Indian Politics: A Tectonic Shift

Neelu Vyas

voting_electionHas Politics in India become a conundrum for analysts and activists together? With BJP heading for almost a complete domination across the country phrases and idioms like autocracy, tyranny and self obsession rule the roost. With Saffron getting a huge mandate from the people, it’s certainly a big change, as people are hoping the Modi government will wield the magic wand to deliver the undeliverable of the past regime. Kudos to the Prime Minister for making the right noises and also skilfully hiking the aspirational ethos be it the foreign policy specially with the SAARC nations or whether it’s the Make In India, Clean India or Skill India campaign. The beginning sounds good and electorate will look forward to what the new government does with a fine toothcomb but what is not being pointed out rather unfortunately is the gradual and almost complete disappearance of the opposition voices.

Media is surely discussing how a Right of centre party like BJP is all set to move from the Nehruvian Socialist Planning model towards the progressive agenda of accelerating growth and job creation, the debates in the newsroom have started revolving around the reviving investment cycle but what about the inherent element of opposition in the new political set up. Recall some incidents of the past and your hackles will rise as to what’s happening to a healthy opposition. Two young Dalit girls being raped and hung from a tree in Badaun, a Muslim young man killed by a right wing organisation agitating against the morphed photographs of Shivaji… Civil society did organise the protests against the perpetrators of the violence but no political voices came from the opposition. Governments no matter how streamlined and efficient they are need an effective opposition to counter and expose the faultlines within and outside Parliament and demand action.

Beginning with the deep morass which seems to have sunk the grand old party Congress…. Cadres still continue to question the organisational skills of the leadership, their panache to connect with the grassroot and a general resentment which has settled within the veins of the party.

Left it seems has completely opted out with their only mission of surviving in the three states of West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala. They respond to issues with a statement which neither has a resonance neither with the common man nor with the media. Regional parties of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar sank like a stone during Lok Sabha elections. Their arrogance makes them look like war lords. The swagger with which SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav post rape and hanging of two young girls said ‘men are men’ drew flak from United Nations does not reflect the behaviour of a responsible opposition.

2014 elections has shown that there is space for opposition but the current lot does not inspire confidence. States like West Bengal where Trinamool Congress holds the reins, is holding its fort as of now and does inspire confidence but how long can it desist the Modi wave is yet to be seen as the state is poised for assembly elections in 2016. Coming to the Dravidian land of Amma, this has already been breached with the lady chief minister J Jaylalitha going to the jail and then getting interim bail with various caveats. How will AIADMK hold itself on such a shaky ground. Similarly Naveen Patnaik looks steadfast at-least for five years with assembly elections just got over along with the general elections but sparks have begun to be felt in Patnaik stronghold also with BJP accusing Naveen Patnaik of protecting the culprits of the Saradha Scam and even demanding inclusion of the BJD supremo in the CBI inquiry net.

Trend is definitely towards the national from the regional but if India has to change, the opposition voices cannot afford to remain in a slumber.