Democracy in India: Future uncertainty

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The Yogi Adityanath led Uttar Pradesh government has put to light the dual nature of the saffron camp politics. On one hand, where the Bhartiya Janata Party boasts of its pro-people ideologies and projects itself as the only savior of Hindutva in the nation. On the other, it very conveniently stoops down to the lower levels of doing anything to get back to power. The recent week in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has seen a lot of turmoil and violence, courtesy of the BJP workers who resorted to almost anything in the panchayat polls. Interestingly, the BJP including Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Home Minister Amit Shah have all been showering praises for the BJP’s massive victory in the state panchayat polls just months ahead of the assembly polls. After the bitter West Bengal thumping by TMC, the BJP is in no mood to lose any elections, especially when it comes to Uttar Pradesh which has been a saffron stronghold in the past few years.
Having said this, the actual logical leaders in the saffron camp must have their heads hanging in shame for the road to victory in UP did not come easily. Violence, kidnapping, molestation, the BJP goons got involved with anything that secured their victory. The saffron camp must have panicked after the first tier of the panchayat election was dominated by the Samajwadi Party. And after below-par performance in major states during the April 2021 assembly polls, the saffron leaders did not want another bad electoral performance as the general elections are just around the corner. The BJP must also be aware of the growing hatred against its party given the economic condition of the country and its ill management of the second wave of coronavirus. The entire UP panchayat poll has been marred in controversies right from the beginning. Firstly, the elections were held during the peak of the pandemic which saw many electoral officials lose their lives after being exposed to the virus. But that was not all, during the course of the elections, Yogi and his men resorted to probably the lowest level of political violence. The BJP members have been allegedly involved in the kidnapping of opposition candidates, and whatnot!
The intensity and nature of violence that took place in Uttar Pradesh last week could be gauged from the simple fact that even an Additional Superintendent of Police was slapped by the BJP goons. In Unnao, journalists were brutally thrashed while they tried to click photos of the kidnapping of an opposition candidate by the BJP cadres. However, Sunday’s incident probably was the last nail in the coffin. India has truly become an ‘Elected Autocracy’, which is now clearly in the open after such incidents. What is even scarier is the fact that many observers believe that this is merely a curtain-raiser for 2024. India already is drawing flak from various countries for its policies which have been rejected by the people outrightly. And now such high handedness of the saffron party only seals the fact that the BJP is only bothered about retaining power and not actual governance. Interestingly, it is not even shying away from using independent agencies to fulfil its designs. Just to make the point clear, let’s note that over 7000 people have been charged with sedition since BJP came to power in 2014.

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