06/19/2018, 17.54
INDIA
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Modi’s data chief quits BJP because nationalism is harming India

Shivam Shankar Singh joined the BJP in 2013. The ruling party has failed in various areas but is unable to acknowledge it. Every criticism is labelled as anti-national and anti-Hindu. CBI investigations are motivated by political purposes and dissent is killed.

New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – “I refuse to follow anyone who is willing to let the nation burn in riots for political gain,” writes Shivam Shankar Singh, a leading member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in announcing he is leaving the ruling party.

The young man, educated at one of the best American universities, played a crucial role in the 2014 election, which led to Narendra Modi’s victory.

Although he notes that every party has both positive and negative elements, he believes it is time to say enough to the "propaganda constructed for a very specific purpose: polarise and win elections."

According to Singh, the BJP has organised such an effective propaganda that "people continue to support their side no matter what the evidence". As a result of this, the debate leading up to the 2019 election campaign is becoming increasingly violent.

After some Catholic archbishops were criticised for asking the faithful to pray for the nation, the resignation of the BJP’s chief data scientist is top news.

In a piece posted on his blog, Singh explains in detail the reasons that led him to the decision to quit.

First, he lists the positive results the Modi government achieved in four years, in public works, for example: road construction, more public and private toilets, more rail and road links with the north-eastern states.

However, with respect to electrification, the BJP claimed it as a huge success, but Singh notes that Modi simply finished what the Congress started years ago.

The numbers speak for themselves: under Congress more than 500,000 villages were electrified compared to 18,000 under Modi.

For the data scientist, one of the party’s negative accomplishments is electoral bonds, which "basically legalise corruption and allow corporates and foreign powers to just buy our political parties."

Another is the misuse of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which has been “used for political purposes”. Sadly, “This is enough to kill dissent, an integral component of democracy.”

Another major failure was "demonetisation", i.e. the withdrawal of 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes, as well as the Good and Services Tax, not to mention its failure to deal with basic issues like education and healthcare.

What is worse, the BJP has been incapable of acknowledging its failures and has distorted the national discourse with a well-planned strategy.

“It has discredited the media, so now every criticism is brushed off as a journalist who didn’t get paid by BJP or is on the payrolls of Congress.”

It has spread and relies on Fake News, and “ingrained the into the minds of people that Hindus and Hinduism are in danger, and that Modi is the only option to save ourselves”. This is best exemplified by the slogan Hindu khatre mein hai (Hindus are in danger).

Such a strategy, backed by TV channels owned by party members, has polarised society, politics and emotions.

Now, if you “Speak against the government [. . .] you’re anti-national and more recently, anti-Hindu. Legitimate criticism of the government is shut up with this labelling”.

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