Concern women's rights are in danger in India election with frontrunner BJP leader

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Narendra Modi is expected to become the next prime minister of India but activists fighting for women's and minority rights in India say the potential election of the BJP Party will roll back womens rights and lead to state repression. (AP/Ajit Solanki)


The general election underway in India is complicated, drawn-out and full of political promises, except when it comes to confronting the violence women have faced in dramatic and terrifying regularity in the last few years. Even before the final tally ... let alone the final votes, a frontrunner has emerged and with him criticism, wariness and questions.


A worker arranges masks of India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra
Modi. The multiphase voting across the country runs until May 12th, with results announced May 16th. (AP/Ajit Solanki)

"Is the BJP wave sweeping India. The CNN/IBN election tracker predicts that Modi momentum will give the BJP a bumper harvest of seats in Northern India. What is very very clear, whether you call it a wave or a breeze or a gale it is blowing in favor of the BJP and Narendra Modi. The fact is Narendra Modi is the man to beat at this moment."

CNN/IBN Newscast

Just about everything is massive in India and a national election takes a lot of time. It will be another three weeks before it's over, but many people believe they already know who will be the new Prime Minister. Narendra Modi is the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party - known as the BJP. He is a controversial man, yet his message is resonating with many Indians.

Vivek Dehejia is the co-author of Indianomix and a professor of economics at Carleton University. He is in India to observe the elections. We reached Vivek Dehejia at his home in Mumbai.

"I am a born Hindu, nothing is wrong, so I'm a Hindu Nationalist so you can say I'm a nationalist because I'm a born Hindu. As for this ... progressive, development oriented, workaholic..whatever they say...this is what they say -- there is no contradiction between the two."

Speaking to Reuters, Narendra Modi, leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party


Krishno Devi displays ink mark on finger
after casting her vote. (AP/Channi Anand)

Amrit Wilson is not only concerned with Mr. Modi's past - she's worried about what his potential rise to power might mean for the future -- particularly as it relates to women and minorities. She is a writer and activist based in London, England where she is a founding member of the South Asia Solidarity Group.

Despite the criticisms, the BJP has supporters far beyond India's borders . Azad Kaushik is a convenor of the Canadian chapter of the Overseas Friends of the BJP. We reached him in Guelph, Ontario.

Want to add your thoughts to this discussion on the election in India?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Dawna Dingwall and Sujata Berry.

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