If the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in India is responsible for the structural damage of democracy in India under the fervency of its Hindutva agenda, then the record of the Congress is not clean either.
Under the leadership of Indira Gandhi, India’s democracy was subverted overnight with the declaration of Emergency in 1975. However, in the subsequent national election, the Congress Party was mercilessly beaten. Thanks to the intactness of the Election Commission that was not tinkered with weaponry of the Indira Gandhi emergency.
In that respect, we can say there was resilience in India’s democracy.
But now, it is the institutional chiseling that has been purposely done to carve out a non-secular nation based on narrow confines of the Hindutva agenda.
The latest salvo being the amendment of the Citizenship Act with its discriminatory provision to offer citizenship to all the refugees except Muslims. This is followed by the upcoming National Registry of Citizenship that could be impacted by the corrupt bureaucratic system biased towards the Muslim population. It has already happened in the state of Assam.
Hindutva is an agenda that is fundamentally anti-Hindu. The identity of Hinduism lies in its wide-open structure where liberal, secular and diverse customs and traditions co-exist and flourish.
Pursuing the Hindutva agenda also goes against the very spirit of democratic India in which its national institutions play non-religious, non-political, professional and bureaucratic roles crucial for unbiased, audited and scrutinized direction to the governing party in the conduct of nation’s business.
But when these institutions are politically fixed, controlled and manipulated or even nixed by the governing party to uphold its power base then the damage is being done to them.
And this is where the BJP’s legacy, compared to the Congress Party, is being established by its leadership.
-By Promod Puri