Saturday, February 16, 2019
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Carrying battle to the broad masses

K.N. Pandita

In a democracy, masses of people decide who they want to rule the country. Equally important is showing respect to the verdict of the people once it is announced.
General election of 2014 that threw up BJP as a majority party with unprecedented number of parliamentary seats in its kitty is of special historical importance for our country. It marked a major ideological shift in Indian politics.
A close observer of Indian political scenario for decades together had no difficulty in anticipating the fallout of ideological clash that had been thrown up by the results of that election.

All nationalistic and sensible persons deeply concerned with the progress of the country expected that seventy years of democratic experience should be good enough to teach our political leadership and their respective parties to behave as responsible agents supporting and promoting our democratic institutions built with great effort and sagacity.

Unfortunately, people were disappointed. Not only suave parliamentary behavior was thrown to winds even the quality of parliamentary debates fell to their lowest. What was greatly distressing was that instead of focusing on national policies and planning, overall development and progress, leaders, elected or not, reduced their ideological reach to vendetta and one-up game. In the process, all that they thought important was to pull out the skeletons from one another’s cupboard. Sad to say the parliament was converted into a loose talking shop and the vision of India in years to come was altogether lost.
In the plenary session of the Congress in New Delhi, Congress President minimally extracted himself from major areas of attention and devoted most of his vitriolic in picking holes in the pocket of BJP. Throughout his speech, there was little to show that his assertions emanated from present and futuristic needs of the country and how his party would plan to meet these. His party’s strategy for next half a century for the development and progress would have weighed heavier than all the vitriolic which he exuded in the plenary session.

Congress party is closely linked to the history of freedom movement. But the people of India in 2018 and particularly the Indian youth are rightly interested in today and tomorrow and not yesterday. An opposition party makes no point in just claiming that such and such a programme and project did not succeed. What is important is to analyze how far that project or that programme would contribute to the progress of the people of this country and how to make it a success.
In the same vein, the opposition needs to evaluate the foreign policy of the Government in broader spectrum of international relations. The opposition’s duty and responsibility is to pinpoint the faults and flaws in the foreign policy of the Government but it is also its moral duty to appreciate whatever is real achievement and contribution to the prestige of the country.

Ours is a multi-linguist, multi-ethnic and multi-religious country. We have many serious problems to address. These problems are not for only one or the other political party whether in or out of power. Whosoever is in the seat of power, these problems are there and have to be tackled. Naxalite insurgency, Kashmir insurgency and terrorism and other issues of law and order in the country have been there and the governments of the day have been handling these according to their ability and scope. Hurling accusations of one or the other nature on the adversary is not the way of running the nation.
No party in power can claim to be perfect in running the administration of the country. In a big country like India the question of administering flawlessly and with perfection is a tall claim. What is important is to note in what way the ruling party is trying to handle these ticklish problems.

Congress projects BJP a rightist Hindu party. India is a Hindu majority country. It was this Hindu majority which threw up the Congress party as the national party to undertake freedom movement. Therefore, by that logic BJP can rightly feel proud to be a pro-Hindu party. One important factor that one could pinpoint about the speech of Congress President at the plenary is that he forgets altogether that BJP has won the majority vote of the people of India. By denigrating BJP as a rightist Hindu party, Congress shows that it has least conviction in majority vote.

BJP is no less a culprit of trivializing the standards and norms of astute democratic approach to national problems and political dispensation. The Prime Minister and other leaders of BJP while addressing public rallies can and should avoid turning ire on Congress or other dissenting groups. It does him no good to stoop low to speak again and again of corruption that revolves round some Congress high ups. His government has initiated a probe and legitimate action into cases of corruption and the agencies will go ahead with the task allotted to them. The more he brings in Congress in his address to public rallies, the more fading of impact on the minds of people happens. A serious government dedicated to the cause of the nation speaks less and works more. Now that the Congress President has given vent to whatever was in his mind, certainly more of anger than of reason, the BJP should not get sucked up into the same morass.

In final analysis, the Indian nation very much desires that our political parties desist from turning the parliament into a fish market by hurling abuses and insinuations on each other and thus making a mockery of themselves in the eyes of the people and the world at large. We are a big nation. We are resourceful. A huge future awaits us. Therefore we must rise to the occasion, think big and behave big. Mainstream political parties need to think and act in the interests of the national mainstream and they should also learn how to forge understanding on national issues rather than allow themselves to be led astray by personal vendetta or lust for power. If 2014 was a lesson for Congress, the recent by-election in UP and Bihar should be an eye opener for BJP. The simple lesson from these two events is that the people of India know what is good for them and they cannot be hoodwinked by the claptrap of pseudo-politicians

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

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