No ruling dispensation in the entire journey of Independent India's democratic and republican polity until now, has harmed the ideas enshrined in the preamble of the constitution as has the present Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA regime. The top leadership of the BJP is duping people using mudslinging, propaganda, money power, muscle power and hollow rhetoric. These have not only disillusioned the people but also hit at the very idea of democracy. The poor were deliberately misled in 2014 and now their hopes and aspirations are being muzzled to create Savarkar's idea of India, in which even the upper caste poor and marginalised along with Dalit, backward castes and minorities have no space.
In the last few years, we have seen BJP’s repeated attempts to polarise people on communal lines ahead of state elections, setting aside all morals, ethos and values of democracy. What should have been considered unethical is now being shamelessly labelled ‘Chanakya niti’ by subservient sections of the media. The real issues are being placed on the back burner. No one is talking about unemployment, poverty relief, agrarian crisis, increasing incidents of mob lynching, deteriorating law and order, poor health services, rudderless education system, badly suffering social harmony and national integration. As was the case in Nazi Germany, fictitious enemies are being created and the nation’s attention is being diverted away from real issues. This BJP tactic is being employed with massive support from a section of the media.
Why this need to divert? You see our incumbent Prime Minister Mr Narendra Damodardas Modi has a very big problem. He had made lot of tall promises in the run-up the last Lok Sabha elections. On the basis of these tall promises, he managed to gain power. Even after 50 months of his tenure, rather than being in answering mode and presenting his report card, he remains in questioning mode and only keeps posing questions against the Opposition for their role since after Independence. This is because he has no great achievements of his own to show. People posed their faith in him by providing a clear majority to a party after 30 years, however rather than respecting the mandate and reporting on his work, he incorrectly keeps attacking the main opposition party about decade-old events.
Prime Minister Modi has summarily failed to find answers to any real issue confronting the nation, therefore he has to rely on showbiz and media management. He has reduced national government to event management, concerned only about headlines and TV prime time debates. Every small thing he does is being presented in a larger than life way with the help of manipulated data, false claims and supportive media houses hungry for government ads. Never before in the history of a poor country did a government spend a whopping amount ₹4,343 crores on image and brand building for its PM, fake glorification and propaganda spreading. To grab hold of their ‘share’ of this big kitty, the media houses started crawling to the tune of the Pied Piper, with least concern for professional ethics and their own credibility.
Take any project of this RSS-backed government from Stand up India, Start up India, Digital India, Make in India, India, Beti Padhao Beti Bachao, Swachh Bharat, and so on—they are all initiatives that lack substance but are high on hollow visions, dreams, slogans and self-indulgent gimmicks.
Talk about any project of this RSS-backed government from Stand up India, Start up India, Digital India, Make in India, India, Beti Padhao Beti Bachao, Selfie with daughter, Fitness challenge, Swachh bharat—they are all initiatives that lack substance but are high on hollow visions, dreams, slogans and self-indulgent gimmicks
A nation cannot dream big if the social constituencies are having nightmarish impact of the government’s apathy. Distress of the farmers has multiplied manifold, minorities and Dalits are being subjected to all kinds of atrocities while the state turns a blind eye. The SC/ST atrocities act is knowingly made weaker and government is unable to come up with an ordinance on it. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs figures (2016-17), there is a 65% increase in crimes against Dalits as compared to 2012-13. Intolerance to difference of opinion, beliefs and religion is rising and social disharmony is increasing like never before. Questioning of the government has started being seen as questioning the Nation. Indian people's trust in their armed forces is being used as a tool to stop arguments which put this government in the dock.
Steps like poorly-implemented GST and demonetisation broke the back of Indian economy. The promised "Achhe Din" never arrived, nor the promised ₹15 lakh in anyone's account. Jan Dhan Yojana became a tool of money laundering and converting black money into white. Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana never ever took off and like many other schemes and announcements died a silent death. Promise of 2 crore jobs per year has not been fulfilled even 5%. Rupee is witnessing its biggest slide against the Dollar. Economy is showing no sign of recovering after the organised plunder called demonetisation.
We have a government at the Centre in coordination with BJP's state governments which is more interested in tackling the Opposition instead of tackling the real-life issues that are affecting our people. Governance is in all time low, but the government and its machinery with the help of RSS is working on a single point agenda of usurping power by any means in all states and at Centre by any means. The Prime Minister is intent on projecting himself as a world-renowned leader and statesman in spite of sitting on a heap of unfulfilled promises, and the RSS-Media-Corporate nexus is happy to oblige.
PM Modi tried to place himself on the pedestal of a world leader. The government inexplicably spent ₹1,484 crores on PM Modi's 84 foreign trips, only to fulfill one man's desire to see himself on the same pedestal as Nehru or Indira. The PM misses the point that visiting as many countries as possible, leaving the foreign minister with very little to do, doesn't translate into increasing one's stature. A true world leader should at least have the capability of uniting the nation. In addition, the government has nothing to show in return of the heavy burden inflicted upon the State exchequer—no increased clout, no strategic or tactical victory, no big ticket investment.
And sadly the fourth pillar of our democracy "The Media" in all these gimmicks and antics played the role of unquestioning cheerleader instead of being a vocal critic and appearing as fair and just umpire.
And thus the Indian people must ensure that a government which is hugely detached from the critical realities of our times and which only believes in organising spectacle, has to go. It also has to go because never before has the threat to the idea of rule and law and constitutional morality been so disturbing as it is now.
The author is political adviser to Tejashwi Yadav, former deputy CM and present Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar assembly