in her second-round opener of the WTA and ATP Miami Open."I wasn't really happy with my performance," admitted the 23-time Grand Slam champion, who is playing in just her ...

Entertainment »

I was lucky that it wasn't a dance-off - Alia Bhatt


An Abhishek Varman directorial, Kalank starring Alia Bhatt, Madhuri Dixit, Varun Dhawan, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sonakshi Sinha, and Sanjay Dutt has been making headlines ever since its announcement. It was just yesterday when the makers of the film dropped in the first song, titled Gharore pardesiya, featuring Alia and Madhuri ...

International »

Pope replaces Santiago bishop after abuse cover-up claims


Reuters, Vatican City :Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago and the highest ranking member of the Catholic Church in Chile, who has been caught up in the country's sex abuse scandal.A Vatican statement on Saturday said the pope had named Bishop Celestino ...

International »

May makes final push for Brexit deal with new timetable


Prime Minister Theresa May returns to Britain on Friday vowing to make "every effort" to win over MPs opposed to her EU divorce deal, hours after securing a delay to Brexit from European leaders in Brussels.The embattled premier faces daunting odds to persuade recalcitrant British lawmakers to back a plan ...

City »

Gonoforum President Dr. Kamal Hossain speaking at a press conference organised by Gonoforum at the Jatiya Press Club on Saturday demanding safe road.


Editorial »

Modernise the railways and make it corruption-free


BANGLADESH Railway has been showing less importance and interest to recover its grabbed lands though thousands of acres of land are now illegally possessed by a section of influential people and some organisations. It has also no visible plan to use many unused lands across the country too. An initiative ...

Editorial »

Save Halda from dying


DEPARTMENT of Environment has revealed that waste from a housing estate and some factories are polluting the Halda river in Chattogram to the extent that it caused dying of fish. Currently, the pollution of the Halda is severely affecting the livelihood of adjacent people, in particular the fishermen. In June ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news