Navigating the Minefield: Modi’s Daring Dive into Uniform Civil Code amidst Party Discontent


It’s uncommon to find a day in Indian politics where Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s moves and motivations aren’t the topics of conversation. The most recent trendy issue making waves? The proposed Uniform Civil Code (UCC), is a nuclear option that has long been sitting on the back burner of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) agenda.

After Modi’s nine-year presidency, the UCC was abruptly reinstated, which has sparked heated discussion. The UCC, a strategy intended to harmonise India’s many civil laws into a single code, has the potential to seriously divide Indian society, particularly with regard to Muslim and tribal organisations.

Questionable Timing for the Introduction of Uniform Civil Code

The timing and the underlying motives of this move have triggered speculations about the political dynamics in play. Some claim that this may be a calculated action to divert attention from important national concerns like the Manipur riots, rising economic disparity, and rising unemployment rates while refocusing the conversation on the UCC’s communal component.

Notably, even inside his own party, Modi’s leadership has come in for growing criticism. A picture of simmering internal discontent within the BJP is painted by reports of regional leaders asserting their autonomy against the party’s centralised leadership and by public criticism of colleagues. Under the combined might of Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, the BJP previously appeared like an impregnable citadel, but today it seems as though its defences are fraying.

A deeper examination of the disastrous Karnataka Assembly elections finds obvious evidence of this internal conflict. Senior BJP officials are now publicly airing their grievances and critiques, which has magnified factionalism inside the party. The cordial public exchange between senior Congressman Digvijaya Singh and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has also drawn attention, raising the possibility of a thawing of political hostilities and a departure from party lines. It was unheard of in Modi’s BJP for a BJP Union Minister to shower praises over a top Congress leader.

The recent decision of 35 Bharatiya Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leaders to join the Congress in Telangana rather than the BJP adds more evidence of the BJP’s waning appeal. Opinion polls that indicate a close fight between the BJP and Congress in Madhya Pradesh bolster the idea that the BJP’s hold on power is eroding.

An effort to unite BJP’s different factions & polarize the masses

It appears that Modi is in a challenging position as a result of the growing criticism and the party’s central leadership’s eroding influence. In this situation, the proposed adoption of the Uniform Civil Code seems to have two purposes: it may both unify the party and deflect attention from the more important national issues.

The BJP has always had a strong weapon in its arsenal: the Uniform Civil Code. It was considered a nuclear weapon that may seriously divide Indian society and alienate millions of Indian Muslims. The Prime Minister does seem willing to take this opportunity, though, given the recent criticism and his waning power within the party. The BJP of Modi lives on division. The party does best when religious issues dominate public discourse. The same thing may be accomplished through Uniform Civil Code. As a result, it appears like he is going to hit the nuclear button.

Uncertainty of UCC’s impact on Indian society

But it’s still unclear how this decision could turn out. While it may be successful in refocusing public attention away from problems like the Manipur riots, railway safety, growing inequality, and unemployment, it may also serve to deepen the rift between the nation’s many religious and ethnic groupings. What the Pulwama terror attack did for Modi in the 2019 General Elections, the Uniform Civil Code can also achieve the same in the 2024 General Elections but it could extract a heavy cost from Indians. 

More crucially, if the Uniform Civil Code fails to get the dissenting voices to speak in unison within the BJP, the political risk of adopting it might fail. The Prime Minister should also keep in mind the delicate balance that was achieved by the Constitution makers of independent India. They worked to unify India’s many ethnic groups and communities in order to prevent it from succumbing to religious majoritarianism like Pakistan. While the UCC can help achieve the short-term goals of generating polarized communal emotions in the public before the 2024 elections plus also helping Modi-Shah get a grip over dissenting leaders, it can also fracture the Indian society completely which could take decades to heal.

Disclaimer :- This post is independently published by the author. Infeed neither backs nor assumes liability for the opinions put forth by the author.

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