While US citizens and institutions are worried over Russian interference in the US Presidential election, a senior RSS leader and BJP’s General Secretary ( Organisation) B.L. Santhosh has held out a threat to influence the election in favour of Donald Trump.
The threat was tweeted by Santhosh following the acerbic tweet by one of the Democratic Party aspirants for the US Presidency, Bernie Sanders, who is indeed the front runner in the Democratic Primaries. Sanders, an avowed socialist, had criticised Trump for negotiation defence contracts for US firms while in India, pointing out that the two countries could have far more profitably found areas of agreement to fight climate change.
Sanders followed it up with another sharp tweet criticising Indian Prime Minister Modi and the US President for ignoring the Delhi riots.
In a sharp response, the BJP functionary tweeted, “ “How much ever neutral we wish to be, you compel us to play a role in Presidential elections,” and added “Sorry to say so…But you are compelling us”. Later he deleted his tweet.
Yet another controversial tweet by the BJP leader, which again was deleted by him, related to the violence in Delhi. Somewhat indiscreetly he had tweeted, “ Now the Game Begins” after the second day of violence, which has left at least 32 people dead.
The tweet by the BJP functionary not only establishes the party’s willingness and intent to interfere in elections abroad but also the confidence it has in its own ability to do so, leaving people to wonder if the party does fight shy of interfering in the electoral process in domestic elections.
What raised the hackles of the BJP leader was the tweet by Sanders in which he stated, “Over 200 million Muslims call India home. Widespread anti-Muslim mob violence has killed at least 27 and injured many more. Trump responds by saying, "That's up to India." This is a failure of leadership on human rights.” While his criticism was directed at the US President, Santhosh seemed to be more loyal than Trump himself by taking umbrage.
At a media interaction while in New Delhi, Trump had responded to a question on the Delhi violence by saying that he would “leave it to India” to deal with the CAA and the protests and he had not discussed the violence with PM Narendra Modi.
Sanders has criticised both Modi and Trump several times in the past. He was also critical of the “Howdy Modi” rally in Houston which was held last September. He and the silence of the US overnment and White House on Kashmir.
Ro Khanna, Sanders’ Foreign Policy adviser and Indian-American Representative, had also said that while India remained an important strategic ally, the “India that has captured the imagination of the world, and the world respects, is the India of 1947, an India shaped by Gandhi and Nehru. It’s not the India of the eleventh century. Any effort to undermine India’s conception as a pluralistic democracy and go back to the medieval ages will not be in India’s interest.”
Democratic Party leader and a member of the House of Representatives, Premila Jayapal, an Indian-American, had sought to bring a US Congress Resolution on Kashmir last year for a vote on which the Modi government has rebuked, and also refused to attend a House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The BJP’s Foreign Affairs Cell requested British-Indians to vote for the Conservative Party, and against the Labour Party to stop the resolution of nullify Article 370. The British government had formally expressed its torment to the Ministry of External Affairs last year, reported by The Hindu.
On which, the Ministry of External Affairs said that the “Election is an internal matter of U.K. People who voted in the elections are all U.K. nationals. We do not wish to get involved as to which section of their population is supporting whom.”