Save Our Democracy UNKA SANKALP, VIPAREET BHARAT! By Aravind Bhatikar


By Aravind Bhatikar

IN Modi’s democracy there are only two options: you either maintain discreet silence or if you are somebody to reckon with, sing praises of Modi and his government. There is also a third option of exercising your right to question the government on its failures. If you choose a third option, you will be called anti-national. The “godi” media will hound you hammer and tongs 24×7. While the vast majority in this most populous democracy in the world chooses the first option, those who need to be in the good books of the government makes supportive noises. The third category of citizens, including the farmers currently agitating for justice on Delhi’s border, are dubbed anti-national.
Elon Musk, who is now the owner of X (formerly known as Twitter), is one of those who values his business more than democratic values. He has withheld the X account of Mandeep Punia and his channel Gaon Savera because Mandeep Punia has been a very strong critic of the Modi government and Punia’s channel has been one of the most popular YouTube channels in the country.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a well-known religious Guru, recently criticized the farmer’s agitation by calling it an action against national interest.

The Congress government in 2004 appointed the National Commission of Farmers under the chairmanship of Dr MS Swaminathan. Dr Swaminathan gave his final report in 2006. The recommendations of the Commission were not accepted by the Congress government. In 2012, Narendra Modi, who was then the chief minister of Gujarat, wrote a letter to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requesting that the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee should be incorporated in a law and implemented. Narendra Modi also made it an election plank before 2014.
However, the BJP government has failed to implement the Swaminathan Commission’s report till date. Indian farmers embarked on a 13 month long agitation on the borders of Delhi. The agitation ended when Prime Minister Modi withdrew the three acts on agricultural prices and regulated markets which had effectively rejected the Swaminathan Commission recommendations and which were widely believed to be favoring the entry of big industry in agriculture. The promises given in 2021 by Prime Minister Modi have not yet been fulfilled. And hence the present agitation.
The present agitation will be remembered for its directionless handling by the government. While on one side 3 ministers of the Central government are keeping farmer-leaders busy with inconclusive talks in Chandigarh, police and paramilitary forces are reportedly firing rubber bullets and drones dropping tear-gas shells on protesting farmers.
The Lok Sabha elections will be held in April-May 2024. The farmer’s agitation and the issue of agricultural prices will be most probably used by Narendra Modi to turn the focus on himself by accepting all the demands of farmers and apologizing for the suffering farmers and their families had to undergo before and during the agitation. During the 13 month long agitation in 2020-2021, about 750 farmers died. One can only hope that the current agitation ends successfully without any damage to life and property.

February 2, 2024

WHILE the post-Pulwama and Balakot nationalist fervour in 2019 was successfully converted by Narendra Modi into a Lok Sabha victory for the second time, Bhagwan Ram of Ayodhya is widely expected to help him grab the prime minister’s throne in Indraprastha in 2024. The necessary hysteria has been painstakingly built up by Modi, Shah and their godi media. While some so called pre-poll surveys have predicted a 300 plus victory for BJP, the myth-managers and spin-doctors of the BJP have now coined the nth slogan, “Iss Baar–Chaar Sau Paar!” Modi himself has been declaring that he would easily win 370 plus seats in the Lok Sabha.
He had begun boasting from the ramparts of the Red Fort in Delhi from August 15, 2023 itself that nobody could stop him from being the prime minister for a third term. He has now begun announcing that he would be taking a big decision in his third term (“Hamaare tisre karyakaal mein hum ek bada faislaa lenge!”).
Notwithstanding the brouhaha about Modi’s expected victory, there is a fear in the inner circle of Modi-Shah duo that the BJP might not reach even the magic number of 272 required to form a government. The nervous and reckless actions of the Modi-Shah duo in the recent past have betrayed their fear and anxiety about their success in 2024. The nervousness was evident when the much coveted Bharat Ratna was announced by the prime minister for Karpoori Thakur, the erstwhile chief minister of Bihar whose legendary policies for the poor and the marginalized people earned universal praise, but whose government was brought down by the Jan Sangh (a political mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party) for his policy on reservations.
Modi thought of Bharat Ratna to Karpoori Thakur as an SOP to Bihar voters. The Bharat Ratna to Chaudhary Charan Singh, irrespective of the merit, was obviously a deal for getting Jayant Chaudhary, Charan Singh’s grandson into the BJP fold. Jayant Chaudhary is widely believed to be incapable of getting for the BJP not more than two seats in the Lok Sabha. The ED pressed the accelerator on its campaign against Nitish Kumar and Hemant Soren with its by now familiar “either join the BJP or be in jail” policy. While they succeeded in netting in Nitish Kumar, Hemant Soren prefers to be in jail.
Experienced political commentators are of the firm view that ED’s forays in Bihar and Jharkhand have proved counterproductive and will reduce the number of seats for the BJP in Lok Sabha in this election. The Bharat Ratna to Dr MS Swaminathan was a hilarious blunder by Modi. What farmers asked for was implementation of Dr Swaminathan’s recommendations made in 2006 and not an award for him. The reduction of the coveted Bharat Ratna to a lowly political tool for entering into pre-election deals, far from succeeding, only betrayed the fear and the insecurity of Modi-Shah duo about their future.
The defiant and impudent hijacking of the mayoral election in Chandigarh and the freezing of the Congress bank accounts are further proof that the Modi-Shah duo will do everything that is required, irrespective of the legality or propriety, to win the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
Why should WE, THE PEOPLE, tolerate such anti-democratic action by the Modi-Shah duo?

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