WION Edit: Is the BJP government losing the narrative war?

Delhi Dec 31, 2019, 01.11 PM(IST) Written By: WION

File photo: PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. Photograph:( IANS )

Story highlights

After a series of diplomatic successes, India's image has taken a beating after the anti-citizenship law protests.

This was a year which saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi's star rise to invincible heights - a landslide electoral win, an opposition in shambles and successive diplomatic victories.

After a series of diplomatic successes, India's image has taken a beating after the anti-citizenship law protests. The impatience to get things done could be the problem. There is a risk of crossing the thin line between decisive and dictatorial. 

We have had protests before. People with all kinds of motivations, including political ones, have slammed the government in the past too.

But when apolitical people take extreme positions on issues that don't even affect them directly. Then you know that something is amiss.

Public protest and unrest have been the theme of this year. From Hong Kong to Chile to Lebanon and France, the might of the state has been challenged by the people.

But governments do not comment on domestic agitations elsewhere. But when they do, then the so-called internal issues become international ones.

India successfully took the world along on Balakot, Article 370, even on Ayodhya. There was sensitisation of the strategic partners who either backed India or remained quiet. However, the same support could not have been achieved for the Citizenship Act.

Now the CAA is India's law of course, an internal matter, and yet foreign players are stakeholders. 

India cannot dismiss critics by calling it an internal issue when three of India's neighbours are directly affected. Bangladesh's foreign and home ministers cancelled a scheduled visit to India and a summit with the Japanese PM had to be postponed.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) called the law discriminatory and followed now the OIC is reviving the Kashmir issue.

The BJP was once hailed as the master of messaging, today it is losing the narrative war. Because taking on a terror state is one thing, but taking on your own people is another.

The government will have to take international partners along. A question mark on India's secular credentials is something that the government can ill-afford.

(Disclaimer: WION Edit is the channel's take on the big events of the world)