Another saffron wave likely In India

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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By Justice Markandey Katju

The BJP has released its first list of 195 candidates in 16 states for the coming Lok Sabha ( lower House of the Indian Parliament ) elections which are due shortly.

There are 34 Union Ministers, 2 Chief Ministers, 28 women and 47 youth candidates in this first list. Since the BJP's strongest support is from the upper caste Hindus, of special interest is that 57 OBC, 27 SC and 18 ST candidates are in this list, showing the importance the BJP gives to winning the votes of these castes.

The BJP leaders claim the party will win over 370 seats, and the NDA alliance led by it over 400, out of the total 543 seats for which the elections will be held

This may well be true considering the surcharged and polarised situation in India

However, much will depend on what will happen in southern states, UP, MP, Bihar, and West Bengal.

There is only 1 Muslim, Abdul Salam of Kerala, in the list

Since Muslims constitute 15-16% of India's population, and they have many genuine grievances, the BJP leaders would be well advised to have more Muslims in their next lists, in order to allay Muslim fears, and justify the slogan '' sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas ''.

20% of the sitting MPs, e.g. Dr Harsh Vardhan and Meenakshi Lekhi from Delhi and Pragya Singh Thakur from M.P., have not been repeated, and it is said that this was done after reviewing the performances of all sitting MPs.

So confident Prime Minister Modi seems to be of winning the forthcoming elections that he has taken it for granted, and has asked all Union Ministers to send him their programme of work for 90 days after the elections are over.

India seems all set to have another saffron wave for the next 5 years.

(Justice Katju is a former Judge, of the Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

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