A party with a purpose, the BJP is adamant on holding its sway over the entire country. On a high since Narendra Modi took over as the most visible face of the party, efforts have been to keep the saffron flag flying high across the country.
The charisma of the energetic PM combined with the organizational capabilities of the party president, and ably supported by the cadre down the line, the BJP has been having a dream run in almost all the polls held in the country in recent times.
Be it the elections to the Municipal Corporation in Mumbai or the state assembly elections, the remarkable achievements of the BJP have become ‘folklores’ now.
While not denying the party due credit for installing its government amidst uncertainties, it is however the manner of usurping power in certain states that has been quite worrisome. Goa and Manipur for instance!
In spite of the clear verdict of the people against the party where the BJP failed to emerge as the single largest party in the states after the assembly elections, the ‘undemocratic’ manner in which the Centre contrived to have BJP-led governments installed in both these states points to a trend which will have repercussions vis-à-vis government formations in the future.
As things stand today, as a party riding roughshod over all others in the political spectrum dotting the country purely on the strength of its overwhelming presence at the Centre, the BJP’s dictatorial stance is well understood. But does this bode well for a healthy democracy!
For that matter, a democracy without a reasonable opposition degenerates into autocracy. The BJP, taking its slogan of “Congress-mukt Bharat” to its next level of an “Opposition-mukt” Bharat, is on an opposition-decimating spree.
The manner in which ‘staunch’ opponents of BJP, who have all along denounced the party for its communal leanings, have shown a new-found love for the party portends a dangerous drift.
As has been rightly observed, in some states, many of its senior ministers are former Congress or other party leaders. The BJP on its part is welcoming all those who can help it to form the government irrespective of their ‘voices of protest’ against it in the past.
With an elected Congress legislator already resigning to re-contest by-polls from his constituency on a BJP ticket in Goa, indications are that a few more may follow suit. The independents and the regional parties have already extended their support to the Parrikar-government.
One would hate to imagine a scenario where most of the Congress legislators, kept out of power for so long, were to desert the party to jump on the BJP-bandwagon in Goa! Whichever way one looks at it, it is apparent that the saffron party has achieved its aim of stifling the opposition.
What one witnessed in Goa is a prelude to what is in store for the entire country. It is time the opposition, or whatever of it that remains, sees through the game and evolves a strategy to counter it!
On a serious note though, it is worrisome to note that the BJP is virtually steamrolling all opposition, in pursuance of, what apparently looks like a one-party rule in the country. With its overall dominance in the country’s politics today, the populace is not being allowed to think about anything else but the ‘lotus in full bloom’.
The recent developments in Indian politics moreover point to the irrelevance of the multi-party system as is evident from the comfort with which candidates who were pitted against the party’s nominees readily endorsed the BJP’s stand no sooner they won the elections. That’s not all; they are even partners in the new alliance!
One hence dreads to think of an opposition-sans government pushing its agendas through with comparative ease which can only cause harm to the nation. As it is, the BJP-rule in the country has ushered in a number of first-time ‘wonders’ that has not stopped surprising the countrymen.
‘Ascetic robes’ now adorning the corridors of power in India for instance!
We are yet to understand that the distinction between legislation and religion must be maintained at all costs.
Try as much as it may, India as a nation cannot keep away religion from politics. At a time when communal strife has been playing havoc with the lives of people, we have politicians readily endorsing it to further their cause.
As if the hard-earned freedom from colonial masters was not enough, the ignominy of a partition brought about by leaders who drummed up communal hatred amongst the masses inflicted scars that are yet to heal.
Even decades after that abominable incident, leaders continue to bleed the nation with their brand of politics that has hinged around the faith and belief of people. Rather than talks about progress and development, it has always been religion that has caught the attention of the public.
The large and pious congregations witnessed for religious discourses which has resulted in the huge proliferation of spiritual gurus in the country on the one hand and inflammatory speeches by radical leaders which, though warrants public denunciation, has always perked the interest of the people on the other hand, paints quite a gloomy picture of how religion has been taken to extreme limits to justify its political evolution in the everyday life of an Indian.
It is indeed frightening to read that any religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.
Unlike Pakistan, India has never staked claim to a ‘Hindu Maha-rashtra’ and therefore cannot have religion playing a distinct role in its political evolution.
It is well known that in the pre-partition phase, Islam was used as an effective instrument of political mobilization in order to achieve a Muslim state. But once this political objective of nationhood was accomplished there was a marked decline in the emphasis on the role of religion with the leadership in Pakistan desiring a secular state while the people yearned for a Muslim nation.
Fundamentalism is now wreaking havoc in Pakistan! India too appears to be heading in the same direction. Religion no more remains confined within the portals of temples, churches and mosques lending a purpose to the spiritual quest of man, but now gives weight to the pursuit of power engaged in by various political players.
It is a new brand of politics being enacted in India today under the rule of a dispensation that is appreciated for being everything but secular.(Published on 03rd April 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 14)#