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Azhar's listing as global terrorist set to add muscle to BJP's nationalism narrative

Azhars listing as global terrorist set to add muscle to BJPs nationalism narrative

New Delhi: The UN listing of JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist is set to add muscle to the BJP's central theme of nationalism in the general election with party leaders expressing confidence that the development will boost its prospects.

As 169 seats, including in the Hindi heartland states swept by the BJP in 2014, are still to go to polls in the remaining three phases, the saffron party's assessment is that the UN decision will come handy in building up its poll tempo around the nationalism plank.

With the BJP's theme of nationalism built around Narendra Modi's perceived strong leadership and his muscular approach on national security issues, a party leader said Azhar's listing as a global terrorist will be seen by people as another feather in the prime minister's cap. "We are in the middle of the election and this development occurs. It could not have come at a more opportune time," he said, wishing not to be quoted. Hari Om Mishra, a JNU professor, agreed with the impression, saying it is definitely going to benefit the BJP.

"It would create a perception among public that things are improving under the BJP government and this benefit the party in the polls," he said.

However, Amita Singh, another JNU professor, said the development would not benefit any one political party as it is an achievement for the whole country. A UN Security Council designation will subject Azhar to an assets freeze, travel ban and an arms embargo. An assets freeze under the sanctions committee requires that all states freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities. However, what will be the real impact of the decision by the UNSC to designate Azhar as global terrorist is not yet clear, said strategic affairs experts. "This certainly isolates Pakistan, it will lie low. It is questionable whether its (Pakistan's) army will give up the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy," said Gopalaswami Parthasarathy, former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan.

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