In his recently voiced disapproval, India’s election frontrunner Narendra Modi criticized vehemently anti-Muslim statements issued by a once-associate Praveen Togadia, head of the ultra right-wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad. It is a simple video of a virulent Praveen Togadia demanding that Hindu-majority neighborhoods “should have the courage to intimidate (Muslims) by taking the law into our own hands.” It sounds similar: Across the border, the strongly right-wing variant of Muslim clerics have often showed disdain for Hindu minorities. Ergo, the majority’s anti-minority sentiment manifests in an assortment of shapes and sizes.

It’s when Narendra Modi condemns Praveen Togadia that things become rather interesting. “Petty statements by those claiming to be BJP’s well-wishers are deviating the campaign from the issues of development and good governance.” It sounds nice, too. After all, by looking at his rather nascent softening toward Indian Muslim sensibilities, one would naively assume that Modi, – that is, Chief Minister Narendra Modi under whose watch more than 1,000 people - most of them Muslims - were decimated throughout Gujarat in 2002 – is somehow opting for a more harmonious and unified political stance for his presidential campaign. The emphasis here being on “naively assuming” given how, if we look back, Modi has not really given up his sectarian method of garnering political support. For instance: his party’s most recent manifesto demands to reintroduce the idea of constructing a temple on the site of a medieval mosque in the northern town of Ayodhya despite the glaring fact that the mosque had been destroyed by Hindu extremists as well as BJP supporters in 1992.

But it isn’t just Praveen Togadia. If anything, Togadia’s case of condemned anti-Muslim sentiment coming from Modi is perhaps a political ploy at best. It looks and sounds pleasant and increases the likelihood of more votes, particularly in an atmosphere where Indian voters remain wary of Modi’s polemical ideology. One can also recall Amit Shah, former Gujarat minister and Modi’s closest aide who has openly made speeches inciting violence against Muslims, including speeches in Uttar Pradesh where sectarian violence spread like cancer last September. Modi, for some strange reason, never felt the need to correct Shah.

In this episode of selective denouncement, we learn that there is always that one politician who – in the dire time of need – will castigate a jingoist eerily similar to himself simply because it may win him a few more votes. And that’s exactly how Modi likes to play.