Modi in damage control mode after Rajasthan ‘hate speech’ backfires

In response to the backlash following his Rajasthan speech, Modi on Monday sought to appease the Muslim community by highlighting the facilities provided for Haj pilgrimage to Indian Muslims

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to Muslims as ‘infiltrators’ and ‘people with more children’, he attempted to mend the damage during an election rally in UP by highlighting his contribution in facilitating Indian Muslims’ pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

Earlier on Sunday, PM Modi’s anti-Muslim speech at an election rally in Rajasthan set off a controversy drawing backlash against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

During his speech in Rajasthan on Sunday, Modi commented about the Congress party’s manifesto, where he alleged that the party would redistribute people’s wealth, including gold and silver, among ‘infiltrators’ and ‘those with many children’. Many saw the PM’s statement against Muslims as divisive and politically motivated.

MS Education Academy

In response to the mass level of backlash, Modi, in a subsequent rally in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, on Monday sought to appease the Muslim community by highlighting the facilities provided for Haj pilgrimage to Indian Muslims. Critiques see this move as a desperate attempt to regain trust after his controversial remarks.

Modi’s speech

In the speech, PM Modi highlighted the increase in the Haj quota for Indian Muslims and the ease in the visa process for pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia.

The Prime Minister mentioned that he had requested the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to increase the Haj quota for Indian Muslims, and his request was granted, enabling more individuals to perform the pilgrimage.

Modi emphasised the significance of the decision, stating that it would benefit Muslim brothers and sisters in India. The increase in the Haj quota and the simplification of the visa process have been welcomed by the Muslim community, as it provides more opportunities for individuals to fulfil their spiritual journey.

He further went on to say that the government’s decision to allow women to go for Haj without a ‘Mehram‘ (a male companion), fulfilled the dream of thousands of sisters who wished to undertake the pilgrimage.

“This decision has been seen as a step towards empowering Muslim women and providing them with greater opportunities to practice their faith,” he stated.

PM lashes out at Samajwadi Party

He further said that the trademark of the Samajwadi Party was kidnapping, murder and crime against women.

“These parties followed the appeasement policy but also made sure that the social, economic and political condition of Muslims did not improve. When I spoke about Pasmanda Muslims, these parties were unnerved. Modi brought in the ban on triple talaq and this came as a relief to families who were in distress because of their daughters and sisters,” he stated.

Mounting pressure on BJP

The BJP, already accusations of discrimination against minority communities, now finds itself embroiled in a fresh wave of controversy following Modi’s speech in Rajasthan. The attempt to garner support by highlighting initiatives for Indian Muslims has instead sparked outrage and accusations of tokenism and insincerity.

As the backlash against Modi’s controversial statements reverberates on the ground, the BJP faces mounting pressure to address the fallout and recalibrate its messaging to resonate with a broader cross-section of the electorate.

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