Last November a #24Hour #NewsChannel that has been known to be vocal in it’s criticism of the present government was taken off air (#Ban was the actual word used) for a whole day. It was unprecedented having never happened in the #PostIndependence #India. The reason given was that some broadcasts by the channel in question had endangered national security. Amidst widespread condemnation of this ill conceived move, the channel approached the #ApexCourt of the country to get this inexplicable ban lifted. Now at the start of this week the top investigative agency of the country raided the residence of the folks behind the same news channel and quite expectedly large sections of the Indian media expressed their outrage. At what they felt was a blatant attempt to curb the freedom of the press. Now we all know the value that free and fearless media has, especially in a thriving democracy. But truth be told this is something that was waiting to happen. Just that opportunity presented itself to the right wingers only now.
So what has changed since #2014? That was when the #GrandOldParty of India (the #Congress) was voted out in favour of what has been known as a party of hardliners. In these three years since PM Modi came to power though there have been sporadic incidents of violence against the minorities and those from the marginalised sections of society, by and large the focus has been on development. Or at least that has been the image that this government has tried to create. But in the last month equations have changed drastically. That is, after the elections in the largest state of the country, #UttarPradesh. The way in which the BJP was able to decimate all it’s opponents in that election has two huge implications. One, the ruling party is looking quite invincible so much so that a reelection in less than two years time seems almost inevitable. And two, the opposition has been cut down to size. And how!
Contrary to popular belief that an authoritarian government can cause terrible harm to a healthy democracy it is actually the lack of credible opposition in the #Parliament and outside it that is a bigger threat. Look around and you will realise that the #BJP has benefited immensely from the fact that the principle opposition party, that is Congress, seems in such a disarray. Bereft of a leader with the pedigree and/or charisma to take on a popular Prime Minister like #NarendraModi, the Congress has simply been incapable of pinning down the ruling party. Be it on important policy decisions or even on alleged attempts to subvert democracy by targeting individuals, organisation or the media Congress simply does not seem to have the stomach for it. The Communists have become virtually irrelevant with the exception of a state or two. And regional parties like the #SP, JD(U), #TMC and #AAP who have been extremely critical of this government have simply been unable to make much headway nationally.
In the last few weeks we have seen how the ruling regime has stepped on the gas when it comes to
controversial albeit trivial issues like that of #AnimalSlaughter while conveniently side stepping on more critical ones like that of #Unemployment. Law and order in the largest state of the country has taken a backseat. The #RuralEconomy of the country is in tatters, #Farmers all over are finding it impossible to make a living and independent voices of dissent are being throttled. But who will take up cudgels for them is the million rupee question. With the pillars of democracy like the #Judiciary and the media becoming increasingly weakened, there is no better time than now for the opposition to unite. Not just for the sake of democracy but also for the future of this country and it’s citizens. #WeThePeople.