The following are points summed up to describe the previous term of the BJP government and in the face of the results of this election, it seems incredibly important to refresh our minds with these and hope the government does so too. By the end of it, you will realize the significance of the title of this article, if you haven’t already!
1) Religion: the BJP government has made a joke of religion. The very fact that India is and has been a secular country promoting every and in essence no religion has been severely challenged. There has been a sharp rise in communal attacks in the past five years. According to NDTV, from May 2014 to the present, there have been 124 instances of hate speech by 45 politicians, as opposed to 21 instances under the UPA, a rise of 490%.
Out of the 45, 78% belong to the BJP and of the total, only 5% were reprimanded by the government. Well, no surprises there! Yogi Adityanath, before being made CM of UP, gave 6 such comments and I quote two of them, “There is no difference between the language of Shah Rukh Khan and that of Hafiz Saeed,” and, “In places where there are 10 to 20% minorities, stray communal incidents take place.” Additionally, “Where there are 20 to 35% of them, serious communal riots take place and where they are more than 35%, there is no place for non-Muslims.”
2) Safety of women: while the BJP was emphasizing on ‘beti bachao, beti padhao,’ the sex ratio worsened. The women’s reservation bill passed by the Congress in 2010, is still pending in the Lok Sabha, even though the BJP government has a majority in the house. Rapes of Dalit women stood at 2326 in 2015. In fact, one of the accused in the infamous Unnao rape case was a BJP lawmaker himself. Another BJP politician came received flak for telling a youngster to “kidnap a girl he likes.” This is how the BJP has promoted safety for women.
3) Right to privacy: the ultimate assault on the fundamental right to privacy was when 10 central agencies were authorized to intercept information from any computer. Another such instance was the Aadhaar card which ordered mandatory linking to all possible services, wherein the Supreme Court had to step in and curtail its domination.
Moreover, I strongly disbelieve that it is the government’s business to look into the public’s fridges to see what they are eating, or go into their bedrooms to see who they are sleeping with, or what they are wearing. And in these aspects, the BJP government has really tested our patience.
1) Demonetization: November 8, 2016 was no less than the climax of a horror movie and its disastrous effects are being felt till date. How can one forget the endless queues of poor and middle class people; not the rich ones, of course! And then, the shortage of cash in ATMs. This is now being taught as a cautionary tale in business schools and is stated to have failed in every one of its objectives such as eradicating black money, terror funding and fake notes.
2) Unemployment: it is strange indeed that the one of the major concerns Narendra Modi said his government would address, has deteriorated to such an extent that it will take years (more than five, I am sure) to undo the damage, as if the situation wasn’t dire enough before. But, of course, selling pakodas is always an option, isn’t it?!
According to the Bureau of Labour and Statistics, 48 million people registered for employment in 2014, but less than 1% was given job placements by the exchanges. In fact, the government had changed its method of calculating GDP to make numbers appear higher. Clearly, the people unemployed are in a soup and do not know what worse to expect in the next five years.
3) Agriculture: the 2014 manifesto of the BJP highlighted a minimum of 50% profits over cost of production for farmers, reforming the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act 2003, implementing farm insurance and adopting a National Land Use Policy. All that the ministry has done is release a draft Model Contract Farming Act, 2018 to create a regulatory and policy framework for contract farming which still has not been amended.
Moreover, due to no means of repaying debt and the indifference of the government, farmer suicides have skyrocketed. But, all that the agriculture minister, Radhamohan Singh has had to say is the “Modi government has no data on farmer suicides.”
Even if we talk about a single state, say Maharashtra, and not even the whole country; as per the data of the revenue department, a total of 11995 farmers killed themselves between 2015 to 2018 while the figure was 6268 between 2011 to 2014. Farmers have led marches, peaceful protests and tried to make their voices heard. But the only time the government has addressed this has been during campaigning.
1) Renaming spree: Yogi Adityanath and plenty other BJP leaders taking inspiration from him, have in this last year, gone on a renaming spree. The cause is attributed to the competition of ‘who is more Hindu?’ in their world of Hindutva. Uttar Pradesh’s Mughal Sarai railway station has been renamed to honour Deen Dayal Upadhyay. Allahabad was rechristened as Prayagraj. And if that wasn’t enough, according to Yogi Adityanath, the district of Faizabad, where Ayodhya is located, would henceforth be called Ayodhya.
Here, I quote The Hindu, “Stripping places of names that evoke a mixed cultural heritage and replacing them with names to project a Sangh iconography or Hindu revivalism sends out a deeply prejudiced message — that one community has a greater place in society.”
Now, all I have to say is that instead of wasting time on completely unnecessary propaganda, why hasn’t the BJP and its ministers come up with solutions to the above various crises? What I am even more worried about is, will this government ever be able to do justice to the people who have yet again and quite blindly, I must say, handed over the reins of power? It is a major task to stop the spread of hate on the basis of religion and caste in a diverse country like India, but is it so tough to refrain from igniting it in the first place?
The very reason we ‘choose’ a government is so it works for our welfare and development. An election is not and should not be a pedestal for leaders to fabricate society, to worsen economic conditions in a nation which already has one of the highest rates of poverty and unemployment, to sit back and watch women get violated or even participate in the act. The list of consequences of such actions is endless.
However, I won’t deny that this government has done a few good things like initiate the Swachh Bharat mission and improve international relations, but in the face of the social and economic turmoil that the country has been dragged into, what value do these few good things hold? This is what scares me.
What is the point of a democratic country with a government like this, where any day I might be oppressed for raising my voice, raped for being a woman, lynched for being secular, forced to resort to suicide for being a poor farmer, compelled to roam jobless in spite of being educated, killed for eating or wearing what I want to. How much do you think clean roads or an international Chinese delegation will matter to me then? This is something we as voters have completely failed to understand. All we can hope for is that the BJP, as rightfully elected leaders, understand it this second time.