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As lotus withers, India waits for a spring

As lotus withers, India waits for a spring
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As lotus withers, India waits for a spring 

Highlights

Political analysts claim that things are not as rosy for the BJP as it was in early 2019. The party that won 303 of 543 Lok Sabha seats in 2019, has lost polls in bigger and more populous regions.

Political analysts claim that things are not as rosy for the BJP as it was in early 2019. The party that won 303 of 543 Lok Sabha seats in 2019, has lost polls in bigger and more populous regions. This has led to a situation where saffron party dominates the Centre but maintains disproportionate position in States. This is said to have energised the regional parties and they are working out some formula to take on the BJP in the next general elections. They are said to be making silent moves to put a up a united fight with the presumption that Centre would implement 'One Nation One Election' policy in 2022. But in what format continues to remain under wraps.

Normally it is said that history repeats itself. This raises the question: Will the political history also repeat? In 1971, the political culture was different from what it is now. The ruling party and the Opposition used to clash on many issues but when it came to national integrity they used to stand like a rock behind the government.

When a full-scale war took place between India and Pakistan in 1971 and Bangladesh got separated from Pakistan, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi got a standing ovation in Parliament from leaders and members cutting across party lines. They thumped tables. This was just eight months after the Congress defeated a united Opposition in general elections. Leaders like Atal Behari Vajpayee and Morarji Desai also praised her.

But now the situation is different. There were all kinds of comments made the Pulwama incident took place before the last general elections or the low intensity conflict with China that took place recently. The government was accused of hiding the facts and politicising the sacrifices of armed forces. Even in the campaign for Bihar elections, issues pertaining to national security did not transcend narrow political considerations whether it was the Congress or the BJP.

But then Mrs Gandhi and her party which had bagged 352 out of 518 Lok Sabha seats in 1971 got wiped out in the 1977 general elections as she took the extreme step of imposing Emergency in 1975. From being a known as a 'Gungi Gudiya,' she turned into an iron lady and imposed Emergency. The reason she cited was "internal disturbance", for which the constitutional rights were suspended, and freedom of speech and the press withdrawn. Indira Gandhi justified the drastic measure in terms of national interest, primarily based on three grounds. First, she said India's security and democracy was in danger owing to the movement launched by Jayaprakash Narayan. Second, she said there was a need for rapid economic development and upliftment of the underprivileged. Third, she warned against the intervention of powers from abroad which could destabilise and weaken India.

The question now is; will the political history repeat itself in 2024 general elections or the Jamli elections if held in 2022? Political circles say that the BJP which had come to power in 2019 with improved mandate than 2014 elections, has been floundering the advantage it had gained.

The year 2019 ended with nationwide agitations opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) which gave a chance to the Opposition to regroup. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his confidante Union Home Minister Amit Shah even dubbed those opposing NRC as anti-national elements. Analysts even alleged that they tried to polarise the country on the basis of religion for narrow political gains.

Most of these issues luckily for the saffron party got buried under the impact of corona pandemic. With the political activity just regaining its tempo, once again the talk of BJP retaining its supremacy in the next elections or not is being raised at various fora. Against the backdrop of this scenario, the results of Bihar Assembly polls assume importance. This election which happens to be the first one after lockdown could shape the politics and would prove whether the BJP succeeded in overcoming its vulnerabilities or will it concede space to the Opposition.

Political analysts claim that things are not as rosy for the BJP as it was in early 2019. The party that won 303 of 543 Lok Sabha seats in 2019, has lost polls in bigger and more populous regions. This has led to a situation where saffron party dominates the Centre but maintains disproportionate position in States.

This is said to have energised the regional parties and they are working out some formula to take on the BJP in the next general elections. They are said to be making silent moves to put a up a united fight with the presumption that Centre would implement 'One Nation One Election' policy in 2022. But in what format continues to remain under wraps.

It is being said that this process has gained some momentum after the recent remarks made by the Prime Minister wherein he emphasised on the need to end economic offences. He said if those who had amassed wealth through illegal means were not punished, it would lay foundation for corruption in future and would impact the progress of the country. He also spoke of corruption in politics of dynastic rule. This has given rise to strong speculations that some non-BJP parties are working out strategies to take on the saffron party in the next elections.

As far Telangana is concerned, the heightened war of words between the TRS and the BJP during the course of Dubbaka by-election campaign is seen as an indication of rupture between the Centre and the State relations.

The expression of intention of the Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao that the pink party was examining the possibility of going national, the decision to construct a grand party office in New Delhi and the frequent criticism of the Union government both in the Legislative Assembly and outside accusing it of having given up the concept of cooperative federalism and non-cooperation by not honouring the promises in regard to devolution of funds that were due to the State is a clear indication that all is not well between the regional parties and the Centre.

Telangana Minister for MA&UD K T Rama Rao's caution two days ago wherein he said that if the BJP State leaders did not stop making false accusations against the TRS government, they might have to speak against the PM and expose the failures of the Centre is also seen as a pointer towards the changes that are in the offing on the political horizon by regional parties.

Though we have seen that Narendra Modi has made much of the BJP's campaigning about himself, the only advantage the BJP still has is that there is no Opposition party which has a face the can counter Modi. If the Opposition moves have to become effective, it needs a leader with charisma and one who can take on Modi's oratory skills. Regional parties and their leaders may succeed in countering the BJP in their respective States, but they are not popular or strong enough to challenge Modi at the national level.

However, since politics is a dynamic situation, it can spring surprises. An all-powerful Indira Gandhi's misadventure of imposing Emergency made her lose power in 1977 though there was no face of Opposition in those elections. Situations can throw up leaders.

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