Democracy in India under stress

India is a democracy. Its constitution guarantees
freedom of speech. It also promises secularism.India is also home to a wide diversity of religions, castes and languages. People normally live in peace and harmony despite such diversities.

Apart from diversity in religious beliefs, there is also diversity of political thought. There are pure leftists though they do not have much popular backing. There are two mainstream parties, the Congress with a socialist slant and the BJP considered a rightist party.While both parties claim to be committed to secularism and welfare and uplift of weaker sections, the Congress, leftist and most other parties vigorously try to persuade the general public that BJP is primarily religious and divisive, devoted to promoting Hindutava interests. This advocacy did not, however, carry much conviction with the electorate in the general elections to Parliament in 2014 when BJP won a handsome majority on the strength of popular vote
of all sections of people primarily on a development agenda.

However, it now appears that the vanquished political formations had not lost their damage potential. They apparently thought their future would be even more bleak if the BJP were able to carry through their development agenda. They blocked transaction of business in both Houses of Parliament
holding up legislative business. Legislation passed by the lower House were blocked in the Upper House where the opposition groups had a majority.

What is rather strange is that some leaders of the opposition groups developed a kind of paranoia coupled with deep hatred for the leader of BJP, Narrendra Modi who became the Prime Minister in 2014. Congress’s Rahul Gandhi and Aam Admi Party’s Arwind Kejriwal particularly display this affliction. Such is the depth of their feelings of hatred, that these leaders, while on the one hand see Modi’s hand behind every petty thing that is unpalatable to them, they lend their support to anything that embarrasses Modi even though it may be something as nationally abhorrent as the recent chanting of highly objectionable slogans by JNU students in favour of a condemned terrorist. The students shouted slogans demanding, among other things, destruction and fragmentation of the country, death to those sending the terrorist to the gallows,freedom not only for Kashmir but also some other states of India threatening war till these objectives were achieved. But when police took
action, Rahul Gandhi called it crushing of the students and freedom of speech and joined the leftist leaders in visiting JNU to express sympathy and solidarity with the students. The slogans betray foreign sponsorship
of thought and language and caused outrage to the patriotic sentiment in the Capital and other parts of the country so much so that when the arrested student was taken to court for a hearing, even the hard-boiled lawyers forgot the ethics of their profession for a while and assaulted the student, who was in the custody and
protection of the police, to give vent to their disgust.
It is impossible to concede that the slogans above-mentioned come under the ambit of debate and dissent.Raising them was sheer abuse of the Country’s liberal constitution and tantamount to demanding the death of the constitution.
Modi Government has steadfastly avoided any verbal duel with the opposition. It is to be hoped now that the political parties will leave the matter to be sorted out by the police and the judiciary to avoid further turmoil in the country.

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