Sunday, October 25, 2009

"The Death of Indian Democracy"

Recently, the results of the assembly elections of three states are announced and as was being speculated, Congress won the elections at all the three places. Where in Arunachal and Haryana, Congress won with its head high after performing well in the last term, in Maharashtra, the victory for Congress didn't come due to their performance at the helm rather it came besides its performance which in no way was up to the mark.
Congress was up there in the government in Maharashtra for the last two consecutive terms amounting to a total of 10 yrs. There was a complete list of failures for the govt which were going against them and included the suicides of farmers, the meagre situation of electricity, the hiking prices, the terrorist attacks, and above all a double anti-incumbency. Despite all these factors and many more others, Congress led alliance managed to get the majority seats in the elections and are again forming a government for the next five years.
Watching the performance of the government the result of the elections must be bewildering but when seeking the answer to this bewilderment comes into the mind one question, whether it is Congress' victory or BJP's loss. Now, this is a very important question to be answered in the context of democracy in India. A government that has failed on all the posts for 10 consecutive years, if manages to be in power again is a serious question in itself to the democracy.
In a democracy, the government is, no doubt, important but the more important aspect is the opposition. Being people's rule, Democracy is not only about government being formed by people's representatives, but it also has to have a machinery that makes the government answerable to the public and this machinery is what we call the Opposition. In the path of constructiveness, criticism is the best guide. This makes opposition as responsible as and some times even more than the government itself.
In Maharashtra, if the 10 yrs of Congress governance have been bad the opposition is even worse. Except for protesting against the north indians, the opposition (paticularly Shiv Sena) have never been seen bothered about the policies of the government. If this was the scene in Shiv Sena, the other pillar of the opposition in Maharashtra, the BJP have been in a phase that is probably the worst in its lifetime. The internal conflicts that came so superficially in the party after the General Elections debacle has started to show its consequences. Losing Rajasthan, getting only 4 seats in Haryana and now failing to grab the golden chance of anti-incumbency in Maharashtra have all exposed the real status of BJP as a national party. Going with this speed, maybe I am exaggerating somewhat, in the next decade we are only going to see BJP as a party restricted to states like Gujarat or Madhya Pradesh only.
The most disheartening thing about results of this election has been the response of BJP to this loss. They have hit a new low for their standards here in being bad losers. Having lost such an opportunity, BJP is still not ready to admit to its failure. An important top national leader of the party Mr. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, after the loss, is found on a national news channel saying that this EVM, the electronic voting machine, has become electronic victory machine. I don't know what he really meant by saying this. If he was raising the question of some technical faults then why not his party has got any benefits anywhere; are these faults predujicially engineered in favour of the Congress, I don't really understand. If this was not what he meant then it must be a question on the Election Commission itself and then it is even worse a situation.
The failure of the opposition to cash in on a golden opportunity like this and then not admitting to its failure is nothing but its failure in imparting its duty to the motto of Democracy. If this remains the scene in the country all the times, it really is nothing but The Death of Indian Democracy.


Anamay said...

Clearly, BJP seems crippled after the defeat in the General Election and has been fatuous in dealing with every assembly election since then. It is a matter of grave concern as monopolization of democracy may have detrimental consequences.

In this context, I think BJP deserves less harsh a treatment, accounting for the fact that Arunachal Pradesh and Haryana has never been a stronghold of BJP and that it has always ended up winning very few seats in these states. In the case of Maharashtra, BJP has mostly relied on its coalition with Shiv Sena. But for a party, torn apart by internal conflicts, accusations among party members and ideological obscurity, even the prior strongholds would be possibly lost. This is surely an alarm for the future of indian politics.

Aashu said...

Well, I agree to your point that BJP deserves less harsh comments in this context for these states are not its stronghold but for a national party that BJP loves to be called as, do you think its a fair explanation? When you look at the situation in the different states presently, it is amongst the top two parties in only Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Rajasthan. Everywhere else BJP is only 3rd or, at most places, 4th party in the state and yet it is called a national party.......isn't it shameful for us?
Now, with some broader sense, we must not emphasise unduly on BJP only. My point was on the failure of opposition that is becoming more and more evident with every election now a days. If it is not corrected, I think that will be the biggest blow on our democracy...

Anamay said...

Our constitution defines a national party as the one which is recognized in four or more states. It is not at all a matter of "loved to be called as" rather it is the system which automatically gives the stature of a national party complying to the definition.

Moreover, the actual situation at national level politics is a war between two coalitions UPA and NDA, and not INC and BJP. The Lok Sabha election results is in no way one sided as NDA has approximately 158 seats, which is by far an adequate representation. So, in a bigger scale (nation as a whole) I don't think the problem of feeble opposition exists. Unfortunately, this problem does exist in the level of state assembly elections where there is a set of states dominated by one party while the other set is a stronghold of some other party.

Aashu said...

The strongness or the weakness of the opposition should never be measured in terms of how many seats a particular party manages to get. It should always be according to the quality not the quantity. The ability of a party to act efficiently as opposition is what should be taken into the account. How can one expect from a party that is busy solving its own internal problems that too on a national stage to raise the issues of national interest in the parliament or elsewhere.
The top leaders are always seen passing their "own" opinions on the govt. policies that the party itself has not much to do with which has its own set of opinions.
An opposition is not one that is always negatively criticising the govt, it should also bring out positives in those policies and sadly, non of the esteem leaders of the BJP are presently seen engaged in that.
The whole existence of such a party which has no any distinguished agenda of national issue is now at question. BJP has always been seen as a party following Hindutva and the Ram Mandir issue has been its top issue from very beginning. Presenlty, they, as a national party, are not looking to be interested even in these issues. They have managed to keep their stronghold in Gujarat and M.P. by virtue of these issues but elsewhere either they have not managed to propagate this idea to the masses or else the masses there are not that much communal.
As the communalism in country is progressively decreasing, BJP is also losing its foothold slowly.
In the interest of India, I want BJP to be a strong party but this presently is not looking like.