Lets protect democracy, even in the times of collision - April 05, 2019

In the election season of 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is consistent on relating opposition parties’ politics to that of Pakistan’s interest. He lamented on more than one occasions that opposition leaders are trying to become heroes in Pakistan, implying that questioning his performance as leader of the country amounts to pleasing Pakistan. In the election speeches in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal, Prime Minister reiterated such allegations. Yesterday, in fact, Prime Minister has gone a step further and said that recently released Congress manifesto is part of the Pakistani conspiracy against India. These statements have generated few important questions. First of all, what will opposition leader get by pleasing Pakistan or being heroes for Pakistani people? Pakistani people are not going to vote for these opposition leaders so why would these politicians be pleasing Pakistan? Whether Prime Minister is suggesting that primary objective of opposition leaders in India is not to come to power by getting votes from Indian voters but to make Pakistani people happy at the cost of angering Indian voters? From the simple business or political point of view, the allegation looks like un-sustainable. For any act of a politician during election period, the benefits must be in terms of electoral dividends. This doesn’t seem to be occurring to opposition leaders if they are really hands in glove with Pakistan. Hence the question arises is how much is a truth in Prime Minister’s allegations? Or is it just an election rhetoric on the part of the Prime Minister? His yesterday’s statement is much more worrisome. If Congress manifesto is part of Pakistani conspiracy against India, Prime Minister must initiate action against all those involved in making of that manifesto. Congress party has already provided list of its leaders, activists and experts who have drafted its election manifesto making the task of the prime Minister easier. The real question is whether the Prime Minister will walk the talk and punish the alleged traitors? Remember that in the election for Gujarat assembly in 2017, Mr Narendra Modi had alleged that former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is co-conspiring with Pakistan against his government. This allegation tantamount to calling Dr Manmohan Singh as involved in treacherous and seditious activities. After the Gujarat election, however, Modi Sarkar had not taken any action – not even an enquiry – against Dr Manmohan Singh. Going by this record of Prime Minister Modi, he only seems to have indulged in creating sensations without substance. If so, Mr Narendra Modi is doing a great disservice to the position of Prime Minister. Winning the electoral battle on the basis of performance, promises and ideologies strengthens democracy. But destroying credibility of almost half of political leaders and political parties in the country without any substance is extremely harmful for democracy. Using such regrettable tactics one may win the election in the short term but democracy will lose in the long run.

- Prof. Parimal Maya Sudhakar