It is a well-known fact that the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party – BJP takes its public reputation very seriously. According to the reply to an RTI filed by a Noida based RTI activist Mr Ramveer Tanwar, the party has spent money to the tune of Rs. 5000/- crores on PR since it came into power in 2014. Interestingly the UPA government led by Dr Manmohan Singh, spent a total of Rs. 2658/- crores on PR during the 10 years it was in power. This goes on to show how important and dear the current ruling party holds its reputation.
However, despite its humungous PR efforts the past week has not exactly been ideal for them with cases involving Fake Citizenship, Sexual Violence, and Drug Trafficking coming to the fore against its members. Here is a sum-up of this bad PR involving the BJP:
- MUMBAI – BJP Minorities Cell President Turns Out to be a Bangladeshi Citizen
Last year the ruling party brought the Assam model citizenship law for the whole country in the name of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the Home Minister of the country hinted, on more than one occasions, that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was going to be the next step in the process. With the combination of these two laws, the party claimed it would put an end to illegal migration and send these people living illegally in the country, to detention centres. However, in an interesting turn of events, the Mumbai Police arrested the President of BJP’s North Mumbai Minorities Cell, Mr. Rubel Shaikh for possession of illegal documents in terms of his citizenship. The Police raided his house and found forged document as to him being an Indian, proving that he is in fact a Bangladeshi citizen.
- MADHYA PRADESH – Gangrape of a 20-Year-Old Woman by 4 Men Including a Local BJP Leader
In a recent case, a 20-year-old woman was abducted on the 18th of February while she was out shopping for groceries in the Shahdol district of Madhya Pradesh. The woman told the Police that she was held captive at a farmhouse for 2 days and gang raped by 4 men. The men named by the women include a local BJP leader. However, later the BJP in a late-night press release said that the involved person has been expelled from the party. Notably, until the last reports, all 4 accused including the BJP leader are absconding.
- WEST BENGAL – BJP Leader Arrested with 100 grams of Cocaine
In another incident from the state of West Bengal this time, a local BJP leader Pamela Goswami was arrested by the West Bengal Police for possession of 100 grams of Cocaine. In yet another interesting turn of events, while Ms. Goswami was being produced in the court, she created a ruckus in front of the media present and alleged that this was a conspiracy against her by another party member Rakesh Singh, who is a close aide of the BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya. According to the latest reports, Rakesh Singh has also been arrested.
While the BJP has tried to do postpartum damage control towards the damage caused to its reputation, the week has certainly been a dent to its reputation.
According to the Election Commission of India statistics, 43% of winning candidates from the 2019 Lok Sabha elections have declared criminal cases pending against them. Among the winning candidates of the BJP, 116 or 39% of them have pending criminal cases with about 30% of the cases being of serious nature involving the offences of rape and other crimes against women, murder, and kidnapping. The BJP is followed by 29 MPs from Congress, 13 from the JDU, 10 from the DMK and nine from the TMC.