The recent judgement of the Supreme Court prohibiting political parties from seeking votes in the name of religion, caste, race, community or language has unambiguously set up a landmark in SC’s decisions and proved once again, of its inevitable need in the better functioning of a democratic dominion.
Nevertheless, I personally believe this ruling is at odds with ground realities. It’s a matter of time till political parties find different ways to bypass the law. No democracy in the world is free of identity politics. We recently witnessed the US presidential election where race was a crucial electoral issue. Politics and appeasement using religion and ethnicity of refugees is not a new trend in Europe.
In India itself, identity-based movements have helped the marginalised sections of the society in promulgating their grievances ad their afflictions but on the other side of the coin, it certainly has helped certain sections of the society in mobilising people on the basis of identity and instigating them against another identity or section by emotionally charging them. Be it the Dalit-centric politics of the main political parties or identity-based appeals made by regional parties. People belonging to certain communities have developed a kind of inclination towards those parties whose appeals are more identity-centric.
For now, the ball is in time’s hand. Let’s hope that political parties will comply with this ruling. We know, we are expecting too much as India with its immense diversity can’t be immune to such politics.