India – Reflection on Indian Politics
The pertinent questions and facts regarding candidates profile, policy, party ideology and most relevantly performance or the lack thereof matter in election.
Congress Party originally founded in pre-independence colonial era by Allan Octavian Hume, one of the founders and a civil service member of British Raj unlike Nehru family narrative and actions dubbing the party was established by them attesting entitlement to power in succession over five generations that continues until today defy fundamentals of democracy.
India’s first Prime Minister Late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru family members are trend setters in transforming Indian democracy into a dynasty slighting eligibility criteria or meritocracy to assume power.
The practice prevalent nationwide among national and regional political parties defeat the idea and purpose of democracy in legitimizing dynasty as the norm while asserting the political system to be democratic with pride.
The once national political party coined as Grand Old Party (GOP) initiated monopoly during former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s tenure granting superfluous free hand to her sons especially the youngest Sanjay Gandhi visibly involved in controversial policy implementations and one of them being forceful sterilization translated in Hindi as Nasbandhi to contain population explosion per operatives justifying the radical move at that time.
The egregious operation resulted in severe voter backlash for Congress under then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Notwithstanding the dark moments in Indian political history linked with late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s tenure was emergency rule imposed on the nation with imprisonment of political opposition leaders and curfew against citizens under the pretext of what is now widely referred to and exercised as national security then using the acronym MISA i.e. maintenance of internal security act to curb dissent.
The late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s glory achieved in the victory over Pakistan generating the birth of Bangladesh in 1971 was compromised and practically lost in her subsequent terms in office due to misguided and disoriented economic and political undertakings especially the latter costing her life and legacy.
Mrs. Indira Gandhi exhibited vulnerability to communal sentiments in the northern state Punjab fomenting subdued militancy and religious fervor that existed in the state at that particular period largely promoted by foreign power viz. United Kingdom facilitating London based insurgents’ sedition plans against India for a separate state called Khalistan.
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi misled by U.K. government’s then foreign office advice, authorized the use of armed forces supposedly meant to mitigate growing problem within Punjab with little or no preparedness for aftermath of such extreme indulgence by the Central authority.
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi headed government’s limited yet hostile entry branded as Blue Star Operation into the most sacred place of worship for Sikh community, the Golden Temple in Amritsar was indeed the last straw provoking outrage and dismay among Sikhs in India and elsewhere. The episode shocked the entire nation as well.
What ensued later was the assassination of the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in October 1984 by disillusioned Sikh security guards over Central authorities’ flawed decision perceived antagonistic considering sacrilege of their religious shrine.
Politics consumed with revenge in the absence of introspection and realization of the cause reacted violently by instigating ethnic cleansing of Sikhs under then leadership of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi sworn to power predominantly as the nation’s apology to Mrs. Indira Gandhi and her family.
The gesture allowing Rajiv Gandhi to accede throne creating the impression of atonement to the fatal assault on his mother and India’s Prime Minister, favored Congress party enabling the next of kins in that family to usurp to power regardless of such concessions and bias undermining democracy.
Meanwhile, the actual reason and effects of wanton aggression primarily behind the unfortunate and memorable political event of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s demise never recognized until today.
Likewise, yet another member of Indira Gandhi’s family, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi not having learned from his mother’s tragedy arising from miscalculated political strategy got involved in Sri Lanka’s north and east conflict against ethnic minority the Tamil Eelam population developing in assassination of the Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s short lived political term was marred with anti-Sikh riots and massacre of innocent Sikh residents in the capital New Delhi and other northern states viz. Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
The other two explosive scandals were BOFORS on weapons contract and organizing Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson”s safe exit in 1984 in the wake of world’s largest industrial and environment calamity producing at least 30,000 casualties and exposing more than 500,000 people in Bhopal city and neighboring territories to toxic gas release with adverse effects lasting till this date.
Nonetheless, India’s sympathy overture to Indira Gandhi’s family once again following the incident broadened the prospects for Sonia Gandhi, the deceased Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s spouse to inherit power.
Sonia Gandhi who was not an Indian citizen by choice only became one in the year 2006 and until then headed India’s national political party Congress and ran the first United Progressive Alliance (UPA 1) government as a foreign citizen with many corruption dealings underway and one among them was allegations on leaking Indian government tenders to Italian companies paving the way for competitive edge and undue advantage over Indian counterparts that caused considerable frustration and uneasiness among domestic partners in India.
Sonia Gandhi also protected the accused and indicted Ottavio Quattrocchi, the Italian businessman known as the broker and deal maker in the infamous BOFORS arms deal until the latter’s passing away rendering then CBI’s efforts futile in holding Quattrocchi accountable.
Indian electorate ignoring Sonia Gandhi’s UPA 1 i.e. preceding term scandalous activities smothered in corruption and crony corporatism reelected Sonia Gandhi led UPA 2 government.
In the second term, the emboldened UPA 2 misused the electoral mandate normalizing corruption that snowballed in the succeeding five years prompting Sonia Gandhi and key cabinet members like former Finance Minister turned Home Minister P. Chidambaram and law minister Kapil Sibal to actively quell anti-corruption rally in 2011 for they shared the fear of effective laws that were demanded in the course would directly impact them given their corruption insignia.
Sonia Gandhi authorized arrests dispersing peaceful assembly of people protesting against nuclear power plant in kudankulam, Tamilnadu along with ex- Chief Minister Jayalalitha deploying brute force and violent tactics ending the non-violent public gathering on the grave issue bearing in mind Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster.
Sonia Gandhi UPA 2 government ouster was inevitable in the face of numerous corruption scandals imploding leaving the electorate with no option but to choose the alternative viz. the RSS guided BJP party, the other national political party positioning as clean government with pledges to crack down corruption, black money hoarding and lead India towards economic prosperity citing the western state Gujarat model headed by then BJP Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Gujarat’s chief minister Narendra Modi from 2001-2014 was by no means above the fray on corruption and violence during his longest term in office in the western state. Chief Minister Narendra Modi received kickbacks and bonuses from various government contracts with private sector and systematically sold the western State Gujarat’s land and resources for corporate ventures subjugating local interests and ordinary citizens’ rights at his discretion.
Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s close ties and special attention towards the state’s industrialists Gautam Adhani and Ambani family – the father Dhirubhai Ambani and sons Mukesh and Anil Ambani besides other business big names within and outside India were fairly substantial in adherence to opposition Congress party set precedence on corporate run politics.
Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s political career is tainted forever in the abhorrent Godhra violence or pogrom in 2002 that witnessed innocent deaths of Muslims and Hindus with politics fueled communal eruption.
Accordingly, the Hindutva idealogue RSS launched Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as BJP candidate for Prime Minister even though Indian media and political cadre repeatedly emphasize on Indian political system being Parliamentary not Presidential forgetting the requirement for people represented house on either in democratic governance.
Narendra Modi imitating United States Presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008 projected as Messiah, the chosen one rather than a political member seeking election to the highest office in the heavily contested race took political contest to new level, the euphemism on cult oriented campaign evolved into fanaticism upon assuming power.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi wasted no time in executing RSS Hindutva doctrine made possible through his cherry picked Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath of the northern state, Uttar Pradesh.
The U.P. Chief Minister Adityanath under the guise of Holy cow reverence unleashed mob lynching targeting minorities, marginalized and disenfranchised demography viz. Dalits, muslims and other secular sect in society.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi definition of nationalism lacking in essence and more falling in line with jingoism popularized among his followers in the cult identified as vigilantes in protecting anything and everything encompassed in RSS devised Hindutva paradoxical to Hinduism emanated Bodhisattva subvert religious sacredness and sanctity.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic policy embarked on sab ka saath sab ka vikas meaning inclusive and pervasive economic development fell acutely short on delivery.
The vikas or progress desperately needed among the poor, middle class, educated unemployed youth representing significant majority and labor force in general as well as distressed farming community not barring the defense personnel pleading for one pension scheme across the board to both national political parties alternating power are tone deaf to national plight.
Any incremental measures in streamlining bankruptcy rules to minimize corporate loan defaulters burdening the banking and financial sector with bad loans and few other government programs such as rural electrification and distribution of gas cylinders under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership is noteworthy.
However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization by far outweighs any economic benefit given the magnitude of monetary losses and livelihood in the small, medium and micro industry being one aspect and the other associated with ordinary folks committing suicide from unbearable economic setback devoid of any government remedy.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s drive on goods and services tax that he once opposed when perched on the other side of the fence combined with cashless economy and bank accounts by every citizen tagged to compliance on minimum account balance attracting bank fees and charges upon inability or failure to do so drained financial means and sources for common citizens in the economy.
There are several shortcomings and misadventures in PM Narendra Modi’s five years term that are barely acknowledged by the Chief Executive renewing hope to win electorate trust that has been betrayed by both political parties BJP and Congress as well as their regional coalition.
The forthcoming article will feature striking similarities between India’s two national political parties Congress and RSS mentored BJP – both interestingly belonging to colonial past extending rule at present with ambitions to prolong into the future.
Author & Presenter PadminiArhant.com