Indian minister projects ruling party win as polls near end
NEW DELHI – India's defense minister says she's confident her Bharatiya Janata Party will remain in power when general elections conclude this month, and that minorities in Hindu-majority India have nothing to fear.
Nirmala Sitharaman spoke to reporters in New Delhi on Friday ahead of Sunday's sixth phase of polling in the 6-week-long election.
While the Hindu-nationalist BJP in 2014 campaigned on promises to super-charge the economy, its reelection bid has focused on national security.
Reports of hate speech and violence against Muslims have risen after a February suicide bombing killed 40 Indian soldiers in Kashmir. And Human Rights Watch has documented an increase in attacks on Muslims and lower-caste Hindus by so-called cow vigilantes since the BJP came to power.
According to Sitharaman, saying that minorities are in trouble "is absolutely baseless."