FairPoint: Pak’s misstep in stirring controversy with India’s election speeches


New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) As Lok Sabha elections in India progress, it is not surprising to see Pakistan nose around. Like a quarrelsome neighbour, the country is whining about the election speeches being made in India by various political leaders.

Pakistan is going to various forums crying over the political speeches being made in India, particularly by the ruling BJP leaders. A section of its leaders is attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, showering praises on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, and talking about the CAA, Ram Temple in Ayodhya, etc.

These leaders seem to be more excited about the election in the neighbourhood than worry about their own democratic institutions and processes which were exposed during the electoral exercise in February.

Unable to maintain the sanctity of its own democratic institutions, Pakistan is trying to raise and project political speeches and debates in India as policy statements on various platforms.

Recently, Pakistan raised concerns regarding a particular election speech at the UN. During a UNGA session on ‘Culture of Peace’, Pak envoy to the UN, Munir Akram, cited a US media report. The report referenced Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election speech, wherein he stated that the ‘new India’ is capable of entering enemy territory and striking. India slammed Pakistan at the UN meeting, saying that it is Pakistan that harbours the “most dubious track record” in all aspects.

Pakistan not only is manipulating the election speeches of various Indian leaders on international forums, but some of its leaders are openly coming out in support of the Congress and opposing PM Modi.

Chaudhary Fawad Hussain, Pakistan’s former Information Minister and a close aide of Imran Khan, wants Rahul Gandhi to be the winner. Recently, he posted on his X handle a video showing Rahul Gandhi attacking PM Modi with the comment “Rahul on fire.” Hussian also said: “Pakistanis should support Rahul Gandhi because Modi’s policies do not suit Pakistan.”

Taking a dig at the Pakistani leader’s support for Rahul Gandhi, PM Modi was quick to lash out, and said in an election rally: “Congress was dying here and Pakistan was crying,” and the “partnership between the two has been completely exposed.”

The former Pakistan Minister is not the only Pakistani leader to openly express a preference for Rahul Gandhi, there are others, including experts and media outlets, who are eagerly pitching for Congress.

The voices emanating from Pakistan have intensified the attacks and counter-attacks in the electoral battle between BJP and Congress. BJP’s IT cell head Amit Malviya posted: “From a manifesto that has imprints of the Muslim League to a ringing endorsement from across the border, Congress’s dalliance with Pakistan can’t get more obvious.”

The Congress may be finding itself on a sticky wicket on the issue of support from a section of Pakistani leaders. The party, however, has neither distanced itself nor said elections are internal matters and Pakistan need not interfere.

It is not the first time that Congress has been accused of dalliance with Pakistan. In 2015, a former minister in the Congress government, Mani Shankar Aiyar, during a panel discussion with a Pakistani anchor said that PM Modi has to be removed. “The first and the foremost thing is to remove Modi. Only then can the talks move forward. We have to wait for four more years… Bring us back to power and remove them…”

Again, very recently Aiyar took potshots at the Modi government during an event in Lahore. He said: “We have the courage to conduct surgical strikes against you, but we don’t have the courage to sit across the table and talk.”

The neighbour with a long history of anti-India state policy, will never want a strong and stable government in India. So, when Pakistani leaders root for Rahul Gandhi, PM Modi’s statements come out as a clarion call for people to see through the designs.

As India moves on to the next phase of elections and the battle becomes intense, the neighbour’s curiosity is only going to grow. Pakistan’s democracy is a failure and they should focus inward, but then, the owner’s pride is always the neighbour’s envy.

(Deepika Bhan can be contacted at deepika.b@ians.in)



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