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‘Badla lenge’: Political expression in Modi 2.0

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The tonality change in BJP leadership shows frustration in the top echelons of the party which has been unable to quell nationwide protests against CAA.

“Congress party ke netritva me tukde-tukde gang jo Dilli ke ashanti ke liye zimmedar hai, isko dand dene ka samay aa gya hai…..” (The Congress-led tukde-tukde gang is responsible for spoiling the peaceful atmosphere in Delhi. The time has come to punish them.) 

“Kyunki yeh sab chinhit chehre hain. Wo sab videography mein aa chuke hain, CCTV ke footage mein aa chuke hain. In sab ki property ko zapt kar ke, inse hum iska badla lenge aur sakhti se nipatne ke liye maine iske baare mein kaha hai.” (All their faces have been identified. They are visible in the videography and CCTV footage. We will take revenge by confiscating their properties, I have ordered strict action.)

The above two statements were made by two BJP leaders, chronologically Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath. Threatening, aggressive contemptuous in nature, the statements are directed towards the protesters against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act. An act which holds the power to rip off the secular fabric of India. 

At a time when regimes across the world are taking measures to curb the right to dissent, the government in India is openly threatening people with severe consequences, and when people in power tend to threaten, they mean business. 

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Reports from the state of Uttar Pradesh suggest that the Adityanath government is coming down hard on protestors, over 15 deaths have taken place in the state alone as part of the anti-CAA stir. While the violence is condemnable, the police initially maintained that no bullets were fired, but video footage shows personnel waving guns in the air. UP Police, which is poorly trained in riot management, could not have acted upon unless certain directives trickled down the chain.

Senior leaders need to understand the power of their statement, the BJP has some of the most skilled orators in the Indian politics, however, the sudden aggressive tone points towards the growing frustration in the top echelons over the continuous protests. After effectively using the tool of internet suspension, the states under BJP rule are graduating towards hard measures in countering dissent, the aggressive statement will add fuel to the fire. The senior leaders have a command over a sizeable population across India and such remarks will do much more damage than gains. 

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While the statements target protesters, the sudden tension in the environment could also be attributed to an imminent election. A pattern has emerged over the years in which panic-driven campaigns have fared well for the ruling party. With the Delhi elections on the horizon, there seems to be an attempt by the BJP to flare up emotions using the CAA issue in the backdrop of the approaching polls. The Home Minister’s comments on punishing the (tukde-tukde) gang came during an event in Delhi, who later said, “lotus will bloom.”