Policy + Law
‘THE OXYMORONIC INDIAN DEMOCRACY’
The last few months have been very eventful in Indian politics. Death of former TN CM, J. Jayalalitha and the events that followed; BJP’s landsliding victory UP state election; Adithyanath’s appointment as CM; unexpected poll pacts in Goa and Manipur; AAP’s underperformance in Punjab and Goa; local body elections in Maharashtra are a few to mention.
Subsequently, all media houses, newspaper columns, articles, social networking sites suggested general discontent among people in the various developments that took place after these events. For instance, when BJP won a massive victory, there were several debates on the ‘bleak future of UP’, and the secular credentials of the new Government. Yogi Adityanath’s anointment was also met with such discussions. Similarly, the rise of Sasikala within AIADMK and appointment of her man E. Palanisamy as the CM after a lot of political drama was also questioned. Amid several discussion and debates, the alleged discontent was attributed to several factors like polarizing speeches, money power, man power, manipulative EVMs, caste equations etc. But there is one factor which is common to all these events: ‘The people’.
The role of people was never discussed in any TV shows, articles and social media posts. The alleged discontent of the people would not have arisen except with their consent.
Indian Constitution provides for a parliamentary democracy and the final word in deciding what happens in politics is with the people themselves. While BJP’s massive victory in UP startled people from other parts of the country, little sense have prevailed on them that it’s the electorate’s mandate. People have voted for the party en masse to make that possible. Yogi Adityanath’s anointment has also not been questioned by the people of UP. Even the party’s state chief and his deputy have only been given the 2ndand 3rd place in the Government and they have happily taken it though Adityanath did not contest the election. This clearly shows that Adityanath’s image and charisma helped the party and its legislators convert their presence into votes.
I understand his credentials as ‘secular, liberal and forward thinking’ politician. But the credential is not only of him but of the people who have accepted him as their leader. It is this man who had earlier said ‘The two cultures (Hinduism and Islam) cannot co-exist. It will cause friction.’ He had also infamously declared that ‘We (Himself and other Hindu fundamentalists) are preparing for a religious war’ and that ‘If they (Muslim) kidnap one Hindu girl, we will kidnap 100 Muslim girls.’ As a lawyer, my mind skims through the various penal provisions under which a common man speaking these things would have been found guilty of and punished. But this man is scot free. Not just because he is a party person, he has people behind him. It is this man who was elected to Lok Sabha from Gorakhpur constituency at a very young age of 26 and for 4 successive terms since then. What of his attitude is not attributable to the majority people who sent him as their representative to the Parliament for more than 2 decades?
Take the example of Sasikala in Tamil Nadu. People cheered when she was convicted and sent to jail. But they failed to recognize that she was only a product of Ms. J. Jayalalitha’s corrupt and arrogant ways. Sasikala was convicted only for harbouring and helping Jayalalitha. Had the latter not been found guilty of amassing public funds, the former would have escaped any punishment.
But look at the irony, there are three different political parties (factions) contesting the by-poll at R.K. Nagar in the name of Jayalalitha (or Amma as she is popularly called). Had she been alive, she would have anyways been disqualified as an MLA from R.K. Nagar following her conviction. Should then all these outfits contest elections in her name after her disqualification for amassing people’s money? Particularly OPS claims people’s support against Sasikala in the name of Jayalalitha despite the fact that Sasikala was convicted only for helping Jayalalitha commit the offence. But the fact is, all these parties need her name because people are still fond of her. No number of rationalists can make them understand that it is their own hard earned money that she diverted for her own purpose by misusing her public office. They voted her to power, she was found guilty of amassing their money but they would still vote for a candidate who identifies himself/herself as her loyalist. People who abuse Sasikala might as well vote for her man. After all, political parties consider the voters only as commodities that can be bought with money. Little can one wonder if her man wins the election amid discontent among the public.
After Ms. Jayalalitha’s death several people formed queues in front of her niece, Deepa’s house asking her to enter politics. This was because she looked and spoke like her aunt whom they were fond of. From the next day, she started dressing up like her late aunt. The crowd in front of her house kept swelling everyday and sometimes instigated some violence as she kept silent on making a political decision. She then formed a party in the name of her aunt by affixing her own name. What caliber can then be made of those people who waited for her decision by standing in long queues in front of her house? They thought looking like her aunt was sufficient to lead the State. Who created a leader out of Deepa when she was not even known to the outer world till the death of Ms. Jayalalitha? ‘The people’.
In Goa and Manipur, BJP had the number counts for forming government with the help of other outfits, though BJP was not the single largest party. People’s representatives come together and form the Government which is legally permissible. So what then should they complain of? They should complain of only themselves.
As long as people are casteist, communal, backward thinking, feudal minded, corrupt and ignorant, nobody can blame the politicians for the political turmoil we face today. US President Roosevelt once rightly said ‘Democracy cannot succeed unless people who exercise their choice or prepared to choose wisely.’ Going by his words, Indian democracy cannot succeed for several more generations to come.