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Governance In Shambles

Governance In Shambles

Narendra Modi roamed to power about four years ago making tall promises. Prominent among them was ensuring good governance. Four years down the line India is witnessing chaos, large scale violence emanating from hatred and revenge, unrest and revolt by the Dalits, failure of the state administration to nab the culprits even in the case heinous crimes like gang rape and murder of children, the administration and the elected representatives openly supporting and shielding the perpetrators of crimes, confusion and discord among the judges of highest court of India etc. The list seems to be endless. The gravity of the present scenario is vividly reflected in an open letter written to the Prime Minister by 49 retired civil servants concerning Kathua and Unnao rape cases.  

They have expressed their dismay at the Kathua and the Unnao incidents which show that “the government has failed in performing the most basic of the responsibilities given to it by the people”. They wrote, “The bestiality and the barbarity involved in the rape and murder of an eight year old child shows the depths of depravity that we have sunk into. In post-independence India, this is our darkest hour and we find the response of our government, the leaders of our political parties inadequate and feeble. At this juncture, we see no light at the end of the tunnel and we hang our heads in shame”.

Along with expressing their collective sense of shame, anguish and rage they have analyzed the causes for the “death of our civilizational values”. It is the result of implementing an ideology based on hatred, revenge, discrimination and exclusion. They wrote bluntly, “It is an agenda of division and hate your party and its innumerable, often untraceable offshoots that spring up from time to time, have insidiously introduced into the grammar of our politics, our social and cultural life and even our daily discourse. It is that which provides the social sanction and legitimacy for the incidents in Kathua and Unnao”.

According to the authors of the letter, in Kathua in Jammu, “it is the culture of majoritarian belligerence and aggression promoted by the Sangh Parivar which emboldened rabid communal elements to pursue their perverse agenda”. “In Unnao in UP, it is the reliance on the worst kinds of patriarchal feudal mafia dons to capture votes and political power that gives such persons the freedom to rape and murder and extort as a way of asserting their own personal power”. Sangh Parivar’s majroitarian aggressiveness and use of patriarchal feudal mafia dons for capturing votes are cited as the causes for the two heinous crimes. The Sangh Parivar has injected the venom of hatred and revenge into the veins of Indian society. The horrible crimes against the minorities and their justification by the right wing groups are the result of a large scale poisoning of the social fabric with hate.

After BJP came to power at the centre its main focus has been winning the state elections and expanding the saffron domination all over the country. The BJP has succeeded to great extent in winning the elections. Today BJP is in power in 21 out of the 29 states either as a single party or in coalition with regional parties. The party and the government have always been in the election gear. The Prime Minister was mostly out of the country for building his image among the world leaders. Whenever he was in India he was busy with electioneering, as he was the main campaigner and vote catcher in all state elections, particularly in UP. As a result he could not concentrate on governance.

Secondly, the Modi government has remained a captive of the Sangh Parivar. The promises like generating 10 million jobs every year were put in cold storage because of the passion of the government to implement the Hindutva agenda of the Sangh Parivar. The RSS has been in a hurry to convert India into a Hindu rashtra. Beef ban introduced by the BJP governments in Maharashtra, Haryana, UP, MP etc. has not only resulted in huge economic and job loss, but also adversely affected the livelihood the farmers, as they cannot not sell their unproductive animals. The gaurakshaks let loose a reign of terror on the Muslim community under the guise of cow protection while the police and the administration remained mute spectators. The members of the outfits of the Sangh Parivar often take law into their hands to attack the minorities on flimsy grounds. The hate speeches by the BJP ministers, MPs and MLAs encourage these hooligans to indulge in violence against the minorities and the Dalits.

The Prime Minister has never reprimanded his ministers and law makers who indulged in hate speech against the minorities. He has not shown courage to say anything against the RSS, the motivating force behind the hate mongers. On the other hand on completion of one year in power he and his council of ministers presented a report card to RSS leaders in Delhi. In a democracy the council of ministers are accountable to the Parliament and not to an extra constitutional authority like RSS. Doordarshan telecasting the vijayadashmi speech of Mohan Bhagwat, the RSS Sarsangchalak is another vivid expression of the control of RSS on the BJP government.  

In view of saffronizing education and culture hard-core RSS men, irrespective of their competence and credibility, are appointed as the heads of educational and cultural institutions. Indian Council of Historical Research, Banaras Hindu University, Indian Institute of Advanced Study at Shimla, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and Indian Council of Cultural Relations are only a few examples. Rewriting Indian History is another priority area of the BJP government under the pressure from RSS.  

A Hindu priest, Yogi Adityanath, was made the Chief Minister of the largest state of India, blatantly violating a core principle of the Indian Constitution of not mixing religion with politics. Ignoring vital issues like poverty alleviation, employment generation, boosting economic growth, improving law and order situation, he focused on trivial issues like shutting down illegal slaughter houses, constituting Anti Romeo squads, protection of cows, deepotsav on the banks of Saryu River etc. Another priority Yogi Adityanath is to build a 100 meters tall statue of Lord Ram. What contribution can the people of India expect from the hugely expensive statue towards good governance?

Independence and impartiality of the judiciary is vital to the very survival of democracy. Statements emanating from some senior judges of the Supreme Court indicate that independence of the judiciary is at stake. “ Nobody is safe in the country if the judiciary is not strong and efficient”, said Justice J Chelameswar on April 14 while delivering the N L Belekar memorial lecture on 'Rule of Law and Role of Bar' in Nagpur. He also had written to the Chief Justice of India, Deepak Mishra earlier, “Any bonhomie between the judiciary and the executive will sound the death-knell to the democracy”. In January he had convened a press conference in which four senior Judges of the Supreme Court expressed their displeasure and apprehensions about the functioning of the Supreme Court.

On April 12, Justice Kurian Joseph of the Supreme Court wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India urging the CJI to confront the government for its refusal to act on the recommendation of the collegium to appoint senior advocate Indu Malhotra and Uttrakhand Chief Justice K.M. Joseph as apex court judges. “History will not pardon us” if the Supreme Court judges turned a blind eye to the threat from the government, Justice Kurian said. Government’s interference in the functioning of the court is indicated by the statements of the senior judges of the Supreme Court.

In an open letter to the BJP parliamentarians published in The Indian Express on April 17, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha pointed out the failures of the Modi government and told BJP members, “If you remain silent now, you will do a great disservice to the country.”  According to him, the most important threat that has emerged over the last four years is to our democracy. Institutions of democracy have been demeaned and denigrated. Parliament has been reduced to the level of a joke.

A document of UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) in 1997 titled, Governance for Sustainable Development has given nine characteristics of good governance: Participation, Rule of law, Transparency, Responsiveness, Consensus orientation, Equity, Effectiveness and efficiency, Accountability and Strategic vision. The arrogance and exclusive approach of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its government stand in the way of consensus with other political parties and groups. The winter session of the parliament was a complete wash out because of the failure of the BJP government to dialogue with the opposition parties. The rule of law is negated when the government does not act against the Sangh Parivar outfits when they take the law into their hands and indulge in violence against certain sections of the society. The vision of the BJP is fundamentally flawed because it follows a discriminatory, exclusive and fundamentalist ideology of Hindutva.

The 49 retired civil servants in their letter to the PM have pointed out that he had not “condemned the communal pathology behind the act nor shown the resolve to change the social, political and administrative conditions under which such communal hate is bred”. If the Prime Minister is sincere in his condemnation of the heinous crimes and ready to ensure good governance, he has to act against the hate mongering forces within his party and the Sangh Parivar. Is he ready to act?  


(Published on 23th April 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 17)