By Baseer Abbas
During the Parliamentary election campaign in India, there were many slogans which BJP employed. Good governance, Sab kasaath sab ka kavikas, bring black money back and so on were the slogans which were ubiquitous. Among all these slogans there was one slogan which stood out. This was “Minimum government Maximum governance”. But after analyzing Modi’s three years in office, this slogan has turned out to be mere rhetoric.
Critics claim that Modi has become a government in itself. Multiple RTI applications filed reveal that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has been taking extraordinary interest in administrative matters related to Delhi since AAP came into power. The Ex-governor of Delhi, Najeeb’s directly reporting to PMO and sending his resignation directly to the PMO instead of the president validates and strengthens this claim. The appointment of the new army chief, bypassing seniority, also created ruckus in the political circles of India. It was held that the decision was taken with an eye on the upcoming Uttarakhand elections since the army chief belongs to same state. This is unprecedented given that no Prime Minister before Modi has used the army to further his political agenda.
Even the Judiciary has not been spared. Never before has the Chief Justice of India publically and repeatedly expressed dissent over government’s attitude to the judiciary concerns.
Modi’s personalized foreign policy approach is also talk of the town. External Affairs minister, Ms. Sushma Swaraj has hardly accompanied Modi overseas. Critics assert that that she is deliberately neglected and ignored by the PMO.
Modi also prefers to talk directly to senior bureaucrats on key issues bypassing the external affairs minister. It is also an open secret that Modi gives lot of weight to the advice of the National Security Advisor, Ajith Doval, more than any other.
The overall thrust of policies adopted against Pakistan and China reflects an RSS bias. It is also known that India for the first time in history abstained in UN resolutions condemning Israeli atrocities in Palestine- a policy premise favored and backed by right wing RSS.
Civil society organizations that question the government or Modi are labelled as anti-national and face harassment at the hand of officials. The axe has already fallen on 20,000 NGO’s whose licenses have been cancelled and another 13000 have been placed under scrutiny.
Teesta Setalved, Shabnum Hashmi and Indra Jaising who have vocally opposed Modi’s divisive politics have along with their NGO’s are harassed.
The majority of the mainstream media have capitulated to power and joined the growing circle around Modi and the ruling party. Those who have not toed the line have faced the music. In Haryana, a Zee news reporter, Mahender Singh, was reportedly made to resign after he dared to ask the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for his views on demonetization. Several heads of media organizations have been removed or have lost their jobs only to be replaced by individuals who are close to the BJP or the RSS . The removal of Prasar Bharti CEO is one egregious example of the crackdown on media.
The autonomy of universities has also undermined by using the University Grants Commission. Soon after Modi took power, his government used its influence where ever possible to appoint persons of its choice. The appointment of the chairperson of Indian council for historical research, which raised eyebrows, constitutes an example of this political cronyism.
All these incidences of overt saffron cronyism, events and interferences by current central government reflects grim picture of the future of India. India is gradually moving from the tag of a secular democratic country to a right wing fascist country. In essence, all this reflects a Modi(fied) India where it is the Gujarat model at play.
The Author is a freelance writer who can be reached at: [email protected]