Fascist Shadows

The recent proposal of 'one nation, one vote' purports to hold assembly elections on the same date as that of Lok Sabha polls, arguing that it will reduce the expenditure on holding elections. First of all, one should keep in mind that in the latest Lok Sabha polls, billions of crores of rupees have been spent on campaigns of various types, conducted by major political parties. Compared with these colossal amounts, the so-called reduction on holding elections is only a miniscule amount. There are other problems. Suppose that an elected state cabinet loses the confidence of the majority of the elected legislators, necessitating a mid-term election. If the proposal of 'one nation, one vote' is implemented, no such election will be held and the president's rule, i.e. the rule of the ruling party, will be imposed on the state concerned. It is clear that the move is in effect designed to proceed towards a presidential system of government and to dismantle the existing constitution. The Modi government has been playing its game in a more subtle manner. The strong Prime Minister is trying to mollify the USA and Donald Trump that have imposed sanctions on import of Iranian oil to India; Modi does not have the guts to defy Trump. This is one aspect of Modi's nationalism, whose essence is wooing the mightiest big power, while threatening Pakistan and Bangladesh. To issue a threat to China is not that easy, whether the Chinese cat is red or black.

Despite a precarious employment situation and failures on other fronts, Modi and his party have on, because chauvinism has triumphed over economic distress. This is considerably due to the fact that the opposition parties were more concerned with their narrow sectional interests than with fighting communal fascism and highlighting the failures. In West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee's attempt to woo a small section of Muslims, namely local religious gurus, has backfired and instead of benefitting the Muslim community, particularly its poorer sections as a whole, has strengthened the hands of the BJP. Characterization of an entire community is a milchcow is not beneficial to the community, but only a weapon in the hands of anti-Muslim fanatics as far as the elections are concerned.

A few more words. The obsession with growth, and projecting false rates of growth in order to display the 'health' of the economy will continue, although sensible economists are unanimous that the rate of growth can by no means be an index of a country's welfare. There will be little improvement in the employment situation, because the corporate-led growth process is not at all employment-oriented, and helping the corporate lobby by reducing the repo rate will not ease the situation, because corporate industrial investment is much more concerned with reduction of labour costs and maximization of profits. The recovery of huge amounts of bank loans taken by the Ambanis, Adanis, Tatas etc is a mere day dream, because it is this domestic corporate lobby that forms the principal backbone of Modi and his party and this lobby will go on blessing Modi if they do not have to repay their debts.

One particularly amusing incident, consistent with the wave of anti-Pak hysteria, is Amit Shah's reference to the e recent cricket world-cup match between India and Pakistan and hail India's victory as another example of surgical strike against Pakistan. One of the two most powerful men in India today has thus proved himself to be an uneducated jingoist. Of course, it has been a part of our culture to treat the game of cricket as a kind of war. Now it is an instrument of jingoism. This cultural degradation is systematically promoted.

The BJP has decided to launch a membership campaign on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. One particular aspect of Shyamaprasad's nationalism and patriotism was to consistently remain in the good graces of the British government of India. To the Modi-Shah combine, this is certainly a qualification.


Vol. 52, No. 1, Jul 7 - 13, 2019