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Challenges for the Modi Government: BJP’s Third Term Amid Khalistani Threats and External Interference

BJP Wins 2024 General Elections

The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has secured a third consecutive win in the recently concluded general election to the House of the People. A mammoth number of 642 million people had exercised their right to vote out of 968 million eligible voters. Narendra Modi took the oath as the Indian Prime Minister for the third time on June 9 at a grand function in the national capital Delhi. The Indian parliament has 543 seats of which BJP and its allies won 292 seats.

While most of the opinion polls had predicted a landslide victory for the BJP, the party reduced to 240 seats. The party had won 282 seats in 2014, and 303 seats in 2019. This time the party faced a major setback in north India, where BJP traditionally seems to be strong. But the party has expanded its foothold in South India. The principal opposition party of India, the Indian National Congress secured 99 seats and along with their allies, their tally stood at 232 seats.

Also Read: Electoral Bonds, Kejriwal’s Arrest, Congress Accounts: The Funding of Elections and the Role of Civil Society

Even though there is a reduction in the number of seats for the BJP, the party could maintain its vote percentage while comparing it to the 2019 parliament election, indicating the consistency in the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP’s campaign was largely centered around economic growth, employment generation, national security, and making India a global superpower.

Narendra Modi has become the only prime minister to win three consecutive terms ever since the 1962 general election. But his third term may not be as smooth as his previous terms. Being short on majority makes him vulnerable to his allies who are notorious for abruptly ending the alliance and jumping the ships. These political parties do not subscribe to BJP’s Hindutva ideology and are largely non-committal on their support. This means the Modi government will be hanged to the thread controlled by his unreliable allies. Additionally, Modi has never led a coalition government where his party was in a minority.

Khalistani Issue

It is anticipated that the foreign policy of the government may remain unaffected by the political happenings in the country, though khalistani issues and cross-border terrorism continue to remain a hot issue to date. Abrogation of Article 370 (which gave special status to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir) by the Indian parliament seems to have normalized the situation in the state which was otherwise volatile.

A systematic attempt has been made by the anti-India forces to create trouble in Punjab. Punjab in the past has witnessed terrorist movements for separating it from the Indian union and for the creation of ‘Khalistan’. It is a known fact that certain Khalistani terrorist organizations operate from Canada, the US, and some European nations. There are even accusations of the Modi government using its intelligence apparatus to weed out such anti-India elements which the government has rejected outrightly.

Punjab is continuing to be a major concern for India’s security establishments. The increasing radicalisation of young men along with high drug consumption is putting the state in a near collapse. What adds to the worry is the electoral victory of a jailed Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh from the Khadoor Sahib Parliamentary constituency who was booked under the National Security Act and has extreme charges like ‘attempt to murder’, abduction, and extortion pending against him. There is ample evidence to suggest that the blueprint, funding, and instructions for the Khalistani movement in India come from the nations mentioned earlier. Containing the Khalistani movement to prevent further trouble poses a Herculean task for the Modi government.

Attempts to Destabilise the Government

The recent revelation about an Israeli firm STOIC trying to spread misinformation against the BJP during the general election has indicated the possibility of external intervention. It is a known fact that many nations, through various NGOs, try to meddle with internal matters of India. The name of American billionaire George Soros normally comes up in any discussion related to such attempts to sabotage Indian democracy.

The often portrayal of the Indian government as a villain by certain international media houses should be read along with this. The Qatar government-owned Al-Jazeera is a perfect example for peddling anti-India narratives even when both nations enjoy cordial diplomatic relations.

The rise of narcotic terrorism in the region and disinformation campaigns against the national government on various fronts shall not be seen in isolation. 

The onus is now on the Modi government to deal with these external threats before it gets out of hand.

Rise in Hinduphobia

There has been a steep increase in Hinduphobic incidents in the Western world, especially in the USA and Canada. The Khalistani terrorist organizations are working overtime to peddle anti-Hindu, anti-India narratives. Reports of such incidents have emerged from various prestigious universities in the Western world. The Indian diaspora is widely dispersed across the globe, and Hinduphobic activities pose a significant threat to the Indian government. Given that the BJP lacks a clear majority, it is certain that external threats will attempt to undermine the government. All three external threats mentioned above though external, but are very much connected to the internal affairs of India. It will be interesting to see how the Modi government deals with the Khalistani issue and the pro-Khalistani elements operating from foreign soil.

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About the author

The writer is a political analyst and holds a masters degree in History from the Department of History, University of Hyderabad, India. He writes articles on topics pertaining to International affairs, History and Indian politics.

Ganesh Puthur

The writer is a political analyst and holds a masters degree in History from the Department of History, University of Hyderabad, India. He writes articles on topics pertaining to International affairs, History and Indian politics.

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