Thought Box



by Vinta Nanda June 5 2024, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 55 secs

In democracies with rich histories of coexisting diversities, the arrogance of leaders who perpetuate religious dominance and majoritarianism is unsustainable, writes Vinta Nanda

Despite the power and wealth wielded by conservative cults, authoritarianism cannot prevail in the modern world. The ongoing information communication revolution, driven by the internet and artificial intelligence, ensures that oppressive regimes face unprecedented scrutiny and resistance.

With barely 240 seats, which fall short of a two-thirds majority, the BJP is now compelled to run a coalition government. Leading such a government means the man at the top can no longer act on whims and fancies.

From the demonetization in 2016, which forced every citizen to stand in long queues to withdraw their own money, to the abrupt four-hour notice before implementing a lockdown during COVID, the Prime Minister has repeatedly acted without considering the suffering his decisions would cause. The last ten years are filled with countless such instances, too many to list here, but they have been discussed extensively. With clear majorities in both terms, he believed he could get away with anything.

This included arresting elected leaders, using institutions like the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation to harass opposition leaders, forcing them to either join the BJP or face charges that could lead to their incarceration without conviction or trials.

That era is over.

The opposition now has a sizable presence to counter the ruling government's arbitrary actions. They can ensure that nonsensical actions, like suspending 140 members of parliament for asking questions on behalf of their constituents, will no longer go unchallenged.

June 4, 2024 has marked a significant shift in the political landscape, puncturing the arrogance of the BJP and its leaders. The voters have spoken loud and clear, asserting, “Tanashahi Nahi Chalegi!” ("Dictatorship will not work!").

Despite being in power, the BJP has done little, if anything, for the masses whose support is crucial for any government. The hubris and self-obsession of the Prime Minister have not only denied people their rightful livelihoods but have also repeatedly insulted and humiliated them.

Promises were made to provide jobs for the youth before coming to power in 2014. Instead, even existing opportunities were taken away, opportunities that have been available since India became a republic in 1950. The introduction of the Agniveer scheme, which offered only four years of service in the armed forces, was a stark deviation from the traditional career path, leaving many aspiring youths disillusioned.

During the COVID pandemic, the Prime Minister's face was plastered on every vaccine certificate, turning what should have been a basic right into a perceived act of charity. Similarly, sacks of food grain given to those struggling with unemployment and rising prices bore his image, furthering the narrative of a benefactor rather than a public servant.

The so-called generosity of the government was, in reality, funded by the people’s own wealth. This day serves as a reminder and a call for accountability and genuine leadership.

When India’s champion wrestlers protested against Brijbhushan Singh, the president of the Wrestling Federation of India, Prime Minister Modi remained silent. Adding insult to injury, during these protests, he was inaugurating the new parliament with Singh by his side, while the protesting women were cruelly dragged and mistreated by the Delhi police.

It is unimaginable that all the women in Modi’s cabinet, including Smriti Irani, Minister for Women and Child Development, and Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance, have, even after more than a year, not spoken against the bully or their leader for ignoring the cries of the women who brought pride to the country by winning Olympic medals.

Today, Smriti Irani lost her seat in Amethi to the INC’s Kishorilal Sharma. This is the people’s verdict. If she thought her silence and inaction against a man who harassed women went unnoticed, she will think differently now. This is the power of the people’s mandate.

Modi’s belief that his dramatic appearances in different costumes and at various lavish events would not be scrutinized by voters was a grave miscalculation. Ordinary citizens, struggling to survive during his ten years in government, were bound to notice his extravagance. While many denied themselves two square meals a day, they observed his display of opulence meant to impress people in other parts of the world.

It is evident that nobody dared to tell Modi that his actions were being closely watched. His inability to listen to others and build consensus is precisely why I predict that even if the BJP and RSS forcefully appoint Narendra Modi as Prime Minister for a third term, aiming to create an unprecedented political history, his rule will not last beyond three months.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.