Fixing BJP’s core agendas only

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May 30 marked the completion of one year for Modi government in its second term. 2019 has been a busy year for the government meeting the promises the BJP made in its election manifesto. But whether they can be called achievements is open to debate. Politically a government takes about a year to consolidate, two to chart priorities, three to prepare its policies and the fourth year to execute. The fifth year goes wasted preparing for next election. Thus the first year of the Modi government 2.0 went into implementing the BJP’s ideological priorities: outlawing of Triple Talaq, abrogation of Article 370, passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and a “peaceful” resolution to the Ayodhya title dispute, thanks to a favourable court verdict which will pave the way for the construction of Ram temple. With a decimated Opposition, the government has had a free hand in implementing promised ideological urgencies while successfully pushing BJP’s core agenda, leaving the minorities in the lurch. Criminalising Triple Talaq is discriminatory because gender justice cannot be selective. How is it fair to make it a crime for Muslim husbands who abandon their wives without properly divorcing them when Hindu husbands who do the same have nothing to fear? If one recalls Home MinisterAmit Shah’s infamous chronology, CAA was the first step towards NPR and nationwide NRC. The resolute opposition to the CAA-NPR-NRC combination wouldn’t have ended had Delhi not been rocked by three days of rioting, which was incited by a series of hate speeches and incidents of gunfire against the protestors. The sheer depth of public opposition to CAAwasthe reason behind the government backtracking on the NRC, at least temporarily. Abrogation of Article 370, a long standing promise of the BJP since the time of its predecessor, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, was done without due process of consultation with all stakeholders. Parliamentary majority was used to take away the federal statehood of a state in an undemocratic manner. The communication blockade that was imposed on the people of Jammu & Kashmir ran for six long months and has still not been fully lifted. Today, the situation in Kashmir is far from normal and one doesn’t know how long the state-turned-union territory will remain in a state of political instability with many of its political leaders still under arrest. With the Supreme Court refusing to prioritise the petitions on the legality of Article 370 annulment and enactment of CAA, the two major ‘achievements’ of the government are still caught in a legal tangle, while the Ayodhya title dispute case, fasttracked at the urging of the prime minister, was settled through an absurd verdict in which faith was given precedence over the merits of property dispute. The government’s handling of the distressed economy which is consistently on a downward spiral over several quarters has been a cause of huge concern, besides a record 45 year high rising unemployment. Its apathy towards the plight of migrant workers and a belated acknowledgement of their suffering 68 days later by the Prime Minister a sign of the government’s indifference to the misery and pain the poor people during lockdown. With a reverse migration now, a deadly pandemic to tackle, 70 days later, India is still in the midst of a health emergency.

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