By Harihar Swarup
The Narendra Modi government will complete four years next month (May 26, 2018). It has by now presented five budgets and used up all the opportunity available to it to show results. At the end, however, government seems to have lost its views and surrounded by problems of unprecedented magnitude. The economic situation is grim, despite tall claims to the contrary made by the government that it is the fastest growing economy of the world. A fast growing economy does not actually accumulate the kind of non-performing assets in his banks as the present dispensation has done over four years.
In a fast growing economy the farmers are not in distress, the youth are not without jobs, small business do not stand destroyed and savings and investment do not fall drastically as they have done over last four years. What is worse, corruption has raised its ugly head again and banking scams are tumbling out of the cupboard one after another. The scamsters have also managed to run away from the country somehow, as the government watches helplessly.
Women are now more insecure today than ever before. Rapes have become order of the day and instead of acting strictly against rapists, government has become apologists. In many cases, BJP leaders are involved in these heinous crimes. Even President Ram Nath Kovind expressed concern at growing cases of rapes. He publicly condemned the incident that occurred in Jammu and Kashmir that had shocked the society. “After 70 years of independence, such an incident occurring in any part of the country is shameful. We have to think what kind of society we are developing. It is our responsibility to ensure such a thing does not happen to any girl or woman.”
The minorities, which were never close to the BJP, have been further alienated. The worse is that, says Yashwant Sinha, a senior BJP leader, the scheduled tribes and castes, the weaker sections of the society, have been exposed to atrocities and inequality as never before and the guarantees given to them in the Constitution stand threatened. Sinha was Finance and External Affairs minister in the Atal Behari Vajpayee’s government.
A former External Minister Affairs himself, Sinha, says that total sum total of our foreign policy seems to consist of frequent foreign visits by Prime Minister and his hugging foreign dignitaries, whether they like it or not. It is completely devoid of substance and has failed miserably even in our immediate neighbourhood, where China is trampling over all our interests.
The smartly executed surgical strike, says Sinha, by our brave jawans against Pakistan has been wasted and Islamabad continues to export terror to India unabated as we watch helplessly. J&K continues to burn. Left wing extremism refuses to be tamed, and the common man is suffering as never before.
Making a scathing criticism of the functioning of the BJP, Sinha says internal democracy in the party stands completely destroyed. “Friends tell me that even in Parliamentary party meetings, MPs do not get opportunity to air their views. In the other party meetings also, the communication is always one-way. They speak and you listen. The Prime Minister has no time for you. The party headquarters has become a corporate office where it is impossible to meet CEO.”
The most important threat that has emerged over the last four years, says former External Affairs Minister, is to democracy. “Institutions of democracy have been demeaned and denigrated. Parliament has been reduced to a level of a joke. The Prime Minister does not even once sit down with senior leader of Opposition in Parliament when just concluded Budget session was being disrupted in order to find a way out. Then he fasted to shift the blame to others. The first part of the most important Budget session was the shortest ever.”
Significantly, Sinha compared the functioning of the present Parliament to the days of Atal Behari Vajpayees. “All of us were given strict instructions to accommodate the Opposition and ensure that Parliament functioned. So we had adjournment motions, no-confidence motions and other discussions under any rule the Opposition wanted.”
Yashwant Sinha has become a rebel since the BJP came in power, because like other senior leaders, L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, he too was sidelined. Modi initially made Sinha and other too seniors irrelevant. Rebellion in Sinha burst into open when he said openly “today, it appears, as if winning elections by controlling the means of communication, specially the media and social media, is the soul purpose of our party.” Addressing BJP MPs directly he said “I do not know how many of you will get ticket for the next Lok Sabha elections but if previous experience is any guide, half of you, at least, will not (get ticket). The chances of your winning election, even if you get the ticket, are fairly remote”. By implication of Sinha’s outburst is that in 2019 general election BJP is not getting a majority.
Nobody in the BJP has guts to take action against Sinha because what he says is bitter truth but the top leadership of the party refuses to see the harsh reality. (IPA Service)