In 2019, will it be Modi-Shah domination or opposition pandemonium?
BJP president Amit Shah’s blatant threat to Kerala government that ‘his supporters will uproot the elected government’ is a brazen defiance to democracy, and obliquely to the Supreme Court order. The country has come to such a juncture that only BJP and its political mentor RSS cannot be defied whereas everything else is negotiable —even the democracy or the court order.
Shah’s shenanigans are well-known in regard to arm-twisting and unlawful activities since early, but his open violation of the Supreme Court order is something new that should be taken into account when the 140 crore-odd Indians vote in the 2019 general elections. A man with several cases registered against his name though cannot be expected to do any better in political parlance.
However, the BJP at Centre is not at all sitting pretty despite managing an overwhelming mandate in the last general elections. The government seems more unstable despite having the numbers than a minority government. With Chandrababu Naidu withdrawing from the Narendra Modi-led NDA may affect the coalition unity, while there are few others too who have one foot inside the NDA fold and another outside of it.
Knowingly or unknowingly, if controlling the institutions of the country was the saffron brigade’s principal motto, then they are en route to complete the process in a five-year term. Drunk in power, the Union Ministers have not shied away even from taking the law in their own hands and the high command has never objected to it. Cow vigilantism, lynching, mandir construction, statues etc are all to divert the attention of the electorate in order to cover up the misdeeds for the past four-and-half year rule.
CBI vs CBI
As far as Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is concerned, it would have completely become a political weapon for Centre to dare the opposition by threats and raids. Flurry of news that has surfaced of late against the benched CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana is the most disturbing one. If the news of his diverting police funds to BJP election fund is true as reported widely, then Asthana surely worked more a party worker than a cop. Asthana’s proximity with Modi and Shah dates back to the beginning of 21st century when Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. The camaraderie continued till CBI chief Alok Verma spilled beans in an open market, putting both the institution and the government in a major spot of bother.
As far as Verma is concerned, there are no major corruption allegations against him compared to his deputy, but for him too, things haven’t gone on the expected lines as he has been kept waiting by the top court as it may have found something which needs more clarity. All said and done, CBI has lost its shin and the autonomous body’s credibility is at stake. Andhra Pradesh and Mamata Banerjee barring CBI in their states though can be seen as an evading tactic, still CBI’s prestige among the common people and the different state polices has taken a beating for sure.
RBI – Government Truce
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) impasse is another that might come back to haunt the NDA government and quite likely a middle path has been taken where the autonomy has been restored, but not the faith of the autonomous body. Shiv Sena’s take after the all-important board meeting of the RBI on November 19 sums up the current scenario. “The RBI-Government truce is like postponing today’s death till tomorrow,” an editorial in Saamana said on Wednesday. There couldn’t have been a better assessment of the impasse than this.
Shah is not the only one who can be blamed for this, there are many in hierarchical order. Arun Jaitley, who has a ‘take’ on anything and everything except his portfolio (finance), is another Union Minister who has disappointed the most in last term. With criticisms for note ban and GST introduction came in thick and fast, he kept a brave face till date while dismissing all fears in a brazen denial.
Arun Jaitley not charismatic
The fact that Jaitley cannot win elections on his own charisma doesn’t affect him as he has the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah by his side to protect him and get him the portfolio where he can be used at convenience. Jaitley actually brings the polish to an otherwise rude faces of the BJP-led NDA government. The demonetisation is a case in point where Jaitley just had to nod his head to Modi’s call as he had to continue as a cabinet minister.
Till few years of coming into power, all was well within the house. Things started tumbling for them as many in the party feel that they are neglected and few in power continue to call the shots at their whims and fancies.
The sequence of events in the last five-year term depict two pictures — first, the government can have its way in anything and everything if they have the mandate and secondly, the government can face the exodus of allies in having its way when the 2019 General elections take place.
The first point is established by now, but the second needs to be validated and that can only happen in May — if it happens at all — when the country will again get a chance to vote a new government to power in this democratic set-up. In May, the earlier mandate won’t matter, but a clear mandate looks uncertain as of now.
However, as the Lok Sabha elections drawing near, the opposition looks scattered and divided and that is where the dispensation can bulldoze its way yet again. By the way, it remains to be seen what the country wants — Is it the might of Modi that will sail again or the united opposition takes fresh guard?