By Sushil Kutty
This regime of ‘Pradhan Sevak’ Narendra Modi is a ‘JCB’ and it compares well with Rakesh Tikait’s tractor. Modi is bulldozing through Opposition voices and he does not wait for Sunday to give way to Monday to make clear his intentions. Sunday, November 14, his government issued an ordinance that gives ED and CBI heads longer tenures – five years at a stretch after superannuation.
The ordinance comes when Parliament is poised to open for a winter of discontent. The motive is not hard to pinpoint: Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants control over any and every emerging situation. Didn’t Maharashtra’s Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik shut up when the ED mounted an offensive on the Pune Waqf Board? Ex-Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the BJP benefited.
The Opposition has questioned the Centre’s “tearing hurry” in promulgating the ordinance. Does the government care? Or, can the Opposition do anything other than choosing “tearing hurry” to hit out? Congress Leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury – a member of the panel that selects the CBI chief – told a newspaper that the ordinance smacked of Modi’s “dictatorial attitude.”
Tell us something new, Mr. Chowdury! We know the Opposition can’t do zilch because it lacks the numbers. But doesn’t the Opposition get it that the RSS and the Bharatiya Janata Party are preparing for a long haul at the Centre, well beyond 2024? And, while at that, does the Opposition really think that the Yogi Adityanath regime in Uttar Pradesh is going away in 2022?
Home Minister Amit Shah’s assertion that BJP+ will get upwards of 300 seats is a signal of things to come. In fact, it is odd that “Muslims Salman Khurshid and Rashid Alvi” can think they can analyse “Hinduism and Hindutva for Hindus” and get away with it. Of all the gall!
Can Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Hindu-Hindutva bifurcation turn upside down the poll calculations in Uttar Pradesh? To the rightwing, and it is getting apparent, Hindutva’s future does not hinge on the seesaw outcome of electoral dynamics. In fact, Rahul Gandhi made it worse for the Congress under Salman Khurshid’s ‘Saffron Sky’. Linking Hindutva to Boko Haram was hardly poll-wise forget wise!
Now, after the ordinance, will there be any doubts on the loyalty of the ED and CBI chiefs to the Modi dispensation? Does anybody think that there can be anybody who will bite the hand that feeds him? There are 101 ways the CBI and the ED can be used by the hand that rocks the cradle. So what if the Opposition cannot stomach the fact that the Modi Government “does not have any respect for democracy”, Modi was brought up on bitter chai.
The Congress’s grouch is that Modi did not consult the Opposition. Which world does the Congress operate from? Why at all do Rahul Gandhi and the rest of the Opposition expect Modi to think of their sensibilities, let alone consult the Opposition? If this is after eight years of Modi rule, think of how will it be in 2024, after 10 years?
The Opposition laments that the Modi Government does what it wishes because it has the mandate, the numbers. It is raised in both houses of Parliament, but nothing much can be done. Okay, but why is the Opposition displaying helplessness in public? The electorate is having a laugh at the Opposition making a spectacle of itself.
The courts are the only refuge. But it is a fact that the court system hasn’t weighed in with equal emphasis against the “Modi government’s transgressions against democracy”. The Opposition wants the top court to “intervene and rein in” the Modi Government, which is nothing but a cry in the wilderness.
The Congress wants the “civil society” to butt in and take the matter to court. The Grand Old Party has lost much of its elan in recent years and has never been out of power for so long a stretch. It now says the incumbents in CBI and ED “suit” the BJP and will “do their bidding.” How right, but what will be done by the Opposition? Another big ‘andolan’ is the only way out.
There is another big worry: That “they” will promulgate an ordinance or bill to push Modi’s tenure beyond 10 years! This can happen – it is not for nothing that they say “Modi Hai Toh Mumkin Hai.” Modi can do a Xi Jinping. Rahul Gandhi tore then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s ordinance. He did not know the last ‘Ordinance Man’ was on his way.
The ordinance to extend the tenures of the ED and CBI directors has given the Opposition jitters. Some leftwing analysts say they have got a whiff of coming things. The Modi Government has with impunity, again and again, bucked parliamentary norms and is ruling via ordinances. These are testing times for democracy in India. Equally, it is apparent that something odd is happening, but nobody quite knows what. A super council of entrenched mandarins headed by a Chowkidar in Churidaar! (IPA Service)