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BJP In The Back Seat

BJP In The Back Seat

With the grave election failure in five states, and especially in the three states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cannot expect to win the 2019 general elections. It appears Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bid to come to power a second time will not be easy.

Why? The BJP has lost its credibility to continue as the ruling party and is digging its own grave. In a nutshell, one can say, that the BJP government did not take any serious measure to govern the country for the last four years.

To start with, Modi did not show respect toward the Opposition – neither to the political parties nor to the individual leaders. How could Modi say that nothing was done for the country in the last 60 years? If India has achieved any development, it has only been in the last six decades. Before making ungrounded statements regarding what the “Nehru-Gandhi parivar” was doing, naysayers should brush up on their history. Modi should be aware that there have been many prime ministers apart from the “parivar”!

In any democracy, respect for the opposition group is the minimum of ethical courtesy. As the most prominent face of the opposition, Rahul Gandhi has not enjoyed much respect from the ruling party in the last four years. Modi could not take Rahul as a political leader and reduced him to an object of mockery. He even went to the extent of calling Sonia Gandhi a “jersey cow,” taking potshots at her foreign origin. With all that, she twice won the election to the parliament, and was elected unopposed as the president of the Indian National Congress party. Here even the “cow matha” lost respect! If anyone has respect for women, they would not address her as a “vidhva” (widow). We must not forget that Rajeev Gandhi was India’s prime minister and was assassinated by terrorists when he went to meet with the people of Tamil Nadu despite all trust breaking within high security circles.

Modi’s attack on the opposition party is more person-based than issue-oriented. In all the election contests and declamations before the public, his words are more of bitterness than focused on appealing for votes for his candidates. With this election, we can deduce that people took his talks as entertaining japes.

What the country is witnessing now is a display of arrogance that stems from authority, ignorance of history, access to huge amounts of unaccounted money and ruthless atrocity in execution. Ironically, in each place one becomes a loser rather than a gainer.

Despite all these cheap attack and disrespect shown by Modi, people lost respect for him and instead grew to admire the mother-son duo of Sonia and Rahul. This is one of the reasons that bought Rahul in sharp focus. The contrast was helpful! The more you hit, the more he bounced! Rahul’s election promises touched the hearts of the people.

In this context, it is noteworthy to see that Rahul’s talk as the face of opposition was more issue-centred than person-based. His criticism of ‘Rafale deal’ is ever clear and fresh. The government is still to give a reasonable answer. Similarly, no economist agrees with demonetisation and GST may be good, but badly executed! The BJP government’s main focus has been on special industries, which would only benefit a few millionaires and leave the common people in the lurch. India has more than 75 percent farmers. What is being done for them is question that continues to remain unanswered. No big project was planned for water harvesting, joining of rivers, etc. Have we ever thought of India in 2020 as envisioned by the great late APJ Abdul Kalam, president of India? We have enough and more money to erect statues here and there; but what has the government done to answer the issues of farmers as they suffer from bank loans, and what help did the centre offer to rebuild the deluge-hit states of south India? How do we address the unemployment and help the youth? In a recent survey, it is recorded that for about 9000 jobs in railways, the number of applications received total to nearly 25 million. Due to the widespread prevalence of unemployment, people are losing hope for the future; there is despair. The youth turn anywhere for jobs, and often they are cheated by middle men. Much of our young population is going to foreign countries for petty jobs.

If we take the women’s sector, there is huge decline in women’s participation in jobs. The government has not given enough attention for taking stock of this 50 percent of human work force, and has not created enough work opportunities.

There is also a lot of interplay between social/religious issues and economic issues. Take for example the “cow issue.” Rearing cows was a source of income for poor farmers, but now it is a cause for fear. When cows are not yielding milk, it is a burden than an asset. Even to sell away a cow there are very stringent rules now. With all these the farmers are beginning to stop rearing cows. Even buffalo meat is not allowed in the market. In all these, the poor are the losers. Beef is a common commodity for poor people. Why should the government interfere with food habits of people? In this context the government went for “food governance rather than good governance!” There was again the new form of military coming up as “cow vigilantes”; they have all the power – even more than the police! Who gave them these powers? How many cases of lynching are reported? And often the victims are people of one community. A similar issue is that of “Ram temple.” Do we need more temples? What about the victims of communal violence in the villages of Muzafarnagar? How many have come back to their houses? Even a police officer was killed in Bulandshahr a few days ago, on the issue that a carcass was found in the forest area. Think of the injuries inflicted to number of people; how many cars including police vehicles were burnt! What actions are taken when girls/women are raped and killed?

Government institutions are under threat, too. What about CBI, ED, RBI, and even the Supreme Court? Are these bodies free to serve the nation without interference? What about the results and reports of cases taken up against members of the ruling party? Nowadays, it is a craze to change the names of some cities like, Mugalsarai, Allahabad, Agra, etc. It is again targeting a minority community!

What about the huge loans from our banks and the big businessmen defaulters? Ultimately the country, the common people are the losers! No wonder the people have lost faith in the BJP. The forgone elections have proved it. Ordinary people reflect on all these; they discuss; they are not blind; they see the reality and ask for answers. The government has no money for farmers, but it has money for monuments costing millions of rupees. One hears of bigger statues being planned!

With all this, and owing to all this, the common people are losing hope; people are disunited; people are divided; people’s national unity is at risk…and they look for leaders to guide and develop the nation. It is their cry.

( jponnan@gmail.com )

(Published on 24th December 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 52)