Are we passing through an era of democracy?
Mahadeep Singh Jamwal
A peep into the gallery of events during past some years carries us to a new form of ‘Democracy’ that we can easily re-christen as ‘Dictatorial Democracy’ that is gradually replacing the ‘Participating Democracy’, a best possible way for delivery to the common man. This all is possible only if there is a majority of a political party in representation and the credit of that majority is attributed to a single politician. When all the decisions about what, where, when, why, how things will be done, where all decision-making power rests with a single person, does not allow others to question decisions or authority only to get his way, it speaks of dictatorial style of leadership. It would be not an exaggeration to say that the whole of the period of present dispensation can be summed up in terms of this conflict. There appears to be a systematic preparation to establish a dictatorial attitude in a very democratic show off. Well established that to check the government from becoming authoritarian and to restrict its powers, the opposition parties’ keeps a watch over them. The opposition has the right to check the expenditure of the government. But the ‘Congress Free India’ slogan by the present ruling political party and always on the lips of the Head of Government is nothing but to demolish the structure of democracy and to transform ‘Participating Democracy’ to ‘Dictatorial Democracy.’ Many may have forgotten that the first glimpse of dictatorial attitude surfaced in June 2014 just at the outset of new dispensation when Prime Minister Office (PMO) struck down proposal of ministers for the appointment of their private secretaries and approval was necessitated for appointment of minister’s personal staff including private secretaries and officers on special duty. Adapting to the practice of previous governments, just in July 2014 itself, the Modi government placed Governors of its choice in four states and continued the process in later days also. Subsequent attempt was directed towards the Supreme Court of India when the Modi government’s intentions of getting the appointments of apex court judges also politicized in the form of ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act’ of 2014 and the ‘Constitutional Amendment’ was rejected by the Supreme Court.
The vendetta politics started its uprising In March 2016, when a high voltage drama was orchestrated by the union government and similar act in Arunachal Pradesh, whereby democratically elected non-BJP governments were dismissed from two states. With the Supreme Court driving the return of non BJP governments in both states in less than three months, it earned the dubious distinction of having been pushed back on the imposition of President’s Rule in perhaps the quickest succession in Indian judicial history. Further how BJP managed governments in Goa and Manipur even after getting lesser seats than other main contestants set another example of its intentions towards dictatorial democracy.
Our constitution provides that Governors are required to invite the party having the largest number of elected candidates. But in these two states these requirements were turned down and BJP having less seats but majority in center the constitutional requirements were overlooked by those responsible to maintain its sanctity and facilitated the BJP to form the government in a dictatorial style. The Apex Court’s observation on doing away with ministers (31%) having criminal cases of serious nature brushed away by the Modi government and it also tilted towards dictatorial attitude.
The way the announcement of ‘Demonetization’ on TV channels was made by the PM stand remarked as disregard for democratic institutions. The one man decision not even known to his other ministers and without taking ‘Loksabha’ highest democratic institution into confidence was not less than a dictatorial order that claimed hundreds of innocent lives and zero result on ground proved that how the writ of one man is followed in new form of Dictatorial Democracy.
We remember the three ‘Farm Acts’, of 2020 legislated by present dispensation, how they were protested as not being discussed in Parliament, how shamelessly defended by treasury benches, how protests claimed hundreds of life and ultimately a were withdrawn after shedding dictatorial attitude only when fear of losing elections in some states that were due.
The public apology tendered was nothing more than crocodile tears. When we talk of J&K, how it has been downgraded from a State to a UT status and has been fragmented and such decision is not less than dictatorial orders, when a man of such attitude felt of his non-acceptance in valley after enjoying power for some time with a party that was always targeted as anti-national by the same person.
Hero worship is the first indicator of someone to tilt towards a dictatorial attitude and most important thing is to have unquestioned and blind support from his followers and PM has it from the majority Hindu community.
The BJP has no real or credible opposition in the country, which is an alarm in a functional democracy and this has led to move unbridled towards dictatorial democracy. This situation was expected to be under real exposure from the fourth pillar of democracy, the media, but influential news channels have shifted from journalism to becoming propaganda machinery for the present dispensation. We well remember the words of Prime Minister that he would always be ready to give an account of the work being done by him spoken on June 04, 2014 during a meeting with all secretaries of GOI and then in later period to such questions of non-BJP party MPs and leaders he had been kidding by challenging the status of those asking questions that those who had looted country for 70 years are asking question what he has done? If it is not a dictatorial attitude then how can it be termed at? So rightly we can conclude that Participating Democracy is transforming to a new system of governance and that is ‘Dictatorial Democracy’.