Not a good time for democracy

Published at August 10, 2017 12:49 AM 0Comment(s)703views


Not a good time for democracy

Kamal Morarka

First of all the Supreme Court in Pakistan has disqualified Nawaz Sharif from being an MNA and, therefore, from being the Prime Minister. Unfortunately, if one goes through the judgment, it is not a sound judgment in the sense that Panama Papers are still under investigation. They have not come to any conclusion on Panama papers. The reason for his disqualification is he showed an entry of 10000 dirham in his return which accrued to him but was not received by him, and which is a very modest amount of money. On that very specious ground the Supreme Court has held him guilty. Of course the Supreme Court of Pakistan is as good or as independent as the Supreme Court of India; that is ok. The question arises whether Pakistan’s democratic structure will ever become stable. In the first 11 years of independence – and India and Pakistan both became independent on the same day – between 1947 and 1958 Pakistan had seven prime ministers. Then Ayub Khan stepped in and imposed martial law. We all know whenever military rule comes, restoration of democracy becomes very very difficult, becomes a façade of democracy. Real democracy is far-far away.  In fact it is the situation prevailing in Pakistan. People in Pakistan who are pro-Pakistan and patriotic will agree that army as an institution is an important player in Pakistan politics. There is a democratically elected government, there are mullahs and there is army. All three have their own role to play in politics, administration, governance, etc., which is definitely different from what we have in India. In India in spite of the VHP and the RSS, their role in governance is minimal. Army is nowhere near interfering with the civil administration. Indian army is firmly under civilian government, which is the hallmark of democracy as we see in western countries like in the UK, the US, other countries of Western Europe, etc.

What does Pakistan Supreme Court’s decision mean to India? It means Pakistan Army will have bigger say. Nawaz Sharif wanted to normalize relations with India. It must be said that General Musharraf when he took over power in 1999, he wanted to normalize relations with India. He came to Agra with a clear will to make a settlement with India as two good neighbors. The RSS, I think through Mr. Advani, did not allow a proposed agreement drafted by Vajpayee-ji, Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha to go through. That was the missed opportunity. Now things will become more difficult, though Nawaz Sharif also could not do much because army is always breathing down his neck. But now whoever will be the prime minister will be weaker than Nawaz Sharif. So, uncertain times will continue. we have to wait and see.

Then we see now the phenomenon of Amit Shah suddenly becoming very vigorous and active, going from state to state saying boldly: the BJP would have footprints all over India. Only Modi bhakts and Sanghis can believe this hollow theory. In Tamil Nadu they have absolutely no chance. Of course they can give money to AIADMK, DMK, etc. In short Amit Shah is brazenly doing what the Congress used to do. Wherever they don’t have footprints, wherever the grassroots support is not possible they do money politics and muscle politics. The Congress has the experience of long administration. They had administration of Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri who were very civilized and did things in a very proper way. The Congress knew its limitations of power. These people do not know that as they are only three years old in administration. They have got the key of the CBI, the IB, and they are playing politics brazenly. In fact this government appoints army chief with political intent. If the Army can solve problems, Pakistan would have been a very progressive country, the British could have done it, we need not had to fight for independence. The whole idea is social transformation to a full transparent democratic process.

The fact is in last three or four months the signs are not good. The CBI raiding a Karnataka minister, who is hosting Congress MLAs of Gujarat for Rajya Sabha elections, is very crude. How can you be so crude! In Hindi there is a word called bhaund. This is bhaundpana.  But you are in power; you have the power to do it and you are using your power. It is being claimed that IT has seized Rs 11 crore from Shivkumar the Congress MLA of Karnataka, while the IT department announced that they have seized no money from him. It is ok. In democracy propaganda has its own place.

All the TV channels, all the press are heavily paid by the BJP. This does not augur well for democracy. But we cannot complain, because probably the earlier governments also used to resort to these tactics. However, the BJP is doing it ten times more openly and brazenly. It shows their fascist goals, fascist way of working and it is what the country is going through. It will not succeed that is pukka.  Indira Gandhi’s Emergency lasted for 18 months and she called for elections and whole thing blew up in her face. The more they do this the more the chances are of things blowing up in their faces. Of course their strong point is that the Congress, at the moment, is much disorganized. Mr. Modi stopped governance and already started campaign for 2019. Nothing wrong in it, in politics you seize opportunities. With the opposition nowhere in the scene, they have chance to win 2019.

In Bihar the CBI raid on Lalu Yadav was planned to embarrass Nitish Kumar so that he had to leave, because he has to save his image. And you make a deal with him and support him. Everybody in the BJP is saying Nitish has come back to the BJP. Nitish is still the Chief Minister, the BJP has again supported him, why! With 56 MLAs in Bihar and with such popularity that you got in Uttar Pradesh why BJP did not insist on holding elections in Bihar. So it is ok that political strategy has its limitations. And Amit Shah of course with his background, nobody expect him to have a finesse for parliamentary etiquette. And yes, the handicap of the opposition is the press has let them down, as it did in Emergency but then there was a reason. There was censorship. They are voluntarily doing it now. Of course, they are doing it in exchange of favour. All in all, for democracy these are not good times but for the BJP very good times, and for Congress challenging times. Let us see.  

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