The world's biggest exercise in democracy is happening right now in India. The country's seven-phase general election is a massive logistical exercise, with 900 million eligible voters, more than 2,000 political parties and a million polling stations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been in power since 2014, is hoping to secure another five years in office.

But the party has overseen a nearly 30 percent rise in communal violence and a nearly 500 percent increase in the use of hateful and divisive language by politicians.

BJP party president Amit Shah, for example, referred to undocumented Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh as "termites" and "infiltrators".

When asked whether he thought the use of that language was dehumanising, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said it was an "apt analogy."

"A termite, essentially, and in India, we're used to it because we do have a lot of termites, they come from the ground and they eat you up hollow from the inside ... it's a perfectly apt analogy," Kohli said.

This week's headliner BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli.

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Source: Al Jazeera