Illustration: Pariplab Chakraborty

By Omar Rashid

There is no facet of public or private life that the Bharatiya Janata Party has not communalised in the 2024 Lok Sabha election. Food, clothing, names, reservations, population, history, geopolitics, places of worship, slogans or voting – you name it, they’ve communalised it.

While the 2014 and 2019 election campaigns of the party did carry deep communal undertones, they were presented through the rhetorical façade of vikas (development), labhartis (beneficiaries) and national security. The 2024 election, in which Narendra Modi is seeking a third successive term as India’s prime minister, however, has witnessed an unprecedented display of communal vitriol and demonisation of the country’s Muslims, and by impact, the Opposition. Dog-whistle tactics have been replaced by more direct assaults.

Here, we document the myriad ways in which the BJP’s senior leaders have tried to mobilise Hindu voters against the Opposition parties by manufacturing insecurity among them and projecting the saffron party’s political rivals as anti-Hindu, even though almost all of them are Hindu. The focus here is on the key state of Uttar Pradesh, which, with 80 seats, plays a major role in deciding who rules India.


Like in the previous two elections, the BJP has not fielded a single Muslim candidate in UP. The community comprises one-fifth of the state’s electorate, yet the party has not found a single Muslim to contest on its ticket.

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