Wisdom of the voter

first_imgThose who were planning to inscribe an epitaph on the government of Modi were shocked; the election results were beyond their comprehension. In spite of all his striking failures, how did people massively vote for the Modi government again? In their search for an answer, they began looking back from the euphoric times of 2014. ‘The face of Ganga will be changed,’ Modi waved his magic wand in Varanasi. ‘Abracadabra! There will be 2 crore jobs a year, Rs 15 lakhs in every citizen’s account, and relief from agrarian distress; security for women, bullet trains, and many more. There will be no poverty; there will be only Ramarajya,’ mesmerised Modi and BJP, supported by the blitz of media. Lo! They reaped a landslide victory in 2014. Also Read – A staunch allyConfidence personified, his 56-inch chest swelling further, flamboyant Modi brought with him new hope for the country – a stable government that would deliver; a new horizon of development and welfare, all in contrast to the policy paralysis and corruption during the allegedly remote-controlled UPA regime of docile and intellectual Dr. Manmohan Singh. Then, the ‘fakir’ paying reverence to Parliament at its steps to confirm his faith in democratic traditions; his assurance of ‘Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikas’ as a humble ‘chaiwaala’; then his ‘Na mai khaaunga, na kisko khane dunga’ slogan to clean up the country of corruption; his ‘mann ki baat’ to convince people of his concern for them, all added up for people to fall in love with him. They began treating him as the Messiah who came to change their lives and the future of this country. Also Read – Cuban pathosFive years on, when the election process began again, one gentleman contemplatively said, ‘Modi should get another chance.’ ‘Why?’ asked his friend. ‘Our country is large; the population is too much; problems are too many. And five years is too short a time to change things.’ ‘Yes, it is a reasoned argument. He should be given another chance,’ agreed the other, but added, ‘Provided, the intentions are good; he believes in equality for everyone; is truthful; honestly admits his mistakes and failures as a real democrat; and further, if all his well-intentioned plans have only reached the half-way mark due to unforeseen hurdles; provided that the opposition provides a more credible face as an alternative.’ The first man looked askance. He began reading the reality – the Modi-Shah combine had been changing their script as time passed; perhaps it is a passé in politics. Firstly, they have led India in reverse gear, from secularism to the dark days of intolerance, prompting the Time Magazine to call him, ‘India’s divider-in-chief’. Communalism was their agenda number one. In the post-Godhra Bilkis Bano case of 2002 of Gujarat, where, in broad daylight, she was gang-raped and 14 of her family were killed by bigots, it was only after the Supreme Court’s order that action was taken against the police officers who had destroyed the evidence and were being protected all these years. In the Sohrabuddin and many other encounter cases, the IPS officer, Vanzara, wrote from jail that Amit Shah had betrayed him, and that he and his team had only acted as per the directions of the government. Since 2014, practically all cases – be it the Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Mecca Masjid, or Samjhauta Express incident, in which accused were from Hindutva-outfits, and Muslims were victims, have ended in acquittal. The special prosecutor Rohini Salian’s public claim that she was being pressured to go easy in the Malegaon terror case, in which Pragya is an accused, only raise doubts about the role of the ruling dispensation. In UP and other BJP-ruled states, there have been incidents of lynching of Muslims and Dalits by cow-vigilantes. UP alone accounts for over 1900 extra-judicial killings of Muslims in police encounters in one year. And post-Pulwama, Kashmiri students and traders were subjected to harassment and hardships, as if everyone were a terrorist. Acting deaf and mute, Modi-Amit Shah-combine only confirms their tacit support. Further, when Godse is treated as a hero by their MP-candidate, Pragya, they do not expel her from their party, showing how they agree with her. Superstition, legends, and myths superseded rationality. In the National Science Congress, one VC says, ‘Kauravas were test tube babies.’ Modi, who was present, nods his head in agreement. Such is Modi’s truthfulness that he claims to have used a digital camera and email when they were not in common use. Such is the wisdom that he boasts of having overruled experts during the Balakot airstrike saying that clouds would prevent enemy radars from detecting our aircraft. It is only an open admission that he bulldozes experts, like what he did with RBI in the matter of demonetisation, and caused immense harm to people in terms of hardships and loss of jobs and businesses. Now, it is alleged, BJP itself has used crores of rupees brought in through hawala to raise paid-crowds for Modi’s election rallies, and for bribing the voters, as revealed in a sting operation. Not only RBI but every institution has also been bridled and devoured. Already, bureaucracy has been subdued. Suppressing the real fraud, CAG trivialises the Rafale matter. Helpless CBI, IT, ED, CVC, etc., simply follow his diktats. And, concerned with the way SC is being treated for the last three-four years, Justice Arun Mishra said, ‘this institution is going to die.’ Media is also made to dance to his tune. It is further suspected that exit polls were stage-managed to help the Satta-market. Modi has made a mockery of our democracy without any debates in Parliament; opposition was brow-beaten with raids by central agencies; dissent was suppressed by dubbing them as anti-national and through stringent law of criminal conspiracy, as in the case of the arrest of the five intellectuals; plans were afoot even to snoop into every computer to deprive the privacy of citizens. Now, democracy has given place to neo-colonialism, which is the meeting point of communalism and capitalism. It is alleged that common people are only fooled with fudged figures of our economy. Economy has slowed down. Public debt went up by 30 lakh crores. Foreign direct investments have come down, showing their lack of confidence. Even the US has ejected India from the GSP. No new jobs were created, making experts question the veracity of the GDP growth figure of 7. Surveys confirm that 1 per cent people hold 58 per cent of the total wealth of the country, while 60 per cent of people reel under poverty. Even Oxfam International’s ‘Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index’ ranks India at a pathetic 147th among 157 countries. Yet, people believe that Modi is a man of the masses. They have no concern for the environment either. ‘I lost Ganga,’ were the last words of GD Agarwal before he died after 112 days of fasting. We are a pathetic 5.75 per cent in air-quality; 82 per cent of rural households yet to get tap-water, and millions sustaining on contaminated groundwater; Swachh Bharat Scheme hardly made an impact, to claim any achievement in the Sustainable Development Goals. India, thus, stands at a shameful 177 out of 180 countries in the Global Environment Performance Index of 2018. Mafias have a field day. Then, eliminating corruption was only rhetoric. Yeddyurappa’s diary indicating payment of Rs 1700 crores to BJP leaders, protecting the big-wigs in business – Mukesh Ambani in the 50,000 crore fraud in KG gas basin, etc., have not convinced the country about their drive to curb corruption. British newspaper ‘The Guardian’ even writes ‘Narendra Modi fails to deliver.’ People are perplexed and are overwhelmed by negative emotions, making India one of the unhappiest countries in the world, ranking 140 out of 156. With all this track record of five years, his failures, and all the hardships faced, how did people still vote for Modi en masse? The answer is rather clear. People still believe that Modi’s intentions are good. The opposition has not succeeded in proving it otherwise. Through the Balakot strike, etc., patriotism was invoked; he proved himself as a leader who is decisive. On the other hand, opposition leaders clamouring for change are not people with clean hands, nor there is unity among them. Further, they have proved themselves to be no match to the duo of Modi-Shah in election and media management. Post-elections, no one would know what their agenda would be. More important than everything else is that the opposition-combine has failed to project a single face which is credible enough to infuse confidence in the entire country so as to swing in his favour and vote against Modi. Thus, people are apprehensive that their proposal could end up like a patchwork quilt, like the Janata Party government of the past. In this scenario, people have chosen Modi again, giving him another chance, with the fond hope that he would correct his mistakes and work on all his unkept promises. The Indian voter is wise. Hail our democracy! (Dr. N Dilip Kumar is a retired IPS officer and a former member of Public Grievances Commission, Delhi. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

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