Tuesday, June 19, 2018
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Scripting new chapter of democracy

By K.N. Pandita

A period of seven decades is small as well as big for Indian democracy; small because training a populace, one-half of which at least, is illiterate, ignorant and tradition ridden, in democratic politics is peanuts. It is big because the task of bringing political awareness among the people has become far easier and quicker in contemporary times, thanks to miracles of science and technology that have given new name to the parameters of governance.

The first palpable change in the history of Indian democracy shaped with the result of parliamentary elections of 2014. Bharatiya Janata Party, projected by Congress as the right wing party (in negative sense) opposed to its ideology, assumed the reins of governance on the basis of majority of its party members in the Lower House of the Parliament.

Lacking political maturity and handicapped by the absence of truly nationalist leadership, Congress failed to behave as responsible opposition in the Parliament especially in the Rajya Sabha where it still maintained majority status. Masses of people in the country did not like churlish behavior and immature statements made in election rallies by the leaders of this premier mainstream political party of historical repute. No sensible voice was raised within the senior echelons of the Congress leadership against a behavior that had the potential of causing damage to the party.

Carried away by anger and despondency, Congress failed to calculate the impact of Modi’s policy of reaching the grassroots of Indian society and opening the Indian mind to new horizon of national resurgence. Three debilities made Congress imbecile, and these are (a) trivializing national politics and resorting to personal vendetta, (b) failing to absorb the shock of resurgence of Indian civilizational distinctiveness, which it had subtly suppressed over the decades, and (c) inevitable dissembling of its centrality.
We should not forget that Congress has great and glorious history. However, sadly the second and third generation of Congress leadership totally lacks patriotism, vision and political morality. The defeat of Congress at polls in 2014 and now in assembly elections in the crucial states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttaakhand is a clear message to it from the masses of Indian people that it has to dismantle its house made of deadwood. We feel sorry that a party with such a history and record could not produce leadership that would have the political acumen of steering the ship through political storm and tribulation. This is the peril of politics of iconization and imprisoned mentality.

The Congress party of today has distanced from fundamentals of conducting party business along the dynamics of astute statesmanship. It refuses to understand that the masses of people in our country reject dynastic rule of Ghandi-Nehruites, Yadavites and Abdullahites. The last moment alliance of Congress with Samajwadi party in recent election in UP was nothing but a crude demonstration of penchant for dynastic rule. People understood and rejected it.

Congress is niggardly in not allowing space to the youth unwilling to vouch for dynastic allegiance before being allowed entry into the party precincts and carry forward its ideology to the future generations of Indians. This has spelt disaster for the party. Unless there is drastic change in this policy, more disaster will be waiting in the wings. It should understand that its camaraderie with Maoist Left has brought it more defamation than support. Institutions like JNU are crumbling brick by brick in the face of rising crescendo of Indian nationalist forces among the youth. Rejection of Congress by the Indian voters is not necessarily its outright defeat. That is not in the culture of democratic dispensation. At least Punjab has shown that Congress has not altogether lost vitality for revival. Amrinder Singh’s comeback with nominal support from the High Command is a lesson for the Young Turks that times have rendered the High Command nothing more than paper tiger. Congress ideologue should interpret this warning in right earnest. The message to the party is to give right place to initiatives and innovations. It bids the leadership to understand that power rests with people and not in the dynastic backyard. Congress activists have to decide afresh where lays the epicenter of power — with the people or in the backyard of the party icon.

There are also lessons for BJP. The landslide victory in UP and Uttarakhand must make the party more introspective than festive, given the volume of developmental task lying in heaps before it and the lavish commitments made during election campaign. BJP must understand that UP with sizeable percentage of Muslim and SC/ST population has massively voted for BJP. It has to make note of the fact that all of its adversarial parties in election fray tried to whip up communal sensitivity among the Muslims of UP. Yet their majority vote went to BJP notwithstanding the fact that BJP had not fielded a single Muslim candidate.

The poll results also carry a lesson for the Muslim community of UP and for all Muslims as well. The massive Muslim vote to BJP in UP is a clear indication that the Muslim community no more accepts the false propaganda that it is not safe with any party other than Congress. This is their first clear message that their interests lie in holding on to a nationalist party which thinks and acts outside the prison house of communal constraints. Muslims do not and should not want to remain spoon-fed kids but be in the forefront of national politics.

If Congress and the Left still continue to malign BJP as Hindu rightists, they will be doing great disservice to the interests of Indian Muslims. Both of them have lost the Muslim constituency not because of BJPs machinations but because the Muslims have evaluated them in terms of honest service to national interests and national development. This is a remarkable achievement of BJP think tank.
It will go to the credit of BJP to purge the party of cheap and rivalry-ridden politics, stop absurd upbraiding of political opponents for mundane issues. It has tremendous responsibilities of nation building. It has to garner support of all sections of people, particularly the opposition, not through intimidation, not through distribution of enticing favours but through undertaking massive task of all round development of Indian nation.
The nation has to understand that Modi is changing the discourse of our present status and future vision. After a long interregnum our country has got a government that is fighting corruption with its back to the wall. Entrenched vested interest is losing its grip. Revolutionary measure of demonetarization needs to be evaluated in terms of the agenda of our hostile neighbour to destabilize our economy. The skill with which surgical strike against fake currency has been conducted has broken the backbone of Theo-fascists in Kashmir and their external mentors.

In final analysis, the right course for the badly bruised and mauled Congress is to close the chapter of denigrating civilizational contours of this country and converting malice against national mainstream into understanding and appreciating the roots of this ancient nation’s spiritual life. It has say good bye to culture of political vendetta against the ruling party and get engaged in nation building task. There is deadwood in the Congress; there are sycophants and there are cronies ready to compromise national interests. Congress must cast away its borrowed skin. Above all, it must stop telling lies and spreading canards. This ignoble behavior has brought it nothing but disaster. A hypocrite is defined as a person who begins to believe in his own lies.

(The writer is the former Director of the Centre of Central Asian Studies, Kashmir University.Feedback- [email protected])

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