Elections are Coming: negative aspects where BJP should work

It’s been quiet some time that the country is facing a constant attack on the principles of democracy. The party that came to power in 2014, Bhartiya Janta Party and its parent organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have striven to subvert the Constitution by trying to curb the freedom of the press, dictate the food preferences of people, lend support to cow vigilantes, stifle dissent, and what not. Its blatant call for a Hindu Rashtra goes against the very idea of secular India.

The ideology of the sangh fraternity is fascism. In fact, its long-serving leader, M S Golwalkar, had said that democracy is not suitable for India as the concept is a Western one. In a bid to entice the electorate, it has relied upon rodomontade and polarisation. It has insisted upon building a Ram temple at the disputed site of Babri mosque in Ayodhya. The ramifications of such outrageous political moves are many and dangerous. And, to divert attention, the prime minister, Narendra Modi, and BJP president Amit Shah, have kept on peddling fake promises.

For instance, its insistence upon banning the sale and slaughter of bovines has harmed the cattle industry severely. To maintain old and unproductive cattle, a farmer has to shell out money in the vicinity of Rs 40000 per animal. Previously, such cattle were slaughtered and their hides and bones used for industrial purposes like production of soaps, toothpastes, and most importantly, leather. Around 22 lakh people, who are directly or indirectly employed in the industry, have been affected by this. Furthermore, in the name of the cow, many Muslims have been targeted and led to deaths even. Pehlu Khan’s lynching is a case in point. Cow vigilantes have acted with impunity at the behest of the RSS which promotes the idea of the cow being superior to man.

The government’s interference in such independent institutions as the Reserve Bank of India and the Central Bureau of Investigation has also come to light. In October 2018, RBI deputy governor Viral Acharya made a public speech where he said that the government was curtailing the autonomy of the institution and warned it of the disastrous economic consequences of such meddling. Opposition parties accused the government of interfering in the working of the election commission.

There was quite a furore over the government sending Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana, top officers of the CBI, on forced leave, after allegations of corruption surfaced against them.

Recently, five well-known activists were placed under house arrest for alleged Maoist links. It was seen as a flagrant violation of the right to freedom of expression. There have been several such instances of muzzling independent voices against the government, which have shown utter disregard for the Constitution. D Y Chandrachud, one of the judges hearing the case, had remarked: ‘’Dissent is the safety valve of democracy. If dissent is not allowed, then the pressure cooker may burst.’’

India’s rank in the World Press Freedom Index 2018 went down from 136 to 138, showing how press freedom has been curbed. The press is considered the fourth pillar of democracy and any damage to this pillar results in the wobbling of the whole edifice.

Modi should use his charisma to allay fears and apprehensions of the people before the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. It is high time to remedy the situation lest it shouldget difficult for him to win back the seat of power.

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Sounak Das
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