Downgrading democratic values

Politicians across the country are pulling all the stops to convince voters to vote them along caste and religious lines.  In this fast and furious race the notables are Mayawati, Menaka Gandhi, Yogi Aditya Nath and Azam Khan amongst others. Thankfully, the Election Commission has stepped up its vigil and is taking necessary action against these political deviants who have no respect for the diversity and constitutional values that this country professes and has professed for over 70 years. It is, of course pointless to expect politicians who have not transcended their petty political aspirations to understand the democratic ethos of this country. For them it’s all or nothing. It’s all about grabbing power and nothing about governance. The soft underbelly of democracy is being exposed every time politicians with no respect for democratic principles take the elevated podium of addressing voters with the purpose and intent of making them feel they are an exclusive category needing special privileges which the political leader alone is able to deliver. Such political messaging is divisive and exclusive and exposes the fact that India’s political class have always tried to find that vulnerable thread of caste and religion to goad people to vote on those lines. The idea of India as a country of one people whose religious affiliations are varied have not been imbibed by the political class because for them it’s more important to win votes than to think of the larger goal and purpose of nation building.

And now into this mess steps Rahul Gandhi with his cheap rhetoric of “Chowkidar chor hai,” where the Congress President accuses Prime Minister Modi of stealing from the Rafael deal to bail out Anil Ambani the failed businessman. All was fine with this blame game narrative until Rahul Gandhi dragged in the Supreme Court to buttress his own allegations of corruption against Modi. Now the Congress President  has landed himself with a contempt of court notice on a petition from a BJP MP, Meenakshi Lekhi. The Supreme Court has warned politicians not to attribute any meaning to court orders while addressing election rallies or while speaking to the media unless such views, observations or findings are recorded by the Court.  This is in the fairness of things. Politicians cannot drag every institution, the judiciary included, to their level of political bickering.

India today is at a juncture when its democratic values are under threat. It is futile to expect politicians to mend the fissures they have created. It is for the people of India to reclaim those attributes of our democratic traditions that have held us together as a nation.

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