The Shah of Bharatiya Janata Party has spoken and the whole country is listening. In fact, after May 2019 there is a seismic shift in the pecking order Shah has taken over the role of the main lead piloting trendsetting or state-breaking bills and policy-laying statements. Two recent announcements have left the nation thinking and the opposition fuming.
To set the cat among the pigeons he intentionally or inadvertently chose the Hindi Diwas to make a simple announcement that Hindi should be the national language. The seasoned demagogue that he is, it is hard to believe that it was an off the cuff remark. The timing shows that it was part of a cunning strategy. It changed the topic and subject of the national debate from basic issues and allowed the likes of Rajnikant and Kamal Hasan, political newbies, something to shout about. Even an insecure Yeddy of BJP got a straw to grab to save his sinking political image.
The second gaffe of the Shah of misstatements is about future of the multiparty democracy in India. Speaking before a captive audience of friendly businessmen, the all-knowing Shah pontificated that after 70 years of misrule by Congress people have lost faith in multi-party democratic system envisaged by the makers of our Constitution. It is only a non-corrupt party with absolute majority that can take hard and tough decisions and so the story of development began only in 2014.
This statement is like Shah’s favourite weapon in Kashmir, i.e. the pellet gun, hitting so many targets in one go. First of all the bete noire of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress and its leaders were smeared with the tar of non-performance. Secondly, the very idea of a multi-party democracy was trashed in no uncertain term. Only the Bharatiya Janata Party can explain what a single-party democracy is. Thus both democracy and other parties were condemned in one go. Just imagine if there are no other parties, what difference remains between a democracy and an autocracy or oligarchy.
The anti-democratic mindset is further exposed by the statements of rajyapal (governor) of Jammu and Kashmir, who declared that “no elected government” could have done the development work as was done by the centre-controlled (puppet) governor.
Such statements by the likes of home minister and governor, two important guardians of the Constitution, against the efficacy of multi-party democracy are in themselves undesirable and likely to subvert the very system which has catapulted such dignitaries into powerful position they occupy today.
In fact it is a very subtle move, these inflammatory pronouncement made from public platforms are actually not meant for public consumption or to influence public opinion but are dog whistles calling the faithful to keep in contact with faithful, collect them and keep the flock of devout together.
Call it a tragedy or beauty, depending on which side of the divide you stand, of parliamentary democracy. One needs to identify and consolidate a group of gullible voters whom one can befool all the time with promises of Rs 15 Lakh in bank account or Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas or Naya Kashmir or New India, the list keeps growing. This captive pool of voters is taken for a ride and lead up the garden path and anyone who tries to alert them about the emperor’s new clothes is dubbed anti-national, Pak-parast.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.