As the Cricket World Cup gets underway in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seen by some as using the tournament as a political weapon to boost his chances of re-election in 2024.
Cricket is more than just a sport in India. It is a religion, a way of life, and a powerful tool for political mobilization. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been particularly adept at using cricket to its advantage, both domestically and internationally.
The BJP has been charged with utilizing the 2023 Cricket World Cup to advance its own political objectives. Many believe the BJP is using the World Cup as a springboard for a third term in power, from the name and selection of stadiums to the demonization of Pakistan and Muslims.
The BJP’s use of cricket for political gain
Cricket has a long history of being exploited politically by the BJP. The party leveraged the success of the Indian cricket team in the early 1990s to advance its Hindu nationalist agenda. Since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014, the BJP has used cricket more regularly for political ends.
In the lead-up to the 2023 Cricket World Cup, the BJP has been accused of using the tournament to promote its own political agenda. For example, the party has been criticised for naming the world’s largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad after Modi himself. The stadium, which has a capacity of over 130,000 people, was officially renamed the Narendra Modi Stadium in 2020.
The BJP has also been accused of using the World Cup to demonise Pakistan and Muslims. In recent years, the party has taken a hard line on Pakistan, with Modi himself accusing the country of being a “state sponsor of terrorism”. The BJP has also been accused of marginalising Muslims in India, with Modi’s government passing a number of discriminatory laws against the minority community.
Some say that the BJP’s use of cricket for political gain is a dangerous trend. They argue that the party is using the sport to divide the country and promote its own narrow political agenda. Others say that the BJP is simply reflecting the public’s passion for cricket and that there is nothing wrong with the party using the sport to connect with voters.
The BJP’s World Cup infrastructure projects
The BJP has also been accused of using the World Cup to justify its massive spending on infrastructure projects. In the lead-up to the tournament, the government has spent billions of dollars on new roads, bridges, and airports. Some say that these projects are necessary to improve the country’s infrastructure, but others argue that they are a waste of money and that the government could have used the money to address more pressing issues, such as poverty and hunger.
The BJP’s World Cup diplomacy
The BJP has also used the World Cup to bolster its diplomatic ties with other countries. In the lead-up to the tournament, Modi has met with world leaders from all over the globe. Some say that the BJP is using the World Cup to promote India’s soft power, but others argue that the party is simply trying to score political points.
The BJP’s use of cricket for political gain is a complex issue. There are valid arguments to be made on both sides of the debate. However, it is clear that the BJP is using the 2023 Cricket World Cup to promote its own political agenda. It is still unknown whether or not this strategy will help the party win a third term in office.
The BJP’s use of cricket for political gain has been met with criticism from some quarters. Critics argue that the party is using the sport to divide the country and promote its own narrow political agenda. They also argue that the BJP is wasting money on infrastructure projects that are not necessary and that the government could have used the money to address more pressing issues.
Some BJP supporters have, however, commended the party’s plan as well. They contend that the party is merely reflecting the public’s love of cricket and that it is OK for the party to use the sport to engage people.