‘Ugly speech’ but not a surprise: Modi accused of anti-Muslim rhetoric on campaign trail

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign speech over the weekend calling the country’s Muslims “infiltrators” has sparked an outcry ahead of the second phase of the multiphase vote. But while Irfan Nooruddin from Georgetown University concedes it was incendiary, he notes that it comes as no surprise.

The mammoth, multiphase Indian general election is underway with the Phase One of voting over and six more to go. This means more than a month of voting until the June 4 results in constituencies across the country – and campaigning.

On the campaign trail this weekend, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sparked an outcry over his speech at a rally in the western state of Rajasthan. This was in a constituency that goes to the polls in the second phase of voting on April 26.

Modi, who is seeking a third consecutive term, referred to Muslims as "infiltrators". He also said that the opposition Congress party would confiscate the gold and jewellery of Hindu women and that its election manifesto calls for the distribution of the confiscated wealth to Muslims.

The Congress party manifesto does not make a reference to Muslims or any religious group.

The Congress party has also petitioned the election commission.

Irfan Nooruddin, a professor of Indian politics at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, spoke to FRANCE 24 about hate speech on the campaign trail and the policing of the world’s biggest election.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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