Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his latest Parliament speech on June 25 recalled it was the day Emergency was proclaimed by the Congress government led by Indira Gandhi. PM Modi’s first address to Parliament after being voted to power came on the 44th anniversary of the Emergency declared by then prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1975. He repeated some points on June 26 too.

Reminding the Congress of the Emergency, PM Modi said it was a blot on democracy that will never fade.

“On the fateful night of June 25, the soul of the country was crushed, the voice nation’s media was stifled, leaders were put behind bars just to save someone’s seat of power. It went against the judicial system,” said PM Modi. PM Modi said that the nation cannot forgive those who were responsible for the act nor can it go back to the dark days of the Emergency.

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks in the Lok Sabha during the ‘Motion of Thanks on President’s Address’, at Parliament in New Delhi, Tuesday, June 25, 2109.(PTI photo)

It was a timely reminder. One must thank the PM for raising this question. And he very often speaks truth as in this case. 

People indeed need to be told about it, the Emergency, again and again. The younger generations, including those in the media, have only a scanty knowledge about this chapter of Indian democracy.

It was in the midnight of June 25, 1975, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had declared a state of emergency across India. The Internal Emergency, as it was called, was in effect from 26 June 1975 until its withdrawal on 21 March 1977.

But before that, a little bit of history of Emergency in Indian politics.

Emergency was not unknown to India. Indira Gandhi was not the pioneer. It was very much there right from the days of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. In fact independent India was born amidst Emergency. But it was supposedly caused by external factors like what were called External threats or acts of war.

The British convention was that Emergency can be there only during periods of war. So war, or threat of war, has been an excuse for the Indian democracy. The first Indo-Pak war was there soon after 1947 August. And Kashmir has been a bone of contention, and kept as a perennial source of war.

Hundreds of communist leaders from across the country were jailed, for months together, during 1962-65. They were under preventive detention,sanctified by DIR or Defence of India Rules, that were being regularly invoked, before and after 1947, to negate all cannons of democracy, simply because they called for peace, to avoid war, by a negotiated settlement of disputes with neighbouring countries, China and Pakistan.The External Affairs Ministry is there, it is run with a huge expenditure, only to do that job.

Preventive detention was not an invention by the new rulers. It has been a regular feature from British times, sanctified by the Article 22 of the Indian Constituition.

Within three hours of the proclamation, electricity to all major newspapers was cut and the political opposition arrested. The proposal was sent without discussion with the Union Cabinet, who had only learnt of it and ratified it the next morning.

Constitutional Autocracy

Democracy, or whatever goes by that name in this country, was given a decent burial by the Emergency, imposed by due Constitutional procedures, and duely upheld by the Supreme Court. Thus it was a constitutional autocracy, and (in)justice rendered as per law.

It was indeed an autocracy that was very much constitutional: The final decision to impose the Internal emergency was proposed by Indira Gandhi, agreed upon by the rubber-stamp president of India, as he was called. The proclamation was issued by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed under Article 352 of the Constitution because of the prevailing “internal disturbance”.

The Home Minister, K. Brahmananda Reddy, a senior politician, and President of AICC for sometime, came to know of that after it was proclaimed. The Cabinet was yet another rubber stamp that thereafter ratified it all, with little discussion. That is how the cabinet system functions in India. It needs to be added: It is no different today under Modi.

The PMO became all powerful under Indira Gandhi. The system continued eversince.

The parliament that met in July 1975 approved the proclamation and itself proved to be yet another rubber stamp. 

As the constitution requires, the Prime Minister advised and the President approved the extension of the Emergency over every six-month period until her decision to hold elections in 1977.

The formal parliamentary democracy was thus observed to bury democracy: All fundamental Rights , including the Right to Life, were suspended under provisions of Emergency, and it was approved by the Supreme Court.

More than one lakh people, including hundreds of elected representatives like MPs and MLAs, were rounded up all over the country, and detained for several months, most of them without any charges! That was what was meant by PD, preventive detention, provided for by Article 22 of the Constitution. So many draconian PD laws like TADA, ESMA,POTA were derived from that provision.

According to Amnesty International, about 140,000 people had been arrested without trial during the twenty months of Gandhi’s Emergency. Thus the Rightists, the Leftists, the communal as well as secular forces, were all put in jail, where they sought to join forces against authoritarianism.

Around 26 organizations were banned : It was a secular ban involving Hindu as well as Muslim communal organizations,like RSS and Jamat-e-Islami, and several Left extremist organizations known as part of M-L (Marxist-Leninist) movement.

The media was gagged by blanket restrictions : Pre-censorship was imposed, i.e.,the copy needed to be submitted not to the Editor, but to the authorities, before it was approved and printed. The media, with very few honorable exceptions,had meekly surrendered: It had crawled when it was actually asked only to bend, as famously described by LK Advani, then in the opposition.

Strikes by workers were banned, ESMA became the norm, declared or otherwise. Hundreds of workers and their leaders were arrested. Compulsory saving was imposed, bonus was cancelled, de-facto wage-freeze enforced.

Today, there are more than one crore contract workers/employees in government/public sector all over India, as per BMS leaders(associated with BJP), who are denied many statutory rights, and denied equal pay for equal work, a constitutional principle; though reiterated in the form of a Supreme Court order almost two years ago, it continues to be denied.One can imagine the plight in private sector.   

Third-degree torture while in custody was most common. It became so common eversince, that even ex-IPS officers like Simranjit Singh Mann had a taste of that. Encounters, i.e., illegal killings became the new norm.

There was developed a committed judiciary, committed to work for the ruling establishment.Most of the Black laws passed judicial scrutiny. Today, independence of judiciary has been a mere notion, the appointments are tweeked. Corruption in highest echelons of judiciary has been an acknowledeged fact, including by judiciary.

The Emergency had a notorious anti-Muslim edge too: In September 1976, Sanjay Gandhi, son of Indira,  initiated a widespread compulsory sterilization, vasectomy, programme, with explicit coercion, to limit population growth, particularly in Muslim areas of old Delhi.Quotas were set up: In 1976–1977, the programme led to 8.3 million sterilisations, most of them forced, up from 2.7 million the previous year. Under the authoritarian regime of Emergency, it could not be without the role of officialdom and police. Wikipedia, cited one instance : Uttawar, a village 80 kilometres south of Delhi, woke up to the police loudspeakers at 03:00. Police gathered 400 men at the bus stop. In the process of finding more villagers, police broke into homes and looted. Total of 800 forced sterilisations were done. Turkmen Gate firings on the poor slum dwellers, many of them being Muslims, was a horrid story.

Most notable feature of Emergency was that it was all done within the ambit of Constitution and law, which after all were and could be bent or amended to suit the ruling party. Rule of law never came to the rescue of the victims in time. One can try to use but not rely on law, was one message of Emergency. 

Stifle Democracy, but not like in Emergency?   

About the same speech, hindustantimes.com reported :

“On the fateful night of June 25, the soul of the country was crushed, the voice nation’s media was stifled, leaders were put behind bars just to save someone’s seat of power. It went against the judicial system,” said PM Modi. PM Modi said that the nation cannot forgive those who were responsible for the act nor can it go back to the dark days of the Emergency.

“Those who were part of the act [Emergency] will never be absolved of their sins. It is important to remember the day to remind ourselves that never again. Never again can any man imagine to stifle the democracy in India the way it was done during the Emergency.”

But many people are fearing the Emergency is already there, we are back to the dark days, of course in an undeclared form. Modi’s senior colleague, LK Advani, ex-Home Minister, went on record hinting at the same, not to speak of others.

 Of course, it is not done “the way it was done during the Emergency.” It is done in more subtle as well as more crude forms.

” Who trampled over the spirit of the Constitution, gagged the media and bullied the judiciary? We can’t forget those dark days,” the prime minister said.

The Justice Shah Commission Report on Emergency atrocities found that most Indian Administrative Service officers accepted orders even though they thought these orders were improper and had political motives. It said “Even the cream of the talent in the country in the administrative field often collapses at the slightest pressure”. It described cases of IAS officers practicing “forging of records, fabrication of ground[s] of detention, ante-dating detention orders, and callous disregard of the rights of detainees as regards revocation, parole, etc.”

Same was the case with police officers. CBI etc became notorious as tools of the ruling party.Intelligence was used for political purposes than for security. So also with tax authorities etc.

People see all those phenomena, equally bad or worse, today, of course without declaring Emergency. 

Earlier in the day, Modi paid homage to all “those greats” who resisted the Emergency and said democracy had prevailed over authoritarianism. “India salutes all those greats who fiercely and fearlessly resisted the Emergency. India’s democratic ethos successfully prevailed over an authoritarian mindset,” he tweeted.

But people see today all such “greats” are today facing worst repression, refused bails. His government repeatedly opposed pleas for bail, even when several Nobel laurettes signed appeals, of writers, artists,academics, democrats, not sparing even women and the handicapped.     

 Jayaprakash Narayan and the like were swapped with sedition charges then by Indira Gandhi. Today, it is routine, and is applied for much smaller people, including students.  

Indira is India, India is Indira, was the slogan of the day given by the then Congress president D. K. Barooah. That was the same tone during the latest election : It is a vote to Modi, not just the candidate. Now parliament is told, on behalf of the Treasury Benches, during the same debate, Modi is Sriram of the new Ram Rajya, and Vivekananda too!

Economic Times reported:

Modi tweeted today: “India remembers the Emergency as a dark period during which every institution was subverted and an atmosphere of fear was created. Not only people but also ideas and artistic freedom were held hostage to power politics.”

Literally the same, and worse, is taking place today, it is widely acknowledged, of course without any formal declaration of Emergency. Writers, RTI activists, and mediapersons are not only harassed, but even killed in cold blood by Hindutva forces, with impunity.

conomictimes.indiatimes.com in its report recalled :

But Modi did not go to jail during Emergency. The reason was his inventive ways to hide himself or move around freely in disguise. After declaring Emergency, Indira started putting opposition leaders in jail. But many leaders wore disguises to avoid arrest so that they could plan a resistance against her. Modi disguised himself as a Sikh to avoid arrest. One report said he carried banned literature to Delhi and met Jan Sangh leaders in jail. A 25-year-old Modi also posed as a sanyasi and took leaders such as George Fernandes to safe houses. A small leader at that time, Modi’s job was to serve as a connector between top leaders and circulate banned literature.”

(//economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/64746156.cms?from=mdr&utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst)

Perhaps the report implied: Modi needs to be emulated in these respects.

In the conclusion of his Making of India’s Constitution, Justice Khanna, a hero of Emergency era, wrote :

“ A constitution is not a parchment of paper, it is a way of life and has to be lived up to. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty and in the final analysis, its only keepers are the people. Imbecility of men, history teaches us, always invites the impudence of power.” 

No jail and no bail are needed now. The new norm is encounters.       

indiatoday.in reported:

Retorting to Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s challenge to the Modi government to send Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to jail, Modi said those out on bail should enjoy themselves. “We are often criticised for not putting certain people behind bars. It is because we abide by the law of the land. Those who are out on bail should enjoy their time while we continue with our fight against corruption.” The courts will decide on people being in jail and bail.

Yes, no jail and no bail are needed now. The new norm is reported thus:

Ahead of (the 2019) Republic Day, the list of achievements by the Uttar Pradesh government includes more than 3,000 encounters and 78 killings between March 2017 and mid-July 2018. In an order issued by chief secretary Anup Chandra Pandey to district magistrates, the Adityanath government wants 3,026 police encounters in which 69 criminals were gunned down, 838 sustained injuries and 7,043 arrested highlighted. As many as 11,981 criminals got their bails cancelled and surrendered in a court.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/republic-day-yogi-adityanath-highlights-3-000-encounters-as-govt-achievement-1439106-2019-01-25

Emergency had revived the tradition of encounter killings, in Andhra Pradesh to begin with: More than 70 people, allegedly Naxalites, were then shot dead. Thousands more were similarly killed later on. As per some estimates, about 10000 people were killed in AP, including Telangana since Emergency. 

It was Congress rule that had indulged in these killings. BJP governments kept up with this pattern, if only with greater vigor: Not only in UP but elsewhere too as in Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat etc with hundreds of encounter killings.

According to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India, there were many cases of alleged fake encounters:

2002–2008 : 440 cases. States with high number of cases were: Uttar Pradesh (231), Rajasthan (33), Maharashtra (31), Delhi (26), Andhra Pradesh (22) and Uttarakhand (19).

2009/10 – February 2013 : 555 cases. States with high number of cases were: Uttar Pradesh (138), Manipur (62), Assam (52), West Bengal (35) and Jharkhand (30).

These figures do not include killings in Naxalite districts, which are shown as part of security-related incidents. And all this is outside Kashmir and North-East where the score is about one lakh killed in the last few decades. People like Justice Krishna Iyer and Kuldip Nayar had visited Kashmir and commented on the atrocities.

“ They are figures that have been quoted so often that they are widely believed to be true: almost 100,000 dead Kashmiri civilians and 10,000 people who have disappeared in the last two decades. From public meetings in small villages to TV studios, from online pages to newspaper reports, these figure are cited and printed…” says a report by Times Of India of June 20, 2011, while refuting the figure. 

TOI accessed Jammu & Kashmir government documents, it says, for period between January 1990 and April 2011: “ In the last 21 years, 43,460 people have been killed in the Kashmir insurgency. Of these, 21,323 are militants, 13,226 civilians killed by militants, 3,642 civilians killed by security forces, and 5,369 policemen killed by militants….”    

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/State-data-refutes-claim-of-1-lakh-killed-in-Kashmir/articleshow/8918214.cms?from=mdr

The data is upto 2011 and it does not include killings in North-east.

And the figures are not a small number.

NHRC itself was admittedly stone-walled from probing deep into these matters. But that requires volumes to be written about which is not possible.              

Maj. Gen. V.K. Singh, a retired officer, has written in an essay in Military Law: Then, Now and Beyond:

“ Units involved in counter insurgency operations may fall to the temptations to show results, which in simple terms, translates into kills. Every dead militant is a feather in the cap of the commanding officer, leading to rewards such as decorations and unit citations. As a result, there is a danger that the Army units may begin to emulate the Police, and start staging “encounters.” It may be recalled that Mr KPS Gill used similar tactics to curb militancy in Punjab, when he was the [director general of police]. The Army was often co-opted in these operations, and learned the techniques at close hand.

BJP has its own quota in Dynastic politics

One of the most popular notions spread by BJP and Modi is about the naamdars, the dynasty. Admittedly it is an anti-thesis of democracy. But it has been an inseparable part of India’s feudal democracy.  Dr K. S. SHARMA (85), a senior political scientist, presented a paper in December 2008 in which he quoted BR Ambedkar extensively:

The following views of Dr.Ambedkar are extracted from the speech he delivered at the concluding session of the All India Trade Union Workers Study Camp held in Delhi from 8th to 17lh September 1943 under the auspices of the Indian Federation of Labour….

There is a great need of someone with sufficient courage to tell Indians – beware of Parliamentary Democracy, it is not the best product, as it appeared to be”…

What is surprising and perplexing is that, even though Dr.Ambedkar had the courage to tell Indians that it is “not the best product” and to be “beware of Parliamentary Democracy”, the question that arises is, why did he subscribe to this form of governance, as the architect of the Indian Constitution?

All political societies get divided into two classes – the rulers and the ruled. This is an evil. If the evil stopped here it would not matter much. But the unfortunate part of it is that the division becomes, stereotyped and stratified so much so that the Rulers are always drawn from the Ruling Class and the class of ruled never becomes the Ruling Class.

 People donot govern themselves; they establish a government and leave it to govern them, forgetting that it is not their government. That being the situation, Parliamentary Democracy has never been a government of the people or by the people and that is why it has never been a government for the people.

 Parliamentary Democracy, not withstanding the paraphernalia of a popular government, is in reality a government of a hereditary subject class by a hereditary ruling class.

It is this vicious organization of political life which has made Parliamentary Democracy such a dismal failure. It is because of this that Parliamentary Democracy has not fulfilled the hope it held out to the common man of ensuring him liberty, property and pursuit of happiness.

(https://countercurrents.org/sharma140416.htm)

Dynasties were once exclusive to Congress led by Nehru-Gandhi family.Now no party other than communists is an exception.

Most of the regional parties, including BJP’s allies, are family enterprises.

But a notion is created that BJP is an exception, which perhaps was once partly true, but not now. BJP has been inviting leaders from well known political families, and now has a bunch of them. It has its own political families like Scindias,Fadnavis,Pramod Mahajan etc.    

BJP No Less Dynastic Than Congress, Lok Sabha Data Show, is the title of an analytical, detailed, report. It says :

However, political dynasties are common across all major parties, as per an IndiaSpend analysis of data compiled by researchers at Harvard University, US, and the University of Mannheim, Germany.

The BJP has had a similar number of ‘dynasts’ amongst its elected parliamentarians over the past two decades as the Congress, shows our analysis of a new dataset containing the biographical profiles of all 4,807 parliamentarians since India’s first parliament in 1952.

Since 1999, the Congress has had 36 dynastic MPs elected to the Lok Sabha, with the BJP not far behind with 31. In 1999, the beginning of the 13th Lok Sabha, 8% of Congress members of parliament (MPs) were either descended from or married to former MPs, only slightly ahead of the 6% among the BJP. The most similar density of dynastic politicians was in 2009 when the Congress and BJP had 11% and 12% dynasts elected, respectively.

Though UP is famously the state where all four generations of the Nehru-Gandhi family have held their constituencies, the BJP has had the highest number of dynasts in power. An estimated 17 of the 51 dynasts from UP have belonged to the BJP, while no more than 15 belong to Congress (six under the Congress (I), an erstwhile faction, and nine under the current INC), and four to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

https://www.indiaspend.com/bjp-no-less-dynastic-than-congress-lok-sabha-data-show/

It has its own political families like Vasundhara Raje, daughter of the late Vijayaraje Scindia, a founder members of the BJP.

Most of its CMs, Dy CMs, Ministers have now political successors. 

Himachal Pradesh CM Prem Kumar Dhumal’s son Anurag Thakur is an MP.

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis comes from a well-known political, Fadnavis family; BJP top leaders  Gopinath Munde and Pramod Mahajan of Maharashtra have quite a few family members as leaders in BJP;  Maharashtra BJP’s youth wing.state BJP leader Eknath Khadse’s daughter-in-law Raksha is a MP; YB Chavan family has Bhaskar Khatgaonkar, an MP from Nanded who joined the BJP in 2014;

UP has Rajveer Singh, son of ex-CM Kalyan Singh. MLA and BJP state general secretary Pankaj Singh is the son of home minister Rajnath Singh. Ex-CM HN Bahuguna family is Rita Bahuguna Joshi, a minister in the current BJP government in UP; Many from ex-PM Lal Bahadur Sastry family became BJP leaders;

Former CM B.S. Yeddyurappa’s sons are active BJP leaders: B.Y. Raghavendra (MP) and B.Y. Vijayendra was the BJP State Yuva Morcha secretary.

Najma Heptulla from Moulana Abdul Kalam’s family was a top BJP leader, Minister,Speaker.

Ex-CM of AP NTR’s daughter Daggubati Purandeswari was a BJP Union Minister.

BJP’s allies are full of political dynasties like Badals in Punjab, Maharashtra’s Thackeray family, Bihar’s Paswans and Nitish kumar’s family. Mufti family from Kashmir.                             

 

Claims of Mandate in a Marketized Democracy

The electoral democracy we have in India is anything but democratic. It is a mockery of democracy.The claims of mandate need to be viewed in this perspective.

Winning and retaining power at any cost is the only principle in India’s electoral democracy.Telling lies, spreading rumours, inciting and using passions and emotions are all permissible. Post-truth is the norm.

Times of India reported :

“ In his first major speech in Parliament after he led BJP back to a majority on its own, Modi repeatedly said Congress had lost touch with ground reality while the verdict was a vindication of the hard work put in by his government. “There is no greater satisfaction than to know that our work and vision have been rewarded,” he said.

Linked to Modi’s remarks on Emergency were his claims of mandate. Public memory is short, they say. Even media has selective amnesia. Some are however careful to qualify their data pertains to the last 30 years or so. These claims need to be analysed a bit and put in perspective. The record mandate won by BJP in recent past is lower than the vote polled by Indira’s Congress in her worst period.

While lifting the Emergency, Indira Gandhi had called for parliament election in early 1977 which she lost heavily, thanks to an anti-Emergency, anti-authoritarian alliance of political parties and forces.

In fact that was the first time Congress lost power at the Centre after 1947. The Congress led by her won in 153 seats, and got 189 seats including allies.The Congress got 34.5 percent , and the alliance, 41 percent of polled vote.

 It may be noted that this vote of the defeated, nay routed, Indira Congress was higher than the later-day winner, 31.4 percent got by Modi-led BJP, and 38 percent by NDA in 2014.

The then newly-formed Janata Party, which included those of present BJP, had won 298 seats, and 43 percent vote; almost like BJP today that won 303 seats. Including allies, the Janata party got 345 seats, and 51.89 percent votes. For comparison, it may be noted, the BJP now in 2019 polled 37.4 percent vote but got 56 % seats; and NDA got 45 percent to win 353 (65%) seats.

Modi in Varanasi polled 63.6 % votes out of about 59 % turnout,i.e., he got about 38.4 % of total votes in Varanasi.   

Obviously, the vote is nowhere near 50 percent of polled vote which is insisted by many countries to be called a mandate to rule. The formal definition of democracy as the rule by the majority was never conceived or practised in India.    

There is more important aspect to be noted. The parties, it is estimated, for instance by CMS, had spent about Rs 70 to 90 thousand crores for the 540 plus parliament seats. Each seat cost around Rs. 166 cr. Out of 90 crore voters on the lists, about 60 crore voted in 2019. thus it cost Rs 1000 per vote listed, or Rs 1500 per vote polled. It included money paid to the voter to buy his vote, all this openly. More than 75 percent of it was spent by BJP. It is not to deny the role of politics…politics of communalism, caste, muscle power, manipulation, doles, lubricated by a flood of liquor. People are reduced into voting cattle.

It is a mandate purchased in a Marketized Democracy, aided by cyber tech. Not only votes are purchased, but party tickets are a commodity, purchased or auctioned.

The anti-defection law has been reduced into a mockery. Both before and after the vote. MLAs and MPs are purchased and sold in an open market economy. Parties, ideologies, manifestos are all mere show-pieces.

It is more like M&A — Mergers and Acquisitions in the corporate sector. After all,democracy has been reduced into electoral politics which has been converted into a corporate business serving the corporates, MNCs, big landlords and contactors.

The election system with no proportional representation could see highly distorted results. For instance, BJP with its 37.4 percent vote should get around 200 seats. But it got 300. NDA got 353, whereas it is eligible to get 245 or so. In 2014, BSP got not a single Loksabha seat despite a vote share of 20 percent in UP, and 4.1 percent all India. Contrast this with Shiv Sena that got 18 Loksabha seats with 1.7 perecent of all India votes polled.

The system of winner takes all is designed to subvert representative character. Strictly speaking it is not a genuine representative democracy.

We often hear about attempts at empowerment of this or that section of people. Obviously we have perfected a system of so-called representative democracy where we the people are dis-empowered. We have an electoral democracy where people have no initiative, they are powerless and helpless.

Defections before and after the vote render the party system meaningless. Whatever the omissions and commissions, there is no scope to question. There is no right to recall those who cheated people one way or the other. Amit Shah acknowledges jumlas in polls.

Candidates with criminal antecedents, including grave crimes like rape, murder, kidnap, crimes against women get elected again and again. Amit Shah is among such a galaxy, and is most apt to be the Home Minister, according to the political observers.

 233 MPs (out of 539) of the current House have declared criminal cases against them, 44 % up since 2009. In 2014, they were 185(34% of winners); in 2009 it was 162 / 30 %.

159 MPs now have serious criminal cases, 87 of them, the highest in number, being from BJP. Serious criminal cases were against 112 MPs in 2014, and 76 in 2009. Other parties are not lagging behind.     

The elected representatives, as per affidavits submitted by themselves, in overwhelming proportions are crorepatis; many of whose income grew since last election. Current House has 475 crorepatis including 265 from BJP. It does not mean they have assets of one crore only. Average assets per MP is about Rs.21 Cr.(ADR data)

Arun Jaitley was at the top of the list of crorepatis, and he was the most fitting as Finance MInister in the last cabinet.            

 Electoral democracy has replaced all notions of real democracy in content.

Those speaking about the massive mandate of Modi-led BJP/NDA, including Modi-Amit Shah duo, should better keep in mind the above details.

***                 ***

There was a silver-lining to an otherwise dark chapter. Emergency had given rise to several mass movements and organizations for civil and democratic rights all over India.

OPDR, Organization For Protection Democratic Rights, AP, was formed in early 1970s to meet local needs following Srikakulam adivasi movement. About 350 people, mostly communist revolutionaries and adivasis who led that movement, were shot dead in police encounters and hundreds were jailed. Thus OPDR took shape before the 1975 emergency, so was APCLC.

And the experience of Emergency gave rise to many such organizations like PUCL, PUDR, OCDR, CPDR, APDR, most of them formed in the aftermath of Emergency. People like Justice Krishna Iyer, as in his address to a OPDR Conference, stressed the need for such movements irrespective of the party in power, for all parties while in power, he pointed out,  indulged in repression.

But the scenario has changed a lot for them too.

Undeclared Emergency an inseparable part of Indian electoral democracy

Now the rulers learnt it all better from Indira Gandhi’s political and electoral experience : there is no need to declare Emergency. For decades now, they perfected a state of perennial, undeclared Emergency: It was not, is not, an aberration, but inseparable part of Indian democracy. Mrs. Indira Gandhi was called authoritarian, and rightly so. But now the rulers are not called as such, they are ‘democrats’, who claim they got a mandate, with the art and craft of undeclared Emergency perfected. It is a crafty democracy.  

Now, there is no need for express and explicit censorship of media.The media has a self-censorship most of the time. It is more misinformation and disinformation they disseminate. There is a flood of social media that sells falsehood, rumours and poison. It is found to be working better than legal bans and restrictions.

There is no fear of electoral defeats too. Parties and leaders with worst record of crime and corruption, suppression and massacres, lynchings and hate speeches, and with hundreds of encounters, can get back to power.

 It is as if people love to elect the most corrupt, criminals, crorepatis, dynasts and such other candidates as their leaders! And they claim the mandate!

As Modi said, the entire world is looking at India. And as BJP leaders say, the entire world is looking at Modi!         


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2 Comments

  1. The article exposed well the BJP’s duplicity on dynastic politics. BJP despite being a late ruling party at Centre already has many dynastic leaders coming up the political ladder. Some more names can be added to those listed in the article.
    Union Minister Piyush Goyal, is the son of the late BJP Treasurer Ved Prakash Goyal.
    Senior Minister Ravishankar Prasdad is the son of Thakur Prasad of Patna who was a leading founding member of Jansangh, predecessor of BJP.
    Union Minister Maneka Gandhi and her son Varun Gandhi, of Indira Gandhi family, are BJP leaders from UP.
    Minister of State for Home Kiran Rijiju is the son of Rinchin Kharu, who was the first pro-tem speak of Arunachal Pradesh.
    BJP leader and MP Lalji Tandon’s son Asutosh is a BJP MLA from Lucknow East.
    Former Delhi CM Sahib Singh Verma’s son Parvesh Singh Verma is an MP from Delhi. Former Delhi Assembly Speaker Charthi Lal Goel’s son is current union Minister Vijay Goel.
    Then there is Jayant Sinha, MP from Hazaribagh and a Union Minister, the son of BJP veteran Yashwant Sinha who last year severed his links with BJP.
    Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, touted as a CM aspirant in Odisha, is the son of Debendra Pradhan, who was a Minister in the Vajpayee government.
    Chandra Kumar Bose, grand nephew of Subhas Chandra Bose is a vice-president of BJP Bengal unit and unsuccessfully contested against Mamata Banerjee

    Sheik Salim grand nephew of ex-President Kalam joined and vigorously campaigned for BJP. Syed Ibrahim, another relative of Kalam was BJP Minority Morccha Vice President.

    Odisha’s feudal families are in BJP like Sangeeta singhdeo as MP, and her husband KV Singhdeo is BJP Legislature party leader of BJP. Ex-CM Giridhar Gomang’s son Sisir Gomang is BJP leader from Gunupur

    M.Bapuji