Image credit: The Telegraph

Ahmedabad: Faced with huge anti-incumbency on the home turf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is apparently trying hard to turn the upcoming Assembly elections in Gujarat into a communal showdown as the polling days are inching closer.

As electorates are holding the saffron party accountable for high inflation, depreciating rupee against the dollar, Goods and Services Tax (GST), and rising unemployment in addition to other local issues, the saffron party has resorted first to dragging the Aftab-Shraddha case from Delhi to Gujarat. It then invoked Pakistan, Ram Mandir (temple) and the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and now it is proposing to create an “Anti-Radicalisation Cell” and promising “complete implementation” of the Gujarat Uniform Civil Code (UCC) committee’s recommendations.      

Going all-out, the party has deployed all its hardline Hindutva icons such as Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as its “star campaigners” in the election canvassing.

The BJP, in its manifesto, which was released on November 27 at the party’s state headquarters at Gandhinagar, has promised, “We will create an anti-radicalisation cell to identify and eliminate potential threats and sleeper cells of terrorist organisations and anti-India forces.”

Mulling to implement the UCC, which calls for the formulation of one law for India, the Gujarat Cabinet in October approved the formation of the three-member committee headed by a retired high court judge.

Earlier, the BJP governments in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh had announced the implementation of the UCC in their states.

Aiming to curb protest demonstrations, the BJP has planned to enact the Gujarat Recovery of Damages of Public and Private Properties Act to recover damages done to public and private properties by “anti-social” elements during riots, violent protests, unrest, etc.  

Shifting from its “development” plank, which is seemingly not convincing the voters anymore, the party’s campaign has begun running on its tried-and-tested polarisation pitch — with Amit Shah saying rioters were “taught a lesson in 2002”.

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