Bharatiya Janata Party National President Amit Shah said on Tuesday that he was confident that the saffron party will win every election despite incidents of mob lynching. Shah said this while addressing party workers at a meeting in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The state, which has seen a number of lynchings in past months is scheduled to hold Assembly elections later this year.

“Whenever there are elections, the subject of [the lynching of] Akhlaq comes up, sometimes during elections award wapsi is brought up,” Shah said, according to The Indian Express. “When Akhlaq happened we had won, we had also won when award wapsi happened. If they do something now, then too we will win. BJP workers are certain of victory.”

In September 2015, Mohammad Akhlaq was beaten to death in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, following rumours that he and his family had killed a calf and eaten beef during Eid festivities. Since then, several incidents of mobs lynching Muslims after accusing them of eating beef or transporting cows for slaughter have been reported from across the country.

In Rajasthan, for instance, a mob attacked Rakbar Khan and his friend in Alwar in July while they were transporting cows. Khan died of his injuries in police custody.

In 2017, a 55-year-old dairy farmer, Pehlu Khan, was killed by a mob in Alwar while he was transporting his cows to Haryana from Rajasthan. In December, a man was burnt to death in Rajsamand town of Rajasthan for alleged “love jihad”. “Love jihad” is a term frequently used by Hindutva organisations to allege a conspiracy by Muslim men to marry women from other religions solely to convert them to Islam.

In 2015, dozens of filmmakers, writers and other artists returned their state-sponsored awards such as the Sahitya Akademi Award to protest against the growing atmosphere of intolerance in the country, and the murderous attacks on writers and rationalists. Several people started referring to the protest as “award wapsi”.

Amit Shah also criticised the Congress for its comments on the National Register of Citizens, which is being updated in Assam. “They speak of human rights…Doesn’t the poor of India have human rights?” he asked. “Isn’t there a concern about the security of the country?” The BJP president claimed that “hundreds of terrorists infiltrate the country and plant bomb blasts”.