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Politics without Principle

M L Satyan M L Satyan
17 Jun 2024

Many years ago, Mahatma Gandhi spoke about seven crimes. One of them is "Politics without principle." We need to appreciate Gandhiji for brilliantly analysing the political scenario of his time and the future. After the more than two-month-long election festival, the people's mandate, given to the political parties, is before us.

Surprisingly, no political party got a clear mandate to form the government. In 2014, the BJP got 31% of the votes and 282 seats, which increased to 37.3% and 303 seats in 2019. In 2024, the BJP's vote share is just 36.56% with 240 seats. It means that out of 100, only 36 people voted for BJP, and the remaining 64 are against BJP. It is to be noted that from 2014 to 2023, the country was ruled not by BJP but only by Modi. In the 2024 elections, there was no sign of the BJP. Only Modi fought the election alone, assuring the people with "Modi Guarantee". He also said, "Ab ki bar, Modi sarkar". That was the confidence he had in himself. Modi has always been a "power-crazed man". Right from Gujarat, he has tasted what power is. Hence, he is in no mood to let that power go from his hands. It is to be noted that the "M" (Modi) factor, which was seen till this election, has changed into the "N" (NDA) factor.

This time, Modi got 54.24% votes in Varanasi, while the Congress candidate, Ajay Rai, received 40.74%. Modi's vote share in Varanasi in 2019 was 63.62%. Now, it has reduced to just 54.24%. The valid question is: Does Modi have a mandate with just 36.56% vote (national level)? Since the BJP cannot form the government alone, Modi sought support from the smaller parties in NDA, especially the Telugu Desam of Chandrababu Naidu and the Janta Dal (United) of Nitish Kumar. Now, Modi does not utter his name anymore. His main mantra has become NDA. Today, we see a "double-engine sarkar" – i.e. Modi and Naidu-Nitish. How long will this alliance work? No one knows. We have to wait and watch.

At this juncture, it is really worth recalling an Open Letter to Narendra Modi written by Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the former governor of West Bengal, in May 2014, published in The Hindu on May 19, 2014. He wrote: "Mr. Modi, I must move to why your being at India's helm disturbs millions of Indians. You know this more clearly than anyone else that in the 2014 election, voters voted, in the main, for Modi or against Modi. It was a case of 'Is Narendra Modi the country's best guardian – desh ka rakhvala – or is he not?' The BJP has won the seats it has because you captured the imagination of 31 per cent of our people (your vote share) as the nation's best guardian, in fact, as its saviour."

"It has also to be noted that 69 per cent of the voters did not see you as their rakhvala. Why is there, in so many, so much fear, that they dare not voice their fears? It is because when you address rallies, they want to hear a democrat who carries the Peoplehood of India with him, not an Emperor who issues decrees. All religious minorities in India, not just the Muslims, bear scars in their psyche even as Hindus and Sikhs displaced from West Punjab, and Kashmiri Pandits do. Dalits and Adivasis, especially the women, live and relive humiliation and exploitation every minute of their lives."

"The constant tug of unease because of slights, discrimination, victimisation is de-citizenising, demoralising, and dehumanising. Mass fear, Mr. Modi, cannot be an attribute of the Republic of India. I am not one of those who wanted to see you reach the high office that you have reached. You know better than anyone else, that while many millions are ecstatic that you have become Prime Minister, many more millions are, in fact disturbed, greatly disturbed by it."

Indian politics has witnessed a 'strange political era' ever since the BJP came to power. As the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi did all possible groundwork to capture the position of Prime Minister in 2014. He succeeded in making a "back-door entry" to occupy the same chair again in 2019. To his bad luck, he has emerged as a man of contradictions. The examples given below and his own "statements" made on various occasions, times, and places will serve as evidence:

• He was born twice – (a) the date of birth known to the public is 17-09-1950. (b) the date of birth mentioned in his Degree Certificate is 29-09-1949.

• Modi told the public that he sold tea at Vad Nagar railway station at the age of 6. Strangely, there were only railway tracks in Vad Nagar at that time. Actually, the railway station at Vad Nagar was built in 1973. If Modi had been born in 1950, he would have been 23 when the station came into existence.

• Modi claimed to have led a 'hidden life' during the Emergency. Yet, he seems to have completed his UG Course at Delhi University in 1978 without any Graduation Certificate.

• In 1983, he completed his post-graduation studies in "Entire Political Science." Strangely, he was the only student who had taken a course on this subject. He wrote the exam alone and obtained the PG Certificate alone. No student has been found to be his classmate, and no professor has been found who taught him. Even Gujarat University professors were unaware of such a subject in the University Syllabus/Curriculum.

• Ten years before and after 1978, the University Certificates were written by hand. However, Modi obtained a "Computerised Certificate" in 1978. Interestingly, Microsoft's 'Approved Font' of 1992 was used in 1978 to print a certificate for Modi. Another surprising fact is that this Certificate was printed on a 'Sunday' (when all offices and institutions usually remain closed).

As the CM of Gujarat, he was one of the prime and strong opponents of the Congress Party and the UPA government. Whatever he considered a 'curse' during the UPA period has become a 'blessing' during his regime. I wish to highlight some of the important issues that he 'vehemently opposed' in the past but are 'vigorously promoted' by him now. They are: Goods and Services Tax (GST), Aadhar Card, Foreign Direct Investment, India-China Relationship, Indian Railways and Ram Temple-Ram Rajya. In short, Modi has failed in all sectors due to 'poor governance'. To name a few: the demonetisation killed the overall economy; faulty GST wounded businesses; the Chinese incursion hurt the sentiments of the Indian people, and the gross mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic led to humanitarian, health and economic crises all at once. During the UPA regime, from 2005 to 2014, about 270 million people came out of poverty. Shockingly, under the BJP government, about 400 million people are facing the risk of sinking into poverty since March 2020. During the UPA period, the unemployment rate was 2 to 4.9%, whereas it has risen to more than 11% during the BJP period.

There is a saying that when a cat closes its eyes, it thinks the whole world is sleeping. Likewise, Modi believes that whatever he 'blindly speaks or does' will be 'blindly accepted' by the people. In the recent campaigns during the parliamentary election, he referred to Muslims by name as "infiltrators" who produce "more children" who would get India's wealth if his opponents took power. On the other hand, he allied with the TDP in Andhra Pradesh, knowing that the TDP had made many promises to the Muslim community. Modi was aware that TDP supports Muslims in the state. "Bluff and Rule" has become Modi's motto.

Modi has taken people from all walks of life for a big ride, and he continues to do so. He seems to have an immense courage to lie, cheat and contradict himself without any 'prick of conscience'. He does all these with a selfish agenda to be in power for a long time because he has tasted all the pleasures of being in power – i.e. undemocratic style of functioning, costly lifestyle, highly trained security, sophisticated car and a 5-star style plane (Sky Home) costing 8,458 crores etc. Probably, this is what Gandhiji called "Pleasure without conscience" and "Politics without principle".

Once, while criticising the UPA government, Modi said, "There is a limit for hypocrisy." Today, we all need to ask him, "Modi-ji! Is there no limit to your hypocrisy?" I wish to join Gopalkrishna Gandhi and say, "I am not one of those who wanted to see Modi 3.0. While many millions may be ecstatic about Modi 3.0, many more millions are, in fact, disturbed, greatly disturbed by it.

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