Zafar Agha: It’s now over to the people to save democracy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) with BJP National President Amit Shah in New Delhi on May 17, 2018

BJP under Narendra Modi is clearly determined to grab power in 2019 at the Parliamentary level at any cost. Installing the Yeddyurappa government in Karnataka is another step in that direction

Those who were under the illusion that Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala would play by the rule-book had their illusion shattered in just 24 hours after the state assembly election results threw up a hung assembly. Once Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself announced that BJP would not let ‘the mandate given to the BJP’ be hijacked ‘at any cost’, the writing on the wall was clear. It signalled that the Hindutva brigade was ready with its strategy to anoint Yeddyurappa as chief minister on the date and time he had decided and declared even before the polling.

The strategy unfolded late on Wednesday evening when the DGP of Karnataka blurted out plans for the swearing-in ceremony. Minutes later, Karnataka BJP tweeted the ‘news’ and immediately thereafter deleted it, because the Raj Bhavan was yet to issue a formal notification. The formal announcement followed and the Raj Bhavan released the Governor’s acceptance of the claim made by the BJP and his invitation to Yeddyurappa for being sworn in as the next chief minister, despite being eight seats short of a majority.

BJP under Narendra Modi is clearly determined to grab power in 2019 at the Parliamentary level at all costs. For this, it believes it necessary to grab power in all the states, or in as many as possible before 2019. Modi’s chief hatchet-man Amit Shah the other day announced that the saffron flag would soon fly in ‘’all the 26 states’’. Installing the Yeddyurappa government is another step in that direction.

Karnataka is just a dress rehearsal of what is in store. The Sangh agenda is to bring back Modi in 2019. The purpose is to wreck the Constitution and build a Hindu Rashtra of Veer Savarkar’s dreams. But it doesn’t seem feasible under a vastly weakened Modi, whose popularity is on the wane and who is getting exposed for what he is every passing day. Yet, Modi is to be brought back in 2019, by hook or by crook

Who cares about constitutional rules and democratic norms? When it suited the BJP to capture power in Goa or Manipur, the post-poll alliance was held out as the norm. But this logic was turned on its head when the post-poll alliance arithmetic favoured parties opposed to the BJP in Karnataka, where the single largest party received the invitation first to try and form the government.

The Constitution is being interpreted by the BJP according to its own convenience as a means to further its own political and electoral interests. In the process, the constitutional office of the Governor has been undermined and the Governor reduced to taking dictation from the PMO.

We should no longer be under any illusion that the BJP-RSS machine isn’t out to wreck the Constitution itself. When the four senior-most judges next to the Chief Justice of India and led by Justice Chelameswar held an unprecedented press conference in January and warned the nation that ‘democracy was in peril’, they clearly meant it. The full import of the press conference is only now being realised.

This was no hollow warning by the honourable J justices. They would have witnessed how democratic institutions were systematically being rigged by the powers that be. The Parliament was defanged by the BJP when the Speaker herself refused to accept the no-confidence motion notice during the last budget session, even when the Government was in no real danger of falling. The Election Commission stood exposed on so many occasions when it turned a blind eye to complaints against the ruling cabal. The judiciary is under a cloud after the impeachment motion moved by over 60 MPs against the Chief Justice of India. The media is already compromised and acting as the establishment’s lapdog rather than being the watchdog of the people. One is tempted to assert that the world’s largest democracy is fast turning into a joke.

India has already entered into a most dangerous phase after independence. A swift move by the united secular and liberal opposition to move to the peoples’ court is the only course left to save democracy. Indian democracy is being murdered. Crying hoarse alone cannot save it. The sooner the opposition goes to the people, the better

But all this is just a dress rehearsal of what is in store. The Sangh agenda is to bring back Modi in 2019 by hook or by crook. The purpose is to wreck the Constitution and build a Hindu Rashtra of Veer Savarkar’s dreams. But it doesn’t seem feasible under a vastly weakened Modi, whose popularity is on the wane and who is getting exposed for what he is every passing day. The leader now stands naked. His fake promises of creating millions of jobs in five years; every Indian getting a bonus of ₹15 lakh from Indian black money stashed abroad and similar promises have turned into jokes on social media. Indian funds are being siphoned off by robbers like Nirav Modi, while banks are groaning under the growing NPA burden. Whimsical steps like demonetisation and the GST reform without much preparation are ruining businesses, economy and jobs. Narendra Modi in 2018 is no longer the Modi of 2014 when he single-handedly secured a majority for the BJP in the Lok Sabha.

Yet, Modi is to be brought back in 2019 to fulfil the unfinished task of implementing the Sangh’s agenda. So, wreck institutions, manipulate constitutional offices like the Governor, pack the judiciary with puppets; buy out the media. If nothing works, send opposition leaders like Lalu Prasad behind bars. There are fresh whispers in Delhi political circles about other very senior opposition leaders being sent to jail on some flimsy and trumped up charges to wreck opposition unity plans. If even that fails to work for the BJP, then they plan to turn the entire country into Gujarat, 2002 by making the proposed and disputed Ram temple at Ayodhya as the pretext.

Well, India has already entered into a most dangerous phase after independence. The Karnataka Governor’s move to swear in Yeddyurappa as Karnataka chief minister is just a symptom of what may follow between now and 2019. A swift move by the united secular and liberal opposition to move to the peoples’ court is the only course left to save democracy. Indian democracy is being murdered. Crying hoarse alone cannot save it. The sooner the opposition goes to the people, the better. Waiting for the 2019 electoral battle is no longer advisable and may well turn out to be too little and too late.

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