Very few people could’ve imagined that a single man from Gujarat would help in leading to an inevitable political monopoly of the right wing after the sweeping win in the 2014 national elections. While a lot of people might feel that this sudden rise of the right wing is a kneejerk reaction to the corrupt and mismanaged rule of the UPA I and UPA II, it is not so. Proof of the same is how the Bharatiya Janata Party came back to power after over a decade in India’s most populous state – Uttar Pradesh, in 2017 after a sweeping win in the Assam Legislative Assembly Elections for the first time in 2016. BJP also got its highest ever vote share of 10.7% in the 2016 West Bengal Legislative Assembly Elections. While it is a completely different discussion altogether so as to how the concept of Hindu nationalism or Hindutva was embraced by the masses post 2014, what needs to be analysed is how within barely 3 years from the 2014 general elections, the political capital of the country, Delhi, is slowly being engulfed by the right wing alone.
Anyone who looks over the facts and figures in detail will understand that a saffron tsunami has swept the left wing and the liberals into obscurity in India. At this very moment, there are 31 Legislative Assemblies in India out of which 18 of these assemblies are led either by the Bharatiya Janata Party or by a coalition party of the same. The right-wing juggernaut just doesn’t seem to stop! What should worry people of this country is how both the posts of the President and the Vice President are now occupied by people who have been affiliated to the BJP as well as RSS – a right wing organization, in their political careers. Ram Nath Kovind, the President of India, has been a Rajya Sabha member for the BJP for 12 years from 1994 to 2006. He has also been the President of the BJP Dalit Morcha between 1998 and 2002. Venkaiah Naidu, the Vice President of India, served as the President of the BJP from 2002 to 2004 besides having served in roles of Cabinet Minister, Member of Rajya Sabha and Member of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly representing the BJP through the years. It is thus reasonable to say that even if they are not official members of the BJP at this point of time, they share the same ideology, being associated with the organization in the highest of capacities for decades.
From merely 2 seats in the Lok Sabha in 1984, BJP has climbed to 284 seats in the Lok Sabha in 2014, a house where there is no opposition. The same is further strengthened by the fact that both the Presidential as well as Vice Presidential Elections in 2017 almost invisibilised the non-BJP candidate. Even before the 2017 Presidential Elections began, the NDA alliance had around 48.1% votes in the Electoral College and adding the votes of their non-alliance allies, it took their vote share to 60.3%. In such circumstances, practically, Meira Kumar hardly had any odds of a win from day one. The same can be said about the vice presidential election as a similar tale was repeated when Venkaiah Naidu won the elections with close to two-thirds of the votes of the Electoral College. Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the opposition candidate, never stood a chance in reality with Naidu having such high margin of votes. Testimony to this is the fact that Naidu’s margin of victory was the biggest for any candidate in the past twenty years.
Even the Supreme Court of India probably for the first time in its history has a person as its Chief Justice who would be considered to have had a Hindu nationalist stand in some cases. It was in 2002 when Dipak Misra banned the movie Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, in his capacity as a Justice of the Jabalpur High Court, because the movie had a scene that included the national anthem. The Supreme Court overturned his judgement in 2004 but again in 2016 the around national anthems being played in movies got momentum. Misra was serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court of India at that time and he decided to go one step ahead and ban the inclusion of the national anthem in movies and made it compulsory for all cinema halls to play national anthem before every movie screening. His decision of covertly imposing his idea of nationalism on movie-goers is established through the below statement included in the order –
‘Prior to the National Anthem is played or sung in the cinema hall on the screen, the entry and exit doors shall remain closed so that no one can create any kind of disturbance which will amount to disrespect to the National Anthem. After the National Anthem is played or sung, the doors can be opened.’
The same order by Justice Misra has been overturned by Justice Chandrachud of the Supreme Court of India recently wherein he remarked that a person does not need to stand when the National Anthem is played in a cinema hall to prove his patriotism.
Even the Attorney General of India is a person who has previously defended Lal Krishna Advani, a veteran BJP leader and former Deputy Prime Minister of India, in the infamous Babri Masjid demolition case. The Judiciary is an organ that has always been looked upto by the people of India, even in the darkest of times. When even this organ is occupied largely by people who share the same ideology as the Government, it is the people of India who lose their trust that they have placed in the Judiciary.
What needs to be questioned is not the sheer domination that the BJP juggernaut demonstrates, but its effect on the checks and balances mechanism in a democratic state. The framers of the Indian Constitution wanted the executive, legislature and the judiciary to keep a check each other’s powers. When all three organs of the State are functioning with a single ideology, what needs to be questioned is the effectiveness of the system and its structure. It needs to be noted by the masses that when there exists a government that derives its powers from the Constitution and the same is unquestioned and unchecked, it does not take long for democracy to transform into constitutional dictatorship.
Image Credits : Quartz
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