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A Nation In Distress

A Nation In Distress

Politics is an odd game but definitely not one that warrants too much of thoughts over the strange moves that characterize it.

But ever since the Modi-factor started making its overawing presence felt in every facet of life in the country, politics in India has transcended from one that has chartered discernible courses to one that has been most confounding, to say the least.

With projects and schemes that continue to be rolled out at a mindboggling speed, the Modi-sarkar is the epitome of a progressive government that just doesn’t seem to tire of the responsibilities it shoulders.

Citizens are however not allowed to forget that Public welfare and the nation’s development as its core agendas are getting the prime attention of the government.

But it is the stubbornness with which the Modi-government has pursued some of its ‘ardent’ programs which has led the common man to doubt the veracity of the claims made.

The unassumingly dominant politics being played out has never left anyone in doubt!

While the government at the centre has chosen to downplay the more than obvious right-wing policies of the ‘majority’ class on display in some of the states ruled by the saffron party, suggestions of the modus operandi employed during the colonial rule to quell all challenges to its dominance being put to effective use in the modern era cannot be overlooked either.

A sense of foreboding seems to have come over large sections of the society with unease and apprehension greeting the coronation of Modi as the Prime Minister for another term.

The ominous feeling stems from the manner in which the PM was able to stamp his party’s mark of invincibility over the nation’s electoral process. More than the victory it was the devastation of the Opposition that took everyone by surprise.

The unheard and unthinkable had come to transpire!

However, if the ‘janta’ as the ‘malik’ had delivered its judgment, why were the people so very upset! Was the public dismayed at its own folly or was it celebrating its decision to hoist a party to power that gave indications of being custodians of age-old traditions and customs which characterized the ‘majority’ community!

Finally, ever since Modi ascended power it appears that politics in India has boiled down to just that – ‘us’ versus the ‘rest’!

With allegations of dissent being disapproved by the saffron-regime rather vehemently, it is as if suggestions of an authoritarian rule, after years of colonial subservience, once again taking firm roots on Indian soil can no further be ignored.

Coming down heavily on critics and attempting to silence them with incarceration, attempts to curtail the freedom of speech of its citizens couldn’t have been more evident.

With cow-slaughter and beef-eating being recognized as unpardonable ‘crimes’, mob-lynching has been re-defined to gain acceptance for the perpetrators of the barbaric act in a society that shuns such vile acts.

But why cow-vigilantism, the assault on Tabrez Ansari which eventually led to his death in Jharkhand a few days back confirms that vigilante justice and mob-lynch mentality are invariably accompanied by a sectarian motive in all such cases where a crowd has decided to dispense justice!

The pompously driven economic-reforms which benefit only a select few, with the rest left to bear the brunt of the backlashes, cannot be anyone’s idea of the achche din ahead anymore.

The Prime Minister’s penchant for playing to the gallery using newly coined catchphrases has given the nation a new slogan: ‘Sab ka saath, sab ka vikas, sab ka vishwas’!     

In any case it is the manner of decimation of its opponents that is garnering headlines these days.

Congress, as the grand-old party of the country, is virtually teetering at the cusp of annihilation! The refusal by the scion of the Gandhi family to continue any longer as the President of the party has induced a resignation spree by most of its national and state unit office-bearers citing reasons of the Lok Sabha election debacle for this decision.

The exodus of a majority of them into the saffron-fold further complicates the matter for the party!

In this regard, one can’t but concur with what the PM had to say about the Congress party during his first address to Lok Sabha after re-election: “Congress rose so high that it has lost touch with the country’s roots.”

While many not expect to see the Congress bounce back into reckoning anytime in the early future, it could well emulate the organizational tactics of the BJP during its nascent stage.

The time it took the Lotus to establish itself in the electoral front of the country should give the Congress enough encouragement. Perseverance paid off for the BJP! The Congress should pounce on this ‘electorate-deemed’ opportunity to rebuild itself from the scratch.

An ‘electoral sabbatical’ for the Congress would hence appear to be the most appropriate step at this point of time! But it wouldn’t dare dream anything on these lines. 

Now that we are on the subject of elections!

While the Prime Minister’s ‘One Nation, One Election’ agenda is all about structuring the Indian election cycle in a manner such that the elections to the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies are synchronized together, it remains to be seen as to how many heads of the various political parties invited by the PM for a meeting on the matter will readily accede to the plans envisaged.

No doubt the proposal does merit some careful thought; but as a novelty a lot of discussions and debates will have to go into the matter before arriving at some definite decision.

As a democratic nation India has had some election or the other taking place every year. A lot of time and public money is spent on organizing and conducting elections. Besides, the political tamashas that necessitate elections to be held intermittently have become regular affairs now.

Considering that elections have come as a bane for the country’s economy which is just showing signs of recovery, the huge amounts of money that goes into the staging of various elections has invariably taken a toll on the state exchequer.

Moreover, if a nation is to engage itself in elections round the year, how much time will it leave the government to pursue its agendas and concentrate on effective governance! The general administration too will be badly affected!

But bearing in mind the traditions and conventions that India’s Parliamentary system follows, will the Modi-regime in effect be able to surmount the challenges to make the ‘One Nation One Poll’ dream a reality!

Yet, more than the visions of having a radical change in the pattern of elections in the country, it is the prospects having a ‘One Nation One Party’ that is amusing the public these days.

Critics, though in jest, have been ‘hinting’ at such a scenario!

Engineering defections in the opposition ranks, the BJP has virtually threatened the existence of all the other political parties in the country. If this trend continues for some more time, the BJP, all alone, would be standing tall amidst the ruins.

Nevertheless, would this bode well for a democracy like India!

(Published on 15th July 2019, Volume XXXI, Issue 29)