Anti-Muslim rhetoric to increase in the run-up to the 2024 election
By Syed Ali Mujtaba
The writer is a journalist based in Chennai.
After the Karnataka defeat, assumptions were made that the BJP will slow down on the anti-Muslim rhetoric and invent some other ‘dice’ to seduce the Hindu voters for the 2024 election.
Notwithstanding the fact that anti-Muslim rhetoric has served BJP Politics well since 2014. However, after the defeat of the BJP in Karnataka it is beyond the BJP to low down the volume of anti- anti-Muslim rhetoric.
The reason is that the Indian economic index is so poor that the BJP has no other sound to play than ‘Muslim Genocide’.
There is no dice left for the BJP to invent in light of the given economic indexes:
World Hunger Index in 2020 ranks India at 94th place among 107 nations. Other South Asians have fared better: Pakistan (88), Nepal (73), Bangladesh (75), Sri Lanka (64), and Myanmar (78) only Afghanistan has fared worse at 99th place. China is among 17 countries with the lowest level of hunger.
India's unemployment rate rose to 7.45% in February 2023 from 7.14% in the previous month. Youth unemployment for ages 15-24 in India is 24.9%, the highest in the South Asia region. It is 14.8% in Bangladesh 14.8% and 9.2% in Pakistan.
Labor Participation Rates
India’s LPR is 46 percent which is much lower than global levels. The labor participation rate in India has been falling for more than a decade. The LPR in India has been below Pakistan's for several years. There are only 17 countries worse than India on LPR.
Child Stunt Rate
India has a 17.3% child stunting rate, the worst in South Asia. This is because households face multiple forms of deprivation, including poor dietary diversity, low levels of maternal education, and household poverty.
Increase in Suicide
There is a marked increase in the suicide rate in India. India has 12 suicides per 100,000 population.
World Happiness Report 2023- India occupies 126th position among 137 nations ranked in the World Happiness Report 2023. In South Asia, Pakistan ranks 108, Sri Lanka 112, Bangladesh 118, and India 126. Afghanistan ranks worse at 137.
India's happiness scores have been declining every year since 2013, reaching a low of 3.78 during the Covid pandemic. The most recent value is 4.036 for 2023. The reasons for unhappiness are a lack of social connections during the Covid-19 lockdown, severe unemployment, high inflation, and healthcare worries, which took a toll on the mental health of Indians.
The above indexes very well indicate that the Indian economy is failing to deliver to the common man. The BJP government has no magic wand to fix up these economic indexes.
In such a situation how Prime Minister Narendra Modi will maintain its popularity among Hindu voters? The answer is only one which is to use the tried and tested formula to increase the volume of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan rhetoric. This is going to be seen in the run-up to the 2024 national election.