On the first anniversary of th[is] NDA government, I had written a piece underscoring the budding scepticism of the people with the BJP-led government. At the end of 24 months, cynicism and disillusionment are the two overriding emotions that summarise mass opinion about the functioning of this government…
Social cohesion has further deteriorated in the past one year. There are abysses and crevices in the hearts and minds of people. Yet, invisible but solid walls have come up between communities as a result of polarising and noxious rhetoric orated by the government functionaries.
Never before has it ever happened that writers, poets, artistes and filmmakers have risen as one against the spectre of intolerance created by this government. The silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the lynching of an innocent Muslim on the false charge of storing beef has been deafening. The crude attempts by Union ministers and chief ministers to demonise culinary choices by proclaiming that those who eat beef can go to Pakistan, and criminalising mere possession of beef are but overt manifestations of the revivalist and medieval mindsets in the ruling dispensation.
The spurious debate on nationalism of the “Bharat Mata ki Jai” variety that found protuberant mention even in the resolutions of the BJP and attempts to brand JNU as anti-national on the strength of allegedly fake and spurious videos, amply demonstrated that this was no loony fringe at work but very much a mainstream ideological enterprise of the BJP-RSS to try and change the fundamental narrative of India and anchor it on the extreme Right. All this has upset the intricate social balance of India, with the worst yet to come in the years ahead.
Political stability is yet another area where the country has taken a huge hit. The relentless attack on institutions, beginning with the judiciary, demonstrates the inability of Mr Modi to reconcile to the changed power dynamic of India where the political executive is just one of the stakeholders in a multi-stakeholder rubric. The demolition of the Planning Commission and its replacement with a one-and-a-half man-act called the Niti Aayog has removed a fair financial arbiter between the Centre and the states.
The unprecedented assault on the Reserve Bank of India and its governor Raghuram Rajan for its refusal to toe the government line and persevere with the protection of the interests of millions of small depositors is, perhaps, the worst form of fascist intimidation through vilification and calumny. The message this government is sending out to upright professionals is—if you do not play ball with us we will hound you, harass you and finally run you into the ground…
The best one-liner on the performance of this government came from a little boy working at a ramshackle teashop on the GT Road. When queried about the Prime Minister’s performance, he replied: “Gaccha de gaya Modi”. Loosely translated in English, it means the honourable Prime Minister has made a chump of us.
(This column was first published in Deccan Chronicle on 26 May 2016.)