BJP’s New Electoral Focus: ‘Swadeshi’ Laws as a Macho Avatar

In 2019, Narendra Modi went to the electorate seeking another term, harping on the much-talked-about Balakot strike in which the Indian Air Force went deep inside Pakistan to mount an aerial attack. However, for the 2024 national elections, the BJP is searching for a new calling card as Prime Minister Modi believes that issues like the Ram Mandir and the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A won’t be enough to secure electoral victory. Instead, the party is likely to focus on the yet-to-be-passed three ‘swadeshi’ laws as its main electoral issue.

The ruling party sees these laws, which aim to replace centuries-old Acts related to the legal system, as “masculine” steps against “anti-nationals”, the ‘Tukde Tukde’ gangs, and those labeled as “enemies inside”. By projecting these laws as the government’s tough stance on terrorism, separatism, and notorious criminals, the BJP hopes to present a ‘macho avatar’ to the electorate.

The BJP is confident about passing these three Bills in the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament with its majority in the Lok Sabha and support from friendly parties in the Rajya Sabha. The department-related Standing Committee on Home Affairs has scheduled a series of meetings to discuss these bills, with the Home Secretary giving a presentation on the details. The committee aims to submit its report to Parliament as soon as possible and make the details available to the public for better understanding.

The proposed ‘swadeshi’ laws have already been promoted by the government as a departure from the “colonial imprint” on the legal process. They aim to modernize and streamline the legal system, including provisions for dealing with electronic and digital records in cases related to terrorism and separatism.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) officials have emphasized the need to eliminate the colonial influence on the legal process, as the existing laws were enacted 160 years ago to protect the interests of the British government. The proposed changes also intend to reduce the pendency of cases and prevent innocent individuals from being wrongly punished due to delays caused by complex legal procedures.

Politically, the BJP sees these ‘swadeshi’ laws as a strong electoral issue that will showcase the government’s strong stance on national security and law enforcement. By replacing centuries-old Acts with these modern laws, the party aims to present itself as a strong and decisive force in dealing with terrorism, separatism, and notorious criminals.

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