The Enigma that is Opposition

Modi is economic war, war of aggression and looting for a new division of national wealth and realignment of power brokers in states. Modi regime is reaction and fascistic tendency that demands every day more the need to overthrow it. Modi's policy matters in every field show the barbarity of the saffron establishment. Modi's march feeds the political right, the police state, militarisation, permanent emergency and continuing confrontation against toilers, against any progressive and socially justifiable idea in schools, universities, mass media, culture and art. The aggressive nature of Modi administration sharpens internal contradictions and worsens the conflict situation along Indian borders with Pakistan and China. The diabolical rule of the saffron brigade is quickening the process of reshuffling of national and regional forces, only to make things difficult for ordinary masses.

But there is no viable united opposition that can bell the big cat. Opposition has right to raise its voice in parliament. So said leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad on March 28. He was actually justifying the on-going 'disruption politics' in parliament by Congress and other opposition parties. When the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) was in opposition they used to disrupt parliamentary sessions frequently as the easiest way to make them heard in the media. And now Congress being in opposition is just recreating the same drama only to tell the world that Indian parliamentary culture cannot advance without hooliganism. Azad, the mouthpiece of Congress in parliament, was at pains to explain why they were disrupting the sessions in the House. What he said in defence is simply ludicrous. He said they were stalling parliamentary proceedings to save democracy, they were agitating to highlight popular issues like the banking scam, the Cauvery water dispute or the demand for the special status to Andhra Pradesh. If they think these are the issues most vital for the voiceless and powerless then surely they are going to bite dust.

Congress and other opposition parties, including left parties, are desperately searching for issues to halt the saffron avalanche in the coming parliamentary polls in 2019. But bank fraud is no longer an issue in vote market; it is part of the Indian economic system. What is at issue is why small depositors find it difficult to maintain their savings accounts. Also, they cannot resolve the Cauvery water dispute to the mutual satisfaction of all stake-holders anytime soon. The hard reality is that there is little water in all the Running Rivers of India, rivers are dying due to excessive damming. What is urgently needed is decommissioning of all large dams as it is happening in America now. They can't do it because it is against their vested interests. Nor can they offer an alternative plan to rejuvenate the moribund rivers, while amicably settling water sharing arrangement among contending states. In truth they are whipping all the ailing horses only to hasten their termination. Then the Azads can't hope to have any electoral advantage by supporting the special status for Andhra. After all they were mainly responsible for division of Andhra. Congress is no longer a party of the South. Nor does it matter much in decision-making in the North.

Not a single opposition party is serious about basic issues that affect hundreds of thousands of people in their every day life. It is now as clear as water that Modi's notorious policy of demonetisation and digitisation was scripted by the US state department controlled agencies. They talk less and less about Modi's naked surrender to American dictates at the cost of economic interests and sovereignty of the country. Their sole objective of agitation is to promote Rahul Gandhi as a counter-weight to Modi. No doubt Mr Gandhi, of late, is getting media attention because of his 'sweet nothings' posted on social media. Only a few civil society groups and concerned citizens are fighting a legal battle against Aadhaar, yet another CIA project which Modi is pursuing with a kind of fanatic zeal. After farmers' suicides India may get global attention for Aadhaar-related deaths. There are already reports of Aadhaar-linked deaths but Azad and his men have no time to raise this issue in parliament. The wife of Kargil martyr Laxan Das died because her son failed to produce her Aadhaar identity proof to the hospital authority. The hidden agenda of Aadhaar-linkage which has reached a stage of perversion is a nice device to execute the policy of exclusion while legitimising the illegitimate acts of the authorities.

Meanwhile the apex court on March 27 refused to pass an interim order extending the deadline of March 31 for linking Aadhaar with welfare schemes where benefits are transferred to citizens from the Consolidated Fund of India. Even as per the admission of the counsel of the Centre this exclusion covers ‘only’ 12 percent of the targeted people who are marginalised and vulnerable. In other words the 12 percent failure for the Unique Identification Authority of India is anything but too high as it translates into almost 12 crore people in absolute terms.

What is more 'Aadhaar Linkage' has become a nightmare for hindu married women who have their titles changed after marriage. Mismatch between pre-marriage and post-marriage surnames stands in the way of linking PAN and Bank Account with Aadhaar. So married women in many cases are being forced, rather coerced, by bank officials, to revert to original parental surnames. What a tragedy! Inefficient bureaucrats who are managing this Himalayan data base for domestic and foreign IT firms with dubious distinction of being called CIA covers are to be blamed for the plight of hindu married women who are running from pillar to post to get their bank accounts or Pan linked with Aadhaar. A specific case of harassment by SBI is bone-chilling. A complaint to the grievance cell in Mumbai yields no result. As for customer care service government banks have already earned immense notoriety and SBI is the worst of the lot. Aadhaar being an imperial conspiracy never finds proper meaningful attention in parliamentary agitation. Even the left's anti-imperialist rhetoric has nothing to do with it. Raising hue and cry against Modi's lapses here and there, that too selectively and half-heartedly is not going to turn the table in Opposition's favour in the near future.

Vol. 50, No.40, Apr 8 - 14, 2018