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‘We the People of India’ Reject Modi

By Dr Prakash Louis

With arrogance Mr. Modi had declared that his party would cross 400 out of 543 seats in the election to the Lok Sabha or the Lower House of India. In the election that concluded on 1st June, 2024, the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), the party that he led was reduced to 240. Modi is struggling to form the government on its own and has to seek the support of NDA partners. Earlier, it had boasted that it would form the government on its own but the Indian voters have shown that he and his policies and programs do not find favour among them. From being a Vishwa guru, he has been reduced to an ordinary citizen of the country. There are also reports that there are rumblings within the BJP. That is, a section of the elected members not wanting Modi to become the Prime Minister of India. Next few weeks and months are crucial for India, because if Modi becomes the PM, he would destroy the country.

It is pertinent to raise the question, why the people of India rejected Modi, his policies and programs. Let us remember these facts that in 2014, in the 16th Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 282 seats with 31% of votes at the national level. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) secured 336 seats. The Indian National Congress was defeated in a landslide. In the 2019 elections, the BJP won 303 seats, thus increasing 21 seats to its count. It received 37.6% of the vote share and formed the government. The Congress party won only 52 seats and the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) won only 91 seats. For Modi from a secure state of being able to form the government independently to seeking alliance, is unthinkable and unexplainable. The Indian voters undeniably have given a hard blow to Modi from which he would not be able to spring back to his arrogant self.

Modi and the party he is leading promised a vibrant and participatory democracy, inclusive and sustainable development, quality of life, productive youth, a globally competitive economy, open and transparent government, and pro-active and pro-people governance in its manifesto. He announced from roof top, “Achhe din aane waale hain”, that is, “Time for Change, Time for Modi.”

Based on the above, the following were the promises made by Modi based on which he came to power in 2014: two crore [20 million] jobs per year; 15 lac [1.5] million in the accounts of the poor; will bring back black money from abroad; will control price rise by establishing special courts to stop hoarding and black marketing; promised price stabilisation fund; unbundling FCI operations into procurement, storage and distribution for greater efficiency; encouraging and empowering youth via self-employment; focus on agriculture, allied industries and retail through modernisation as well as stronger credit and market linkages; initiating a multi-skill development programme, with focus on job creation and entrepreneurship; national healthcare programmes, medical education and financing for health care services; setting up an AIIMS-like institute in states; digitisation of government records;  focus on increasing the penetration and usage of broadband; leveraging technology for e-governance; generating ITbased jobs in rural and semi-urban areas, using mobile and e-banking to ensure financial inclusion; modernization of Madarasas; improving traditional artisanship and entrepreneurial skills; 33% reservation for women through constitutional amendment; launch of ‘beti bachao beti padhao’ campaign; improving village level infrastructure like roads, potable water, education, health, supply chain, electricity, etc.;  building 100 new smart cities and lastly, exploring all possibilities within the framework of the Constitution to facilitate the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya.

But a careful reading of the last 10 years of rule or misrule of Modi clearly and categorically states the utter failure of his government leave alone governance. None of the above election promises are fulfilled. There was no focused and directed work done by him, his cabinet colleagues or the government. All these promises only became a laughing stock and Modi himself was ridiculed at every step. This was all the more in the run to the 2024 election. There was not a single issue on which Modi can boast of having made a mark in 10 years of his rule. Only getting the Ayodhaya temple constructed by breaking rules and by posing himself as the priest, temple, Hindus, nation, etc. Even the hard core Hindus understood that the opening of this temple was only an election gimmick and not real love for Hindu belief.

Day 50 of Farmer Protests At Delhi-Haryana BorderThere are some devastating steps that Modi took during his regime. They are: demonetization which instead of resulting in its stated objectives combating terror funding, fake notes and black money resulted in wide spread suffering to over 75% of the citizens; the imposition of three Farm Ordinances in the name of regularizing the market in favour of the farmers. But the farmers realizing the sinister game that Modi and his coterie were playing opposed it tooth and nail even at the expense of 700 farmers dying martyrs’ death forced Modi to withdraw these ordinances; the ordinary demand of the farmers for minimum support price has not been heeded to by Modi.

Under the New Labour Code, Modi tried to curtail the freedom of the labourers and give free hand to the companies and industries to hire and fire. Denying the existence of over 40 labour laws, attempted to regulate labour movements and labour rights. Weakening and destroying all the national institutions like the Planning Commission, Minority Commission, Women’s Commission, Scheduled Caste Commission, Scheduled Tribe Commission, to name a few. Did not create one commission but destroyed what was already there. Misuse of institutions like CBI, ED, NIA, RBI, etc. Captured the media through his friends in the loot and made them godi media, that is, parroting what Modi said and did not say.

Mishandling of Kashmir and Ladak issues and alienated the people there. Eight month long curfews destroyed the local economy. Worse still, there was a marked increase (72%) in the number of our soldiers martyred in just the first three years of the BJP’s term. Even going to the inhuman level of using the death of army jawans for electoral purposes. It is reported that over 1 lac jobs are vacant in the railways. Instead of attending to that and also responding to the demands of the ordinary passengers, kept on promoting Vande Bharat which appeases the middle and upper class, who alone can travel in these. Making Aadhaar number essential for any public and financial transaction and thus gathering information about the citizens.

Anti-Dalit and anti-Tribal policies and programs. Modi as PM announced that he is in favour of abolishing reservation. His argument was that reservation brings down the merit and service to the nation declines. Echoing his view BJP goons shouted that reservation be withdrawn. By undertaking this heinous crime, he wanted to undo Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar and the principles that he stood for – fraternity, liberty and equality.

The country will not forget the hardships suffered all the citizens, especially over 75% of the population by the totally unplanned and unprepared series of lockdowns. Instead of getting counsel from medical experts and taking to a scientific approach, he went to the ridiculous level of clapping hands and vessels. The middle class and upper class were part of his obnoxious thought and behaviour. The migrant labourers from north India will not forgive him for pushing them to walk thousands of miles while he could have made arrangements for their travel back home. Over, 40 lac Indians succumbed to COVID-19, less by the virus but more by his inability to handle the situation.

Perhaps one of the unforgivable crime of Modi was to spread hate, division and violence. Instead of arresting Muslim hate, mob lynching and running bulldozer, he vomited venom against the Muslim minority community. Using his position of being the PM of this country, he went around spreading all kinds of rumours against them and called for violence against them. This was fully and totally under the vote bank politics of majoritarianism. Created enmity with the neighbouring countries.

It suffices to state that the above presented facts and figures are a dismal report card by any measure, but it is far from exhaustive. To be precise, Modi’s views, perceptions, thoughts and behaviour are rooted and grounded in an anti-poor, anti-Dalit, anti-Tribal, anti-minority, anti-OBCs, anti-citizen principles and programs. In his first term as the PM of India Modi’s image of being a techno-savvy, angry Hindu appealed to many rural youth. These were the ones who were getting into mobile culture. But they realized that except rhetoric, no substantial changes were intended by Modi. Youth accounted for about 83% of the jobless citizens, according to a report by the International Labour Organization and the Institute for Human Development.

Manipur was a blot on the face of Modi and the BJP. The crisis and violence that has been going on in Manipur for the last one year has been repeatedly identified as government – state and centre- orchestrated one. That is, planed, programed, financed and executed violence with the short term and long term objectives to deprive the Kuki Tribal communities of land, forest and other resources. It is the governments who pitted the Meiteis against the Kukis. The fact is that Modi underestimated the power of the backlash from women and youth in Manipur. Hence, both Meiteis and Kukis defeated BJP thoroughly. Both the parliamentary seats are won by the Congress.

Social Unity Center of India (SUCI) activists hold a banner during a  protest against the central government for the price hike of domestic  Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders in Kolkata. Price hikeOne crisis that India witnessed in Modi’ first term itself was price rise and growing inequality. Several reports both internal and global pointed out to the stark reality that that inequality and poverty have risen during the Modi years. Reports also indicated that the persistent high inflation pushed the household financial savings to a 30-year-low in the first half of financial year 2023. A report by Motilal Oswal Securities indicated that these depleted savings were being used for consumption.

This was clearly pronounced in the rumblings before the election in the most electorally secure state, that is, Uttar Pradesh. It was reported that the Samajwadi Party leader said voters in the state were turning against Modi because of a lack of jobs, the high cost of living, and concerns that he would dilute affirmative action policies for lower-caste individuals. In addition to doing away with the reservation policy, Modi would also replace Dr.B.R. Ambedkar with Savarkar. Interestingly, in the 2019 election, the BJP won 63 seats in UP on its own. But in the 2024 election, it could scrap to 33 seats only.

In the run up to the election, Modi was becoming aggressive, autocratic, abusive, impulsive, etc. “India was trending towards a more autocratic country, a country with one leader who had a larger-than-life image,” said Raghuram Rajan, a former governor of India’s central bank and ex-chief economist of the International Monetary Fund. “And that unfortunately meant the BJP leadership wasn’t listening, wasn’t listening to the economic news on the ground. That people were actually suffering hardships.” It is this disconnect which reduced Modi and BJP to low margin.

Modi had claimed that he is fighting all the 400 seats for BJP. But this arrogance was destroyed by the mature electorate of India. The BJP’s inability to secure an outright majority “pricks the bubble of Modi’s authority,” commented political scientist Pratap Bhanu Mehta. Mehta goes on to state Modi is “not the indomitable vehicle for History … Today, he is just another politician, cut to size by the people.” A totally self-centered person, with me, my, mine brought destruction on himself. He had destroyed the country already.

What is an undeniable fact is that the Indian democracy has reaffirmed its vibrance and the people’s ability to course-correct when necessary. No force, not even Modi’s vaunted election juggernaut, could withstand the tsunami of people’s electoral power. It is not this or that caste, class, religious group who defeated Modi and his divisive forces. The Lok Sabha election 2024 has reiterated this powerful fact that ‘We the people of India’ are the real swaraj (independence), shakti (power), shaasan (governance).

Dr Prakash Louis is a political commentator

8 June 2024

Source: countercurrents.org

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