“Achhe Din Ayenge” was the ‘big-bang-theory’ of Modi during his election campaign in 2014. “Sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas” was another ‘big-bang-theory’ during the election in 2019. Through this he highlighted the need of public participation for people welfare, which leads to welfare of the entire humanity. Modi and his party had very cleverly ‘ensured’ that they get the absolute majority and come back to power in 2019.
On 30 May 2020 Modi and his party completed one year of the second term. The party had a mega celebration with virtual rallies and online conferences. On the occasion, the Prime Minister, in an open letter to the citizens of the country listed out some of the major achievements made by his government, including the criminalisation of Triple Talaq, abrogation of Article 370, settlement of the Ram Temple issue and the amendment to the Citizenship Act. Speaking on the occasion, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the Modi government has corrected many “historic wrongs” in its six years of tenure. The party seems to have planned to reach 10 crore people and hand over the personal letter of Modi.
When we carefully look at everything that happened during the past 6 years of BJP- regime, we will understand that Modi and his government have ushered in ‘good days’ for a privileged group comprising of all the rich people and multi-crore corporate companies in India. For a vast majority of the people in India ‘bad days’ started right from day number one of Modi regime.
Good days for some: Modi ushered in real good days for ‘super-duper’ corporates
Among the prominent names are Vijay Mallya, who owes Rs.9,000 crore to a group of banks; Nirav Modi, his wife Ami Modi, brother Neeshal Modi and uncle Mehul Choksi, named in the Rs.12,636 crore fraud at Punjab National Bank; Jatin Mehta of Winsome Diamonds, who owes Rs.7,000 crore; former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi, accused of siphoning off Rs.125 crore from the country’s cricket board; and Sterling Biotech Ltd directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara and Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara for alleged bank fraud of Rs.5,000 crore.
The lesser-known names include Ashish Jobanputra, promoter of Mumbai-based textile export firm ABC Cotspin Private Ltd, and his wife in a ‘bill discounting scam’ of Rs.770 crore and for causing losses to banks; diamond trader Ritesh Jain for illegally taking Rs.1,500 crore out of the country; Surender Singh, Angad Singh and Harsahib Singh for cheating and criminal conspiracy; Sabhya Seth for a fraud of Rs.390 crore against Oriental Bank of Commerce; and Sanjay Bhandari for alleged tax evasion of Rs.150 crore.
Nilesh Parekh of Shree Ganesh Jewellery House, accused of a Rs.2,223 crore bank fraud, was arrested by CBI last year after he returned to India to join the probe. There is little to no public information about the rest of the names. Very recently RBI had written off almost 67,000 crores of loans taken by the rich defaulters. All other corporates like Ambani and Adani are enjoying huge financial benefits given by the ruling government.
The retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Ranjan Gogoi was nominated to Rajya Sabha on 16 March 2020. It has become an ‘open secret’ that this promotion was a ‘return gift’ by the BJP for some of his historical judgements favouring BJP. There are many other officials in the Election Commission, CBI and RBI who have received favours from Modi government just for ‘dancing according to the BJP’s tune’. Among other ‘privileged people’ are the BJP MPs, Central Ministers, BJP ruled state Chief Ministers and their MLAs. They are given full freedom to do whatever ‘undemocratic things’ they want like spreading violence through ‘hate speeches’ (e.g. Desh ke gaddaron ko goli maro, saalon ko), ‘horse-trading’ to pull down government ruled by the opposition party (e.g. Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh). No ‘qualification or experience’ required to hold important Ministries like Home, Finance, Defence, Human Resource Development and Foreign Affairs etc. of the central government as well state governments. Modi has become a ‘god-father’ for all of them protecting and shielding them. Government-run/sponsored media and its journalists are also considered as a privileged group. They are given freehand to spread false propaganda about opposition parties and promote the Hindutva ideology of BJP. Such media persons too are well protected (e.g. Arnob Goswami).
Bad days for many: Prashanth Bhushan, senior advocate had predicted in March 2019: “If the BJP government comes to power again at the Centre, it means an end of civilisation, democracy and the entry of fascism in India”. After one year of Modi.02 Prashanth Bhushan says, “ Diversity is our strength. In a historical perspective, we choose secularism as this is the basic ethos of our nation. Now the country is run by the BJP-RSS and their propaganda. Politics of ‘hate and divide’ is ruling. There is nobody who can challenge it. All the pillars of democracy seem to be futile before them. They are indulging in so many scams but there is no remorse on their faces. Why? Because they know that now they have established themselves firmly in power and they have brought the system under their control. During Emergency, our democracy was put at risk but in Modi’s tenure, democracy itself is being demolished. The country is being turned into a mobocracy, a ‘lynchistan’. Dalits and Muslims are being assaulted gruesomely but the entire system is remaining a silent witness to all this. The culprits are left scot free in every incident of violence. Cases are being filed on the families of the victims and deceased instead”.
Further he explains on Modi’s functioning: “Modi government has brought a great havoc. He has reduced the media into ‘instruments of spreading hate’. Anyone, who speaks against Modi, is lynched by a mob on the streets. Minorities, especially Muslims are targeted. Modi has wrecked the economy with his absolutely ridiculous, unthought-out policies like demonetisation and many others. Far from creating jobs, Modi government has actually destroyed more than one crore jobs in the last one year alone. All institutions, whose job is to find out the facts and put them on the table, are under attack. People are asked to rely on ‘propaganda’. We have never had any a situation where four senior judges of the Supreme Court addressed a press conference saying that Modi government has put democracy in danger by controlling the Chief Justice.
For the last 30 years the Election Commission was thought to be independent. Today we are saying that the EC is condoning gross violations of the ‘code of conduct’ by the Prime Minister and the leader of BJP. All anti-corruption institutions have been wrecked. The Lokpal has not been appointed till now. The CBI Director wanted to investigate the Rafale deal. Suddenly he was removed in an overnight coup at 2 am. Now every anti-corruption investigation requires the permission of the government. It is like taking the permission from a thief to investigate a theft”.
Farming society : It is reported that between 1998 and 2018, around three lakh farmers committed suicide in our country, often by drinking pesticides themselves. (Sainath P. "India's agrarian crisis has gone beyond the agrarian"). They felt ashamed to live in the midst of their friends and relatives for their failure to pay back. They lived by and died in the agricultural fields believing in mother earth. Farmers proved that they are real patriots as they valued the duty to pay back nation’s money as higher than their living.
Student community : During 2019-2020 India has witnessed the ‘worst attacks’ on the university students in various parts of the country. The police force was used an instrument to in all these attacks. Higher education of thousands of students has become a question mark. They are still in darkness. Moreover, the Hindutva philosophies are forced upon the school/college/university curriculum. Today’s education system is playing with the lives of students.
Unemployed : Consumer Pyramids House-hold Survey data from Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy ( CMIE) shows youngsters in the age group 20-24 years accounted for 11% of those who lost jobs while they constituted 8.5% to the total employed persons in the country in 2019-20. “34.2 million of these young men and women were working in 2019-20. In April 2020 their numbers were down to 20.9 million,” it said. T here is a job loss of 40 million people (MRD report), mostly in the unorganized sectors. One in every four in rural India is unemployed. Unemployment rate in India as on 27 May 2020 was 24.0% (Urban: 26.5% and Rural 22.9%). Economists believe despite the opening up of the economy, it will take a long time for unemployment situation to come back to the pre-COVID-19 period.
CAA protesters : The image from the anti-CAA protest at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh is a reminder of Muslim women organising themselves, perhaps for the first time in independent India, to take on a central government for a political cause suspected to be aimed at marginalising their community further. Challenging their popular perception of being voiceless women under burqas, they became fiery citizens demanding their right to be counted as equals – not relenting to pressure from the administration and police. The Shaheen Bagh protest helped the Muslim women all over the country to organise themselves like never before during the first year of Modi 2.0. Unfortunately, these groups became targets for police attacks. The arrogant government never gave-in to their demands. In the wake of Covid-19 the protestors were forced to give-up their protests
Muslim community : In February 2020 northeast Delhi witnessed riots caused chiefly by Hindu mobs against Muslims. Plumes of dark air went up into the skies as hundreds of houses were looted and burnt, markets turned into ashes, people killed and maimed, homes and mosques vandalised and businesses lost. It attracted massive international attention as the signifier of what was unfolding on India’s capital at a time when US President and Modi were “discussing geo-politics and lunched in another part of the city”. Leaders celebrated while Delhi burnt!
Girl children and women : “Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao” had become a meaningless jargon long back. People in power are rarely bothered about the increasing child sexual abuses, child trafficking, unending rapes and increasing gender discriminations. During the lockdown ‘online sex trade’ had become a booming business. After the re-opening of liquor shops, domestic atrocities on women and children have increased. Human Rights Commission has been a silent observer.
Rural people: On 3 June one Tamil TV channel showed a remote village in Tamil Nadu where the people walk 3 KMs to fetch water. On 4 June a newspaper in Bengaluru carried a news about an interior village near Chikmagalur where people carry the dead body of an aged woman for 2 KMs to cremate. The reason is that there is no road and hence no vehicle can go to that village. All their petitions to the government have gone into the dustbin. If such situations prevail in southern states, what about the northern states. Even after 72 years of Independence, there is still no electricity, potable water, road and public transport in many villages of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgargh, Jharkhand and Odisha. Where is “Sabka vikas”?
Migrant workers : With an instant loss of job, no surety of food supply and shelter due to the lack of any preparedness for the national lockdown in most states, thousands of poor migrant labourers – a huge unacknowledged contributor to India’s growth story – were left with no option but to walk hundreds of kilometres with their families to reach home. Photos of the burnt feet of those walking barefoot on hot tarred roads have only signified the arduousness of their journey. Thus far, more than 400 (reported and unreported figure) have lost their lives due to the lockdown, many of them on India’s streets/roads/railway tracks because of the sordidly planned measure announced by the Modi government.
Loss of innocent lives : Total number of coronavirus cases in India has crossed 2 lakhs. More than 6000 people have lost their lives. Should we call this a natural disaster? Never! It is a human-made disaster. What crime have these 2 lakhs people committed to be attacked by the deadly virus? Who will take the blame for the loss of 6000 plus lives? Please note that the ‘government figures’ are NOT reliable and realistic. As per one Tamil newspaper on 3 June, more than 500 people have died due to coronavirus in Chennai alone. Shocking! The number of people died in private hospitals are not included by the health department. Although many have died due coronavirus, the hospitals have mentioned ‘different causes’ for such deaths. If door-to-door tests are conducted in India, the number will be alarming – in crores. Over these dead bodies, the ruling government is celebrating the first anniversary of Modi.02. Shame on them!
The conclusion of Prashanth Bhushan’s criticism is: “What Modi has done to Indian society, to our Constitution, to our thought itself, is something far more insidious. I say, in the name of democracy, constitution, science, reason and civilisation, the Modi government must go”. The veteran Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge has made an open appeal to Modi to resign. Should a government that celebrates its failures continue to be in power? Millions of common people are fed up with the BJP rule. Through social media many of them express their views boldly on Modi’s failures. However, we know that Modi government will never budge to any amount of pressure since they have the absolute majority. At this stage, we can only blame our fate and have a hope against hope that Modi and his colleagues will introspect, accept their failures, mend their crooked ways, become ‘pro-poor’ and lead the nation in the right direction.(Published on 8th June 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 24)