“If there is electricity during Ramzan then it must be available during Diwali too,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an election rally in Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh on Sunday. “If it is available during Holi, it must be available during Eid. There shouldn’t be any discrimination.”
Modi’s supporters claimed that he was urging for the removal of divisions along communal lines, which he accused the Samajwadi Party of creating. But his comments elicited widespread accusations of stoking communal passions, signalling that the old Modi had returned.
This had also taken place in 2015 when the BJP seemed to be falling behind in the Bihar elections. Not only had the prime minister then pushed the BJP’s cow agenda and accused Nitish Kumar of sheltering terrorists, but he had also alleged a conspiracy to hand over reservation quotas to Muslims. Modi had said: “Five percent from the Dalits, 5% from Mahadalits, 5% from Backwards, 5% from Extremely Backwards. There is a conspiracy to take away from their quota to give to another community.”
Sunday’s rally was prime minister’s sixth in the state in February alone. Here’s the rest of the speech. Modi talked of a “Goonda Raj” in Uttar Pradesh, citing the example of Gayatri Prajapati, a minister in the state government and candidate from Amethi, who was booked for gang rape only after a Supreme Court directive. “The police stations have become the Samajwadi Party’s offices,” Modi said.