The saffron wave that hit the country in 2014 has in fact turned out to be a tsunami. With government in 21 states, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) backed Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) has painted the country saffron. The Indian National Congress which was at the helm for 60 odd years is now in power in only three states.
BJP is in power in 75 percent of the country’s geographical expanse covering 68 percent of the country’s population. While much credit must go to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the kind of impact he has had on the voter owning much to his oratory skills which has drawn crowds in huge numbers. It is by no means an exaggeration to say that when he speaks, the nation listens (or at least the most of it). He makes every election a national battle irrespective of the stakes involved. Campaigning in different states, he blends into regional colours embracing regional attires giving his audience a sense of belonging and if need be, not shying away from mudslinging on his political rivals.
The party president Amit Shah also deserves a round of applause. He has turned BJP into an effective organistation whose presence is felt in every corner of the country – for good or for bad. It’s recent success (an art BJP has mastered over a span of 3-4 years) in the north-eastern states is a testament to that, where in Tripura, it almost snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Not only has it brought the far-flung parts of the country into the political mainstream but has also portrayed that the ambitions of BJP are not limited to mainland but it aims to reach every nook and corner of the country.
The rise of the kamal (lotus) has left many perplexed. India has always been a prime example of paradoxes. The rise of BJP is one such paradox. With the party being in power at the centre for roughly four years now, there is growing resentment among people due to its inability to live up to its election promises. Many have been left fuming with demonetisation and GST. The news outbreaks of bank frauds have led to plethora of chowkidaar jokes on the internet. The gratification that came with execution of surgical strikes is giving way to discontentment over growing incidents of infiltration across the border. The growing intolerance in the country is also a big concern. Government’s inaction in issues revolving around Love-jihad, cow vigilantism, JNU, Gauri Lankesh’s murder, Kasganj violence, Padmavati row, etc. have given birth to insecurity among the citizens about the future of the secular and plural nature of the nation. With its affiliates having a hand in most of these incidents, the party’s ability to stand up for the values engraved in the Constitution is seen with an eye of suspicion. No doubt that the Modi government has taken some remarkable initiatives like Digital India, Swachh Bharat, Har khet ko pani, Mudra etc. and the country is doing exceptionally well in a lot of fronts but achievements like these can only be appreciated in an amicable environment.
Though the government has not able to live up to its expectations entirely, it however continues to dominate the polls election after election. With growing resentment among the people, many have been found asking who is voting for them? Is the saffron surge a reality or just a mirage? Anyone who has not come terms with the rise of BJP is a fool, who must have made a cave her/his dwelling abode.
The rise of BJP is not a myth. It is a welcome step in a democracy to see change of power but what is not welcome is the path that the party is treading on. The voice of dissent is being curbed and anyone found critical of the government is being termed “anti-national”. Nehru’s call for development of “scientific temper” is being replaced by unwarranted pride in irrational and non-existent claims of the past. The rise of BJP has also led to uprising of extremist Hindu groups who in the name of nationalism have been left unchecked and are a threat to the pluralistic nature of this country.
Media, the so-called fourth pillar of democracy, is in complete mess. False propaganda of half lies and half-truths and the race for TRPs is driving it away from its duty. News and facts are being replaced with debates and people are being exposed to senseless theatrical dramas in the name of debates which more often than not are solely aimed at bashing one-side and glorifying the other with no regard to truth whatsoever. Media is no more selfless voice of the people that it used to be but has rather become a TRP seeking parasite that is slowly sucking on our democratic values.
In times like these, not only do we need a strong government but we also need a strong opposition. Only a strong opposition in parliament to a popularly elected government can help create a conducive environment where every voice is heard and every person is respected. Prime minister Modi has all the armory he needs – A cabinet capable of delivering , mandate of the people and an ever rising popularity. Being at the helm of the affairs now, the last thing he would want is to be seen leading a Government propagating politics of hate. Because in a democracy, the government is after all, of the people, for the people and by the people.