HomeBusinessLok Sabha Elections and 'The Dictator' Race

Lok Sabha Elections and ‘The Dictator’ Race

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has conducted a massive election campaign at the government’s expense before announcing the start of the polls. So, she had already started running in this race while the opposition parties were waiting for the announcement of her launch.

Illustration: Pariplab Chakraborty

There is a famous scene from the comedy film ‘The Dictator’ (2012). The dictator competes in the 100 meter race. He holds the pistol that announces the start of the race. He fires it after it starts running itself. He then runs off, shooting the other runners one by one. They keep falling. So he is left as the lone runner. In the last place of the race, the people standing with the ribbon come forward with the ribbon. He crosses the rope and wins the race. So the dictator wins 14 medals in his own Olympics.

After the announcement of the 18th Lok Sabha elections in India, this scene from ‘The Dictator’ is quite popular on social media. popular Done. People write that this is what is happening in India. And there is a place to say that.

India would not be formally called a dictatorship. But what happens before the election is somewhat similar to this race. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government had campaigned heavily on public spending before the election race was announced. So, she had already started running while the opposition parties were waiting for the election to be announced.

Shortly before the elections were announced, the government changed the rules for selecting members of the Electoral Commission, which oversees the elections. The selection committee included the Chief Justice of India along with the former Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition. By changing the principle, the government removed the Chief Justice from the committee and replaced him with a government minister. This means that now the government’s opinion will be the most important in the election of the Electoral Commission. It is as if the captain of only one of the many teams taking part in a match appoints the referee. What is left to say about his impartiality!

Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi and a senior leader of the opposition Aam Aadmi Party, was arrested as soon as the elections were announced. A month before this, the Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Hemant Soren, was arrested. Bharat Rashtra Samithi Telangana leader K Kavita has already been jailed.

Three other Aam Aadmi Party leaders – former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, former Health Minister Satyendra Jain and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh – were already in jail. Sanjay Singh was recently granted bail by the Supreme Court reversing the decision of the Delhi High Court.

It is interesting that the same judge who rejected Sanjay Singh’s bail plea upheld Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest. To justify the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal, he has repeated the same arguments which were rejected by the Supreme Court and granted bail to Sanjay Singh.

The High Court refused to grant concession to Arvind Kejriwal, as he is a Prime Minister and a prominent politician. But the same judge has just postponed the sentence of another politician, Dilip Ray, saying that he is an important politician and has to contest elections. It should be noted that Dilip Ray has been punished and the investigation into the Arvind Kejriwal case is yet to be completed. People are speculating that Dilip Ray will fight or support the BJP. Everyone noticed the open attitude of the judge.

These arrests must affect the opposition’s election campaign. Apart from them, various government agencies send notices to other opposition leaders in various matters. Former Bihar Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition Lalu Yadav has been granted an arrest warrant by Madhya Pradesh in a nearly 25-year-old case. It is clear that these vetting agencies of the government want to somehow confuse the leaders of the opposition parties so that they cannot give all their attention and energy to the election campaign.

With the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal, the country’s largest opposition party, the Congress Party, has received a notice from the Income Tax Department to pay debts of around Rs 1,800 crore. 135 crore rupees were withdrawn from their accounts by the government without informing them earlier. Not only this, all their bank accounts have also been frozen. The Congress party is right to say that the government did this precisely because it could not campaign due to lack of funds.

Along with all these, every day there is news of some opposition leaders joining the BJP. It is an open secret that all of them are leaving their party to join the BJP in fear of government investigation agencies. For example, recently an Aam Aadmi Party leader left the party. The ED raided them here recently. Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Congress leader Ashok Chauhan and former Deputy Chief Minister and nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar were threatened with jail by the Prime Minister himself. Today both are in the BJP.

The Indian Express, after reviewing the records of 25 such opposition leaders who joined the BJP, has said that cases against 23 of them were closed after joining the BJP. In this way, the opposition parties are emptied. This also creates an illusion among the people that the opposition parties panic because of the fear of defeat and are unable to control anything.

If we look at the role of the big media at present, it is seen openly promoting the BJP and Narendra Modi. After the announcement of the elections, the media platforms organize programs where the Prime Minister and other government ministers have a full opportunity to campaign. The media also spreads the idea among the people that the opposition party is weak, that the prime minister remains popular and that there is no alternative to him.

The government is trying to close down the media parallel to this big media under one pretext or the other. Many popular YouTube channels critical of the government are getting notices or being shut down. In this way, people will have no way to know the opinion of any party other than the government.

From the first day of the election campaign, BJP propagandists including the Prime Minister have started dividing the voters on communal lines. Narendra Modi said that every page of the Congress party’s election manifesto has the imprint of the Muslim League. Apart from this, they call the opposition parties anti-Ram and ask the people to teach them a lesson. They are openly breaking the election code of conduct. But will the Electoral Commission he appointed be able to ban him?

Foreign countries are watching all this This is the first time in the history of independent India that the representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations feels the need to make a statement that he hopes that the civil and constitutional rights of all will be protected. . It will go And everyone will be able to participate freely in elections. Is their concern unnecessary?

This election is very important for the future of democracy in India. The hands and feet of the opposition parties are tied. In such a situation, only the people hope that they will understand all this and play their role.

(Apurananda teaches at Delhi University.)

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