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Panel discussion on implications of Indian Election Results held at IRS

Panel discussion on implications of Indian Election Results held at IRS

ISLAMABAD, JUN 14 /DNA/ – During a panel discussion at the Institute of Regional Studies, Dr. Arshi Saleem Hashmi, Dean of the Faculty of Contemporary Studies at NDU, questioned the BJP’s newfound assertion that ‘democracy wins in India’ following the disappointing voter turnout in the recent elections. She noted that India, the so-called world’s largest democracy, still falls short of meeting the objective criteria of democracy. Dr. Hashmi emphasized that Indian democracy is facing serious challenges of internal cohesion, primarily stemming from deep-rooted polarization within social and political realms.

Earlier, President IRS, Ambassador Jauhar Saleem said that Modi’s hyper-nationalist achievements, including the revocation of Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir’s autonomy, implementation of a discriminatory citizenship law, and construction of the Ram temple, had proven to be ineffective in terms of Modi’s ambitions for a two thirds majority with his allies reflected by the election slogan “Ab Ki Baar 400 Par” (this time 400 plus). BJP suffered a stunning setback in Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state considered Hindi heartland where the much-hyped Ram temple was recently built. Amb Saleem suggested that with Modi’s diminished electoral strength, the plans for constitutional amendments to establish India as a Hindu nationalist state would may not be viable.

He noted that Modi’s approach towards Muslims and Pakistan may witness less hate mongering rhetoric since his anti-Pakistan stance during the elections did not significantly help in bolstering Modi’s voter base.

Dr. Muhammad Mujeeb Afzal, Associate Professor at QAU, stated that the election results suggest a return to Vajpayee era in India, where the process of reforms would continue but without the total dominance of a single party, the BJP. Dr. Afzal was of the view that minorities in India may get a respite from a decade of marginalization by the BJP, as the much enhanced vote for the opposition has limited the BJP’s ability to make constitutional amendments to undo secular clauses. Dr. Mujeeb also asserted that the popularity of Rahul and Priyanka would significantly increase in the near future, as they have emerged as symbols of the constitution and protectors of minority and marginalized rights, especially after the two yantras before the elections. On the foreign policy front, he mentioned that there would be no significant clash between the two power centers that emerged in the recent elections, the BJP-NDA and the Congress-INDIA. In that sense, the Kashmir issue would continue to be a challenge between Pakistan and India.

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