By Aravind Bhatikar

“Eko aham, dwitiyo naasti,
Na bhooto, na bhavishhyati”
(I am the only one, there is nobody else,
There was nobody in the past, nor will there be anybody in future!)
LOUIS XIV, a 17th century French dictator said, “I am the State.” Has this dictator been re-born as Narendra Modi, 385 years later in Vadnagar in Mehsana district, in Gujarat? For those who believe in rebirth, this could be a challenging subject for research!
Historians must have begun writing a fitting epitaph Indian democracy which breathed its breaths on May 28, 2023 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi anointed himself as the unchallenged dictator of our “Mother of Democracy.”
Modi made his intentions clear when he laid the foundation stone of the new Parliament building on December 10, 2020 instead of asking the then President Ram Nath Kovind to do the honours. Now he has inaugurated the new Parliament himself instead of allowing the Constitutional head of the country President Droupadi Murmu to do so. Opposition leaders throughout the country have condemned this insult to President Murmu. They have pointed out that the act of preventing Ram Nath Kovind and Draupadi Murmu from performing their Constitutional duty smacks of prejudices against the scheduled caste and tribes of the country.
A narcissist Prime Minister of India has unleashed forces that are bound to break India’s federal structure enshrined in the Constitution. The narcissism was evident when 16 of 17 Vande Bharat Express trains were flagged off by Narendra Modi himself. It became evident to the whole world when India was reportedly the only country where Modi’s picture was seen on Covid-19 inoculation certificates.
The new Parliament’s inaugural ceremony was boycotted by 19 Opposition political parties representing about 50% of India’s voters. Thirteen roads around the new Parliament building were closed to traffic for 10 hours for security reasons during the inaugural ceremony. Subramanian Swamy has alleged that “tantric pooja” was performed to bless the occasion and that such tantric pooja harms the person responsible for the same. Swamy has also reportedly cited the example of the demon king Ravana who Hindu religious mythology records as having performed tantric pooja before the war with Lord Ram, which eventually led to Ravana’s defeat and death.
The Opposition parties not only boycotted the inaugural ceremony of the new Parliament building, eight Opposition chief ministers refused to attend the recent “Neeti Ayog” meeting as a mark of protest against the harassment meted out to them by the CBI, ED and Income-Tax Department. The death-knell of the Indian federal structure was sounded first when the Central government wanted the chief secretary of Bengal to attend a meeting called by Prime Minister Modi in that state at a time when the chief secretary was busy with his Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banarjee and she refused to relieve him to attend the PM meeting. The recent ordinance promulgated by the Modi government, to bypass the verdict of the Supreme Court in favour of Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal, is another nail in the coffin of Indian federation.
The narcissism and the “eko aham…” mentality of Prime Minister Modi is bound to rupture the Indian federal structure more and more, especially when the Opposition parties are increasingly getting united and more aggressive.

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