Modi is above the law

Radhakanta Barik

Election Commission of India has not worked properly by cancellation of nomination of Yadav who was supposed to contest against PM Modi. It is unconstitutional as there is no criminal case against him whereas there is a serious criminal case of the nature like terrorism against Pragya Thakur but she is allowed to contest by the Election Commission. It is a dual behavior which will affect the legitimacy of the institution.  It is done by instructions from Modi or Shah as he is appealing the voters in the name of soldiers and Yadav is a soldier. He complained against the high up in BSF for bad food supplied to them. As I know that my younger brother was in BSF and suffered worst for lack of food and no facilities like defense service people. Working in a difficult place be it desert or snow clad mountains. They undergo so many sufferings he took premature retirement at the age of 40 and without any re- employment. A young man is suffering without work and job is a complete wastage of human skills for which he got trained and he suffered from inhuman treatment by their high ups. Mr Yadav a brave soldier who had courage to complain against the higher authority. In articulation of interests and grievances of public is the duty of a politician. He would have been a successful politician by articulating public grievances to constitutional body.

The Election Commission got ten complaints against  Modi as the Prime Minister but a month has passed no action has been taken yet. That in various public rallies he has spoken where he violated the Model Code of Conduct. There was a consensus by all opposition parties with the Election Commission regarding the issues related to national security such as armed forces that no party should use the name of armed forces who fighting the battle on the front. But violation has been by Modi while speaking in a rally he made a request the young voters below 25 that they should vote in the name of soldiers killed in the Pulwara. This is not one incident but in many cases he used the name of Defence forces such as that in a rally at Patan of Gujarat told that “Ghar ke Ghush kar marenge” referring to Pakistan where Indian air force went at Balakot and attacked Pakistan. Their people died but without any proof yet but they captured an Indian defence officer Abhinandan. Then he added that Pakistan got scared of Modi for which within 24 hours they released the captured general. Moreover, Indian Missiles can go and hit at Pakistan any moment and these missiles are not meant for Diwali. Such blatant violations by PM Modi have not disturbed the Election Commission of India, a constitutional body.  Many people say that the Model Code of Conduct has turned into Modi Code of Conduct.
Modi in an election meeting in UP spoke against Mayawati. Some time back Modi claimed himself as the most backward intended to appeal the backwards in the Northern India. Mayawati told it is Modi's election trick as a part of many tricks. He carries a bag with many tricks and it is PC Sarkar's magic and Sarkar could bring out one after another from his bag to show the public for mesmerizing the audience. Modi is doing this. As he goes to Gujarat he gets the support from the powerful upper castes and there caste and faith have been combined. Swaminarayan faith is combined with a powerful dominant caste. In Gujarat there is attack on Dalits and minorities but in UP which is adopted as home from 2014 as Jinnah another Gujarati did. Study shows that still Jinnah had a foothold among the Muslims of UP he did not pass the resolution of Pakistan. The same thing is happening to Modi. After winning from Banaras in 2014 he is working 18 hours in a day for creating a Hindu rastra. The backwards and Dalits are worst sufferers under the present day of undeclared Hindurastra. They have combined all over India against him and to break this alliance he wanted to play the trick by chiding the leader like Mayawati.

Elections are not fought in polling booths but outside the booths with the help of money and muscle power. This has happened in the case of India of 2019 as these two factors have played a havoc not allowing the voters in making a free choice. Shah and Modi have planned with the help of some journalists. During the first round of election these journalists found that people are voting in their own way. They found that they are voting in the favour of Naveen Patnaik in the case of Odisha. Then for the second round their strategy has changed that vote Naveen at the assembly level and Modi at the national level. This has been planned with the pumping of money. That Modi Shah want to show that it is M plus M can create wonders for them. It looks that the local toughs have been paid to work for them to terrorize the voters. It needs an investigation by the citizen's Committee the role of money and muscle power in the 2019 general election. This is the reason when Modi's plane got searched by an election observer IAS officer from Karnatak has got suspended by the Election Commission as it is assumed that it was carrying money in it.

The Role of the Election Commission in Indian democracy has got evaluated by the former election commissioners and by some political scientists. The study has come out in right time as the present Election Commission is ready to take moral and legal responsibility of conducting the 2019 general election. The Chief Election Commissioner is supposed take the responsibility in maintaining the integrity of the institution which he is heading now. The objectives before the election commission as a Constitutional body are legally fixed Under the People's Representation Act which is legally challengeable in the Court of law. Under these laws many former MPs and MLAs have lost their seats as they got involved in illegal activities. The best example is Manhor  Joshi, former chief minister of Maharashtra belonging to Shivsena used religion to appeal the voters. That was the last Supreme Court judgment which shows its teeth towards these Hindutva fanatics. Joshi lost his MP seat because of illegal means he used to. Till the Supreme Court under the Chief Justice Khehar whose bigger bench told clearly one cannot use religion in politics. Today Modi, Yogi ad Shah are using in a blatant manner. As if they represent Hinduism which is not. Neither have they understood Hinduism as they represent Hindtva a fascist ideology in Indian politics.  It is power politics combined with Money power with the backing of Corporate Houses. Hindutva combined with the corporate houses have served them  and their income has increased at a faster pace under the Modi regime.  There is another dimension which is moral and ethical role of the Election Commission for enforcing the Model Code of Conduct which is as powerful as the law cited above. This commission is behaving like the King Lear after handing over the Kingdom to his beloved daughters who started harassing him. He was moving on a horse whose hairs flying and his hands hanging as if he has no control over his body and mind. The same behavior is being shown by the Chief Election Commissioner till the Supreme Court called them and showed what powers they have. Code of Conduct is as powerful as the laws is being shown in an article by T N Seshan the legendary chief election commissioner shows that the duty of ECI is to conduct the election and also the poll regulator by controlling the powerful politicians. He had zeal to enforce the model code of conduct. He suspended polling in MP seat as the governor campaigned for his son in MP and In UP he forced a minister to quit the dais since the campaigning time was over. Today the Commission does not want to act against Modi and Shah who blatantly misused their position and campaigning in the name of national security.  No warning is given to these people. It seems that after collapse of the CBI, CAG and this is the third constitutional body is getting collapsed because of its nonfunctioning.( See The Great March of Democracy, Seven Decades of Indian's Elections edited by SY Quraishi, Penguin 2019)

That day, Modi had a big road show while going for filing his nomination from Banaras. The print media gives a coverage of the show with a picture. A picture tells many things and communicates many ideas to the voters. But the electronic media gives a picture of his worshiping in the famous temple which is hanging behind while discussions were going on NDTV. Yes Srinivas Jain conducted the programme in a liberal manner and but this discussion may not communicate much where the picture of Modi worshiping will speak more many things that it is going to appeal the religious sentiments of people of India. Liberalism demands that religion and politics need to be separated but here in a discussion you do that by providing a picture like this by showing religion as a grand spectacle which will daze Indian crowd. Is it an intelligent design of NDTV by siding with Modi without telling it. The electronic media has been sold to the Modi regime and either they are bribed or their owners who are industrialists under pressures but the message are clear they are harming Indian democracy without taking an independent stand. 2019 general election is going to be big battle for Indian people who are going to fight for democracy vs fascism. The media must tell us which side they are standing either with people or the Hindutva forces. There is a famous song of Janny Walker which talks: Dar gaya which speak out of the electronic media.

Media has originated in demand for democracy in French revolution by public in eighteenth century. It worked in articulating aspirations of people who fought against feudalism and Monarchy. They got legitimacy in taking up public cause. They are told as the fourth estate from those days. In India there is a book by Rabin Jaffrey on Indian Newspapers where he commented that all the major newspapers are the products of national movement. These are the days people of India were fighting for freedom from feudalism and colonialism. It is fascinating that for the first time in 2014 general election media houses openly sided with the BJP politics. Moreover the electronic media created an inflated image of Modi and which went to voters. Today it is further gone down as they openly campaign for the BJP and they create fake news . No action has been taken in the case of Z news  channel who created a fake news regarding the JNU incident such as anti national position of some student leaders.

I did a study of some newspapers such as Dainik Jagaran, Rashtriya Sahara, Times of India and Hindustan Times during the general  election of 1998 when  Vajapayee was leading his party for fighting for power. During the election time the editors used to get replaced by the owners themselves and they monitored the everyday action of the papers. They sent the independent journalists on a scholarship or holidaying on  a foreign trip. They withdrew the working reporters who provided an independent coverage with the election bulletins. They sent their people who would support the BJP. They provided more space for the BJP and other parties got less space. For instance in the editorial page of TI there were more articles in the support of the BJP and more letters to the Editor for the BJP. The HT provided those days to some extent the balanced picture of the election politics. This paper got published in an edited book by Prof Chakravorty of JNU from Centre of South Asian Studies. Today editors have got replaced with the managers and owners themselves what news would come and what articles would come. The Electronic Media has been branded as Godi Media and give a wider coverage to Modi where as they ignored the opposition parties including the Congress Party.

Prof Radhakanta Barik, retired as Professor, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi

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May 3, 2019

Prof Radhakanta Barik [email protected]

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