On April 21, 2024, Prime Minister Modi referred to India’s Muslims as “infiltrators”. On June 4, the BJP lost the constituency where he said those words. People of Banswara preferred another leader signalling a refreshing return to people’s politics, the victor was an Adivasi leader from the Bharatiya Adivasi Party who won the seat with over 80,000 votes!

Rajasthan’s Banswara witnessed a high voltage campaign starting third round of electioneering clearly after the outcome of the first two rounds had not gone the regime’s way. On Sunday, April 22, 2024, Modi, delivering a speech that was worse than his own set worst standards slurred and stigmatised Muslims. The nationwide outrage – including 20,000 complaints to the Election Commission of India for violating laws – did not stop the surge of venom that he continued to utter through the campaign.

In the April 22 speech, in a swipe at the much hailed manifesto of the Indian National Congress (INC) Modi said, ‘they’ will take away women’s Mangalsutras. In his campaign, PM Modi seemed to be conveying to voters that Congress-led governments in the past have given Muslims preferential treatment. He even reportedly referred to the community Muslim community disparagingly as those with “more babies”, saying “Earlier, when their (Congress) government was in power, they had said that Muslims have the first right on the country’s assets. This means to whom will this property be distributed? It will be distributed among those who have more children. It will be distributed to the infiltrators. Should your hard-earned money go to the infiltrators? Do you approve of this?” However, it seems the voters in Banswara did not quite get swayed by this rhetoric. BJP saw a resounding defeat in the Banswara with the new and rising Bharatiya Adivasi Party’s Rajkumar Roat seeing a convincing victory with a margin of 820831 votes over BJP’s Mahendrajeetsingh Malviya. The BAP’s Rajkumar Roat defeated the former state cabinet minister and BJP’s incumbent from Banswara, Kanak Lal Katara. 

The hate-filled speech also saw a detailed complaint  filed with the Election Commission of India by the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) within days of the April 22 speech. 

In its complaint, CJP stated that Modi’s speech contained targeted and communal slurs against the Muslim community, which led to a polarised voting environment. The complaint cites the Model Code of Conduct, the Representation of Peoples Act, and various sections of the Indian Penal Code, and urged the ECI to take strict action to ensure free and fair elections and to stop hate-mongering against the Muslim community. A few days after, a notice by the ECI was sent to BJP President JP Nadda and notably not Narendra Modi for his speech.

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