Thanks to the ‘Modi wave’, which rode on the ‘saffron wave’, the NDA, captained by the BJP won 324 seats out of 403 in the Uttar Pradesh assembly, the biggest majority for any party in the state since 1980. This was not unexpected. The BJP led by the effervescent and an oratorios campaigner Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself made the most of the two decisions considered by many as masterstrokes by the Prime Minister-(a) surgical strikes by Indian armed forces into Pakistan for the latter’s involvement in exporting terror into India, and (b) demonetization, though the efficacy of both are still being debated, with clear indications that neither has fructified. To Uttar Pradesh, the most populous Indian state and her electorate, these masterstrokes did just what the BJP think-tank wanted, and beyond- The lotus-designed buttons on the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were pressed like never before, and overwhelmingly. The opposition in the state, comprised by the likes of (1) Samajwadi party led by Akilesh Yadhav and his father Mulayam Singh Yadhav, (who had lost the battle even before it really did start through bickering over the trivial), (2) the grand old Party, the Indian National Congress led by Rahul Gandhi, who, thanks to his ‘failure to thrive’( a medical terminology used for a symptom among children who fail to attain expected milestones in the process of their growing up) and inability to attain political maturity, still remains a political toddler, (3) the Bhahujan Samaj party, led by Matyawati, who is more interested in building statutes of herself and the elephant, her party’s election symbol all over the state that begs for development, than to tend to the wellbeing of the Scheduled tribes and Scheduled castes, whose cause she claims to espouse,(4) and a few also-rans like the leftists, who paled into insignificance even before the campaigning got underway, were ultimately left to scurry for cover from the saffron dust that was raining down on them, thanks to the blinding electoral blitzkrieg of the NDA, and the celebration of Holi that coincided with the date of declaration of the election results.
The BJP led NDA won the electorally most significant state that Uttar Pradesh (UP) is; it is traditionally believed, and remains a fact that the party who wins majority in UP will go on to govern in Delhi by the strength of the number of seats from which elections are fought in the state- 403 Assembly seats and 80 Parliamentary constituencies.
There have been a number of fallouts, through the BJP-led alliance’s thumping victory at the hustings, most of them warming up to the nation’s immediate requirements, if the National Democratic Alliance(NDA) so wishes, as is expected of it by the ordinary nonpolitical Indian on the street, famously called the aam admi.
- NDA’s decimation of the opposition has significantly strengthened its position in both houses of Parliament through the number of seats it has managed to garner from the election, which is considered by many as the semifinal before the general election of 2019, through which the BJP-led NDA will seek to retain governance in New Delhi. By strengthening itself, the Alliance is now legally in a position to make important pending amendments in the constitution, (Which the previous NDA-led government headed by the charismatic Atal Bihari Vajpayee failed to achieve, constrained by ‘accommodations’ demanded within an alliance),historically considered to add to the health of India as an independent nation consisting of a union of 29 states and 7 union territories, each unique in itself, and to make decisions which would only foster the world’s largest democracy’s march into the 22nd century on the path of healthy development, as promised by the Prime Minister through his manifesto for the UP elections.
- Through NDA’s mindboggling victory, ‘secularism’ which was being practiced in India since independence ceased to exist, and lost its relevance. ‘Secularism’, was a convenient excuse used by many political parties of significance of yesteryears, championed by the Indian Nation Congress to pretend to be concerned about the welfare of minority communities, with their eyes on their votes, at the expense of a silent majority. Secularism was only a bait used conveniently to woo minorities and pocket their votes. The infamous Shah Bano case exemplifies Rajiv Gandhi’s attempt to put on the ‘secular’ garb only to win Muslim votes. Secularism was an excuse to take the majority Hindus for granted and also to subjugate them to appease the minorities. ‘Secularism’ thus came to be famously known as ‘psedosecularism’ (the Indian version of ‘secularism’). No political party or politician used secularism as a tool to solicit votes in the UP elections, as it ceased to be ineffective. They were quick to realize its irrelevance. Muslims thus ceased to be mere ‘vote banks’ to be called upon whenever the so-called secular parties needed them to ‘stop BJP from coming to power, come what may’. ‘Secularism’ was replaced by Modi’s brand of nationalism, skewed though it may be in many aspects, causing great deal of damage to Indian nationhood and it’s polity. The substitute was lapped up by the vast electorate of UP, especially the vast Hindu majority who was used to being taken for a ride, and compromised on, to ‘make way’ for the minorities and their comforts.
- An unthinkable happened too. When the election results poured in, it revealed that Muslims too had indeed voted for the BJP, pooh-poohing the so-called untouchability preached by the so-called secular parties, especially the congress and the BSP. The home of one of the world’s most respected Islamic seminaries, the Deoband became the first seat the BJP won enroute to its landslide victory in UP. It wasn’t the only one. The BJP won 62 0f 82 constituencies where Muslims comprise a third of the population, triggering stipulation that the minority community had indeed voted for the saffron party- a welcome change that, contributing to Indian plurality and secularism in their true sense. Kamal Farooqui, a member of the All India Muslim personal Law Board’s executive body said Muslims had indeed voted for the NDA in several constituencies. Not ready to accept defeat, and unable to weather the BJP whirlwind, BSP Chief Mayawati accused the BJP of tampering with the EVMs, the usual exercise politicians not mature enough to lose gracefully, resort to. The Election Commission later summarily dismissed the possibility of EVMs being tampered with and ruled out repoll, as demanded by the BSP supremo, and a whimpering duo of Akhilesh Yadhav and Rahul Gandhi of the Samajwadi Party and the Congress respectively.
As the BJP tromped home in UP through an unprecedented majority, it also had to live up to considerable expectation of a large numbers of citizens who through voting for it, made the spectacular show possible.
- Ever since independence, thanks to ‘the above mentioned ‘secularism’ and it’s real avatar, the ‘pseudosecularism’, the different minority communities within the Indian union pulled in different directions to go about their daily living. They had the tenets of the religion they belonged, to base such decisions on. For example, Muslims could easily get divorce through the triple talaq, while it was almost impossible for the Christians to annul marriage, there was a different set of rules for the Hindus. The Muslims had their sharia, based entirely on Islamic faith, and presided over by overzealous and radical clerics. While government controlled Dewaswom Boards took control of day-to-day functioning of Hindu temples, there were none of the kind to control churches and mosques, in the name of ‘secularism’. Christians had their own set of rules to partition ancestral property and Hindus had their succession act to govern the process. The nation was in a mess. It remained a quagmire with each community pulling in different directions, catalyzed by the religiopolitical tenets they believed in, or forced to adopt, with the Indian constitution being reduced to a mere bystander or an embellishment for the much acclaimed ‘Indian Democracy’. This mess called for a Uniform Civil Code (UCC), a proposed system to replace personal laws, scriptures and customs of major religious community with a common set of legal directives meant to govern every citizen irrespective of caste, religion, gender and personal preferences, based entirely on the Indian constitution. A CIVIL CODE, WHICH EVERY INDIAN OUGHT TO ABIDE BY, IRRESPECTIVE OF ANY DIFFERENCE, IS THE NEED OF THE HOUR. The UCC must be an instrument through which these differences are put away. It is easier said than done. It will be more difficult a task than Sardar Patel would have had to put in to make a nation out of loosely scattered states. But with the kind of majority that the NDA commands, this should at least be tried for India’s betterment.
- At the time of Indian independence, the state of Jammu and Kashmir decided not to join either India or Pakistan. However, Pakistan attempted to annex the state militarily, following which the Maharajah of the state signed the ‘instrument of accession’ with India along with certain concessions for the autonomy of the state. Article 370 in part XXI of the Indian constitution grants special status for the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the important features of which are:
- Jammu and Kashmir has its own constitution. This also implies that dual citizenship principle is followed in the state.
- Contrary to the case with other states, the residual power lies with the legislature of Jammu and Kashmir(and not the Parliament)
- The national emergency only on the ground of war or external aggression shall have automatic extension to the state of J&K. This means that National Emergency proclaimed on the ground of armed rebellion shall not have automatic extension to J&K
- The governor of the state is to be appointed only after consultation with the Chief Minister of the state.
- The parliament is not empowered to make laws on the subjects of the state of J&K under any circumstance.
- Financial emergency (article 360) cannot be imposed on the state.
- Apart from the president’s rule, Governors rule can also be imposed on the state for a maximum period of six months.
- The preventive detention laws (article 22) of parliament do not have automatic extension to the state.
- The name, boundary or territory of the state cannot be changed by the parliament without the concurrence of the state legislature
- Article 19 (1) (f) and 31(2) have not been abolished for this state and hence to properly still stands guaranteed to the people of J&K.
- Part IV (dealing with Directive State Principles) and part IV A (dealing with Fundamental duties) are not applicable to the state.
- The president has no power to suspend the Constitution of the state on the ground of failure to comply with the directions given by him.
- International treaty or agreement affecting the disposition of any part of the territory of the state can be made by the centre only with the consent of the state legislature.
- An amendment made to the Indian Constitution does not apply to the state unless it is extended by a presidential order.
- The Fifth Schedule and the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution do not apply to the state.
- The High Court of J&K can issue writs only for the enforcement of fundamental rights and not for any other purpose.
The article 370 really has to be scrapped if India is serious about countering Pakistani claims to the state.
71 years after Indian Independence, the rest of the country does not have to be apologetic about the contentious state of J&K by placing her on a ‘special’ pedestal, which has placed Indian claim to the state as its very own crown on quicksand. THE ARTICLE 370 HAS TO GO.
- The country, whose culture once upon a time boasted of respect for her women and children, especially the girl child, are increasingly being subjected to harassment of assorted kinds. In 2015, 68,092 cases of sexual abuses were reported against children, of which 85% were girls and 3% were 2 years or even younger. To beat it all, a 12-year old in Kerala became a proud father! Women continue to be at the receiving end of numerous evils viz: rape outside and within marriages, harassment at workplace, dowry deaths, kidnapping, female feticide, denial of education, which is offered on silver platters to boys, forced prostitution, and acid throwing, that the Thomson Reuters foundation in 2012 ranked India as the worst G20 country in which to be a woman. THE LOT OF WOMEN, THE GIRL CHILDREN, AND THE FEMALE FETUS, IN INDIA HAS TO IMPROVE. shouting ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ from house tops in one moment and raping a 3-year old girl the next, amounts to treason and hypocrisy of the worst kind.
- Even in Kerala which boasts of standards of health measured by various health indices like the maternal Mortality Rate, Infant Mortality Rate, Immunization status, comparable or even better than some Western nations, poor patients who approach hospitals, especially the private ones, even in times of dire emergency, are forced to turn away, often in the course of treatment, for want of big money to pay the bills. Many die as they are unable to afford quality health care which is a rarity in government run health facilities. Indian health scenario sticks out like a sore thumb in a nation that is supposed to be an emerging superpower. There are great discrepancies between states. Infant mortality in Kerala is 12/1,000 live births, while it is 56 in Assam. According to the World Bank, the total expenditure on healthcare as a proportion of GDP was 4.7% in 2014.According to a 2005 report, 60% of India’s children below 3 years were malnourished, which was greater than the statistics of sub-Saharan Africa’s 28%. More than two million children die every year from preventable infections. Reduced funding of immunization leaves only 43.5% of the young fully immunized. Diseases like dengue, hepatitis, Tuberculosis and malaria continue to plague the country due to increased resistance to drugs. In 2011, India reported a ‘totally drug resistant’ form of tuberculosis. AIDS in India is ranked third highest among countries with HIV-infected patients. More than 122 million households have no toilets, and 33% lack access to latrines. Over 50% of the population defecates in the open as per 2008 estimate, which leads to spread of disease and malnutrition through parasitic and bacterial infections. Several million suffer from multiple episodes of diarrhea, and others fall ill due to Hepatitis A, typhoid, worm infestation, eye and skin infections caused by poor hygiene and unsafe drinking water. Rural India where 68% of her population dwells, most of them below poverty line, have poor access to even basic health care. It is easy to blame preceeding governments for the sorry state of affairs in the nation’s health scenario. THE NDA HAS A JOB IN ITS HAND TO SPRUCE UP AND PROVIDE QUALITY AND AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE TO EVERY INDIAN.
- From 1983 to 2011, unemployment rates in India averaged 9%, reaching an all time high of 9.4% in December 2010. According to a UN labor report, unemployment in India is expected to witness marginal increase between 2017 and 2018. ‘Unemployment in India is projected to increase from 17.7 million last year to 17.8 in 2017 and 18 million next year.
THE BJP-LED NDA HAS TO GENERATE JOBS AND PROVE THE UN WRONG.
Thus, with the kind of expectations the aam admi has of the NDA, and the BJP spearheading it, they have a lot to do, and they have the majority in Parliament to achieve just that, provided they have the political will and these issues are given priority along with many issues, as important, like providing him basic facilities like motorable roads, potable water, secure borders, education to all, especially the girl child, telephone connectivity, efficient waste disposal mechanisms, an all-pervading battle against corruption, religious conversion, red tapism and an resounding end to ‘babudom’, backed by a fair judiciary, shorn of foot-dragging on contentious issues, and an efficient police force. This is not asking for much. These are entirely what the citizens are entitled to, for the taxes they pay from their hard-earned money.
- This was an election, held in seven phases in which 13.9 crore electors voted to decide the fate of over 4,800 candidates in 403 constituencies to form the 17th assembly for the state of Uttar Pradesh. Surely those who made it to the assembly has their job cut out to improve the lot of one of the largest Indian states, which is also the poorest(poverty in UP being 29.43%). It is also a state with the largest number of malnourished children. The reasons for UP’s stagnation in poverty and underdevelopment are many viz: overpopulation, caste politics, which benefits politicians who solicit votes in the name of caste, an almost nonexistent law and order machinery, opposition of politicians like Mulayan Singh Yadav to the introduction of computers and modern technology, THOSE ELECTED TO POWER HAS A LOT TO DO TO IMPROVE UP’S LOT.
Expectations, as one sees, are many.
The second half of the Modi Government, that the UP win can claim to classify the BJP-led NDA rule in New Delhi into, got off to a disastrous start, pushing the aam aadmi straightaway into a heap of disillusionment that ultimately overwhelmed great expectations.
- To begin with, the BJP formed governments in the states of Goa and Manipur, which went to the polls along with UP, Punjab and Uttarkhand. In Goa and Manipur, the BJP could emerge only as second largest party, with the INC securing majority in both states. Horse-trading as only politicians can, was indulged in, placing the BJP, the runner-up in both the states on power’s seat, by forming alliances with ‘likeminded parties’; political parties indeed are likeminded, concerning money exchanged at horse-trading, especially when election throw up hung houses of governance, with no party emerging a clear winner. But here, the INC indeed was the winner in the two states, despite which the BJP ascended the echelons of power. A wrong start indeed!
- Before the euphoria of the big win could die down, the victorious BJP dropped the biggest bombshell by appointing the firebrand Mahant(Hindu Priest) of Gorakhnath Math, Yogi Adityanath as the chief minister of UP, who will head the new government. the man has been jailed for instigating the Gorakhpur riots of 2007, this after a Hindu boy Raj Kumar Agrahari was killed when people opened fire on a Muslim procession during the Muslim festival of Moharam. The district Magistrate back then had made it clear that the Yogi should not visit the site, for fear of his presence adding to the tension and unrest. Initially complying to the magistrate’s directive, the Yogi could not hold himself back when the boy died. He embarked on a ‘nonviolent’ dharna at the site, laced with inflammatory speeches. A curfew imposed by the local police was promptly broken by Adityanath. He was arrested and remanded for a fortnight on charges of disturbing peace. His arrest led to more peace being disturbed. Several coaches of the Mumbai-bound Mumbai-Gorakhpur Godan Express were burnt allegedly by the protesting Hindu yucca vashini activists. The tensions escalated to riots across Gorakhpur, leading to burning of mosques, homes, buses and trains. He was also one of several BJP MPs who refused to adhere to the party whip on the Women’s reservation Bill in March 2010.
The 44-year old priest-turned politician is known for his provocative peaches, some of which being:
“Mother Teresa was part of a conspiracy to convert Hindus to Christianity”
“Shah Rukh khan must remember if a huge mass in society would boycott his films, he also will wonder like a normal Muslim” (wonder what this “normal Muslim” is)
He went on to compare SRK to Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed.
Irrespective of his ‘credentials’, he was sworn in as Chief Minister. The Priest took the oath wearing a saffron outfit. Colored outfits are indeed dangerous and truly unnecessary. The aam admi have had enough of colors of numerous hues and shades. The white, the green. Colors represent the religio-political leaning of individuals. Colors are aptly avoided, especially in modern India. But the new Chief Minister ticked off his duties wearing the saffron (the objection being not specifically to saffron, but to the presence of a color)
- Arguably the first action taken by the new Chief Minister was to close down ‘unlicensed’ meat shops trading in beef. The Yogi probably meant to keep his tryst with BJP’s pet dream to ban cow slaughter and sale of beef in the country. Even licensed stores were sealed on flimsy excuses like the outlet lacking a CTTV! Meat traders in Western UP announced a strike, hours after the state government sealed over 36 slaughter houses and hundreds of retail meat shops across the state. Buffalo meat production fell by 40% and mutton by 30%. The availability of beef fell from 36 lakh kg to under 25lakh kg. 43 persons were arrested for alleged cattle smuggling. As solidarity with meat traders, famous vegetarian outlets also downed shutters. UP’s stomach seemed fated to more hunger pangs! The mistakes the BJP dabbled in, in its first half like compulsory demonstration of ‘respect’ for the national anthem and the tricolor, compulsory chanting of ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ when Matas(mothers) are being raped and violated in every nook and cranny of Bharat worse than animals), beef ban, silencing of intellectuals who spoke against superstitions and rituals rampant in Hinduism, and the wrong policies of the central government, violent interference in the academia, seemed not to have learned from, but more determined to persist in. these peripherals, which only served to embellish the Hindutva ideology, were largely the handiwork and ‘dream projects’ of sister concerns of the BJP like the RSS, the Bajrang Dal and ABVP, which are organizations largely manned by unemployed lampoons and hooligans, who don’t care a damn to be willing puppets in the hands of their armchair political bosses, who are experts at remote controlling indoctrinated bigots. Prime Minister Modi never attempted to control them when things seemed to go out of hand. That has been Modi’s single most stark weakness, and might go on to be his undoing too, if he fails to rein in the mischief-mongers. Thus, BY BANNING BEEF SALES AND CONTAINING SLAUGHTER OF CATTLE, THE BJP DREAMS TO TAKE INDIA INTO THE 22ND CENTURY, as manslaughter continued unimpeded in various parts of the country on various excuses! The people are only too happy to eat grass if ban on beef and slaughter of cattle will go a long way to improve India’s, and specifically UP’s lot!
- Grapevine has it that veteran politician and one of the senior most active members of the BJP, L K Advani is being considered for the office of the President, when the term of the incumbent, Pranab Mukherjee will soon end. There is nothing wrong in Advani climbing up the Raisina Hills. After all, he was Home Minister of the country from 1998 to 2004 in the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He was also leader of the opposition in the 10th and 14th Lok Sabha. And deputy Prime Minster of India from 2002 to 2004 under Vajpayee. He is also recipient of Padma Vibhushan , India’s second highest civilian honor, which he received in 2015. Isn’t he most suited to be President? But it was Advani who embarked upon the ‘rath Yathra’ or chariot journey to mobilize karsevaks or volunteers to converge on the Contentious Babri mazjid, a 16th century mosque standing in the birthplace of Lord Ram in Ayodhya, as Hindus believe. The 150,000 karsevaks, comprised by members of the Viswa Hindu Parishad, on December 6, 1992 overwhelmed the security forces and demolished the mosque. A despicable act, which would have prevailed upon Lord Ram to undertake another vanvas, were He to be present on that forgettable day! The demolition Brought down with it the secular bulwark of India as enshrined in the constitution not to forget her reputation for plurality and communal amity despite being a nation comprised of numerous faiths. The demolition, arguably the darkest blot in post independent india since partition, resulted in several months of intercommunal rioting between the Hindus and Muslims, leaving at least 2,000 dead, and more maimed. Advani is the main accused in the case. WON’T THE HAND TREMBLE IF THE KEY OF THE RASTRAPATI BHAVAN IS BEING ENTRUSTED TO A MAN SUCH AS ADVANI? One hopes the news that advani is being considered as the next president, at the insistence if the RSS remains just grapevine.
It is therefore, much to stark disappointment of the Aam Admi that nothing much seems to have changed with BJP’s dazzling victory in the UP state elections. The BJP led NDA ruling at the centre, neither seems to have learnt any lessons, nor intends to bring about any changes for the better. Disillusionment by many a score, to the eye of the Aam Admi, surely have overwhelmed great and seemingly misplaced expectations!