With three states poll due soon, the opposition in the country is increasingly made to look clueless in front of Modi-Shah’s BJP. The opposition is the beauty of democracy. Ideally, in a democracy, through any election, people appoint two categories of representatives to the top tiers of power: the government as the decision-makers and the opposition as the scrutinizers. However, in the Indian political context, a combination of words ‘government and opposition’ creates a sense of active hostility or enmity.
In an era of fake news and low trust in the media, an enfeebled class of journalists could eventually lead to a weakening of the very democracy that defines modern India. Many influential media outlets failed to ask crucial questions, and by buying the government line, journalists helped spread the incorrect perception that phoney economics could fix big problems. The BJP has targeted the Indian millennial, who have largely grown up with social media—as carefully designed memes praising Modi go viral on these platforms right before any elections which appear more accountable and accessible to voters.
Millennials are strongly made to believe that there is no credible alternative to vote for. But they have to come out of such delusion, as there is always an alternative in democracy. People of India have to play their part by understanding the paradigm shift and manipulation of our sentiments and people by BJP with what it thinks should be trending. The hashtag mechanism has just become a big diversion in elections which helps the bastion to spew venomous hatred virtually, suiting its vested interest. The entire political scene has shifted to the brand name of Modi-Shah and not BJP anymore, which believes in unnecessary hue and cry like Kashmir, Chidambaram case etc. and ensures these targets to benefit them in the long run elections.
About 95% people believe in the hype, whereas the rest 4% are least interested about what’s happening in the country, and 1% who care about the political scenario and national interest are not in the mainstream as their discussions do not reach the common mass. Writing articles, discussing inside cars, getting our talks limited to coffee shops isn’t reaching that 95% of the masses. And that’s where he, his party and their IT cell win over facts, every day, every second in every corner of India. Arguably, the opposition wants to get space in the media, not in the voter’s mind, and both are not always the same.
The opposition could focus on the confused ‘state’ of India, where the union ministers contradict each other while the economy suffers. Indian economy is in crisis, say Indian economists but ironically, the finance minister, N. Sitharaman said that they are working on it, environment minister Prakash Javedkar said that there is no economic crisis, labour minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said that there is no shortage of jobs and the companies are not finding qualified candidates, and railway minister Piyush Goyal said that job loss is a good sign.
The auto sector saw a slump in sales and a massive job cut across the industry. The textile industry had to resort to newspaper advertisements to bring attention to the massive crisis they are facing. The FMCG sector, too, is facing a difficult time. While industrialists warn of further job losses, economists wait for signs of relief. The Prime Minister hasn’t made any formal statement pertaining to the situation, which the opposition can take advantage of in the upcoming state elections. The slowdown in the economic growth could still emerge as a possible flashpoint during the elections. But the abrogation of Article 370 shall help marshal vast amounts of support for Modi-Shah’s BJP, as it is trying to keep the afterglow of the abrogation of Article 370 alive.
Addressing the unemployment situation, the smart opposition should come up with solutions to this by organizing youth meetings to discuss job creation—focusing on positive campaigning, suggesting that only the opposition knows how to create jobs, organizing one conclave after another with startups and small industrialists, making the industry interact with youth, and thereby drawing the attention of the media to the campaign. Tweeting and giving sound bites don’t make a campaign.
Voters make up their mind based on several factors. There are those who blindly vote for a party and a particular leader, but economic issues, local development, governance, coalitions and those old staples, caste and community, count for a lot too. We will know soon enough how the voters decide in the upcoming state elections.