Geert Wilders: Support for Nupur Sharma

Dutch right-wing figure Geert Wilders conveyed his solidarity to Nupur Sharma, a former spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), stating he had sent her “a personal message of strength.” Expressing his interest in meeting Sharma, Wilders, currently vying for the position of Prime Minister of the Netherlands, emphasized the importance of supporting individuals like her who face threats from Islamists due to their outspokenness.

Wilders, known for his outspoken nature, has previously voiced support for Sharma, asserting his alignment with principles of free speech. Notably, he stood by her during a controversy arising from remarks she made concerning Prophet Mohammad.

Despite his reputation as a firebrand politician, Wilders adjusted his stance as the 2023 general elections in the Netherlands approached. He distanced himself from far-right labels, emphasizing a consensus-building approach in his country. While his party, the Freedom party (PVV), had proposed bans on certain Islamic practices and institutions, such as the Quran, Islamic schools, and mosques, these proposals have been put on hold to appeal to a broader spectrum of voters.

Wilders maintains support for banning Islamic headscarves in public buildings, as outlined in his party’s manifesto. Additionally, he has been vocal in endorsing the policies of the Indian government, including its decision to revoke Article 370 and 35A in Jammu and Kashmir in 2019.

Despite PVV’s electoral success, winning 37 seats in the election, Wilders faces challenges in forming a government. Coalition talks with the centrist New Social Contract (NSC) collapsed recently, complicating the process. Wilders aims to form a coalition with NSC, the BBB agrarian party, and the centre-right VVD party, though reaching a consensus remains elusive.