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Gaining from the expulsion

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on April 11, 2023 with No Comments

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi came to power nine years ago, and all this time he appeared invincible. However, now the opposition parties in India are trying to come together to the threat that the country’s democratic structure and norms face from the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). The most important reason for this sense of urgency is the expulsion of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from parliament after a lower court in the state of the Gujrat convicted him in a three year old case of defamation. The court announced a two year sentence, the biggest possible under the law. For almost two weeks now, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been going all out  to prove that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is an anti-national. This is in response to Gandhi’s recent statement while in London that democracy was being undermined by the Narendra Modi. BJP has not let the parliament function demanding an apology from Rahul Gandhi. The judge at Surat court too had asked Rahul Gandhi to apologise and he would not announce the sentence of two years!

The manner of the hearing of the case, the changing of the judge, conviction within one month of the beginning of the hearing have drawn severe criticism from opposition and even from retired jurists.

Now that the opposition parties are attempting a unity in order to topple Narendra Modi’s government in the next general elections likely to be held in April –May 2024, as it senses that Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from parliament is a fearless attempt by the government that it can go to any extent to cripple political opponents who challenge it democratically. The opposition have had enormous examples. Raids by ED and CBI on opposition leaders and the moment some of them shifted to BJP, the cases were closed. AAP leader Manish Sisodia is in jail. A court in Gujarat’s Navsari fined Congress MLA Anant Patel ₹ 99 in a 2017 case in which he was accused of tearing the photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a students’ protest. AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal was fined ₹ 25000/- for seeking information under Right to Information Act on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s educational qualifications and the degrees he has. Earlier, in the month of March, Delhi Police reached Rahul Gandhi’s residence seeking details about his remarks made during Bharat Jodo Yatra that women told him they had been sexually assaulted. However, the suspension from parliament of Rahul Gandhi served as the catalyst for 14 political parties to come together. Most of the opposition leaders that have unanimously criticised the suspension are noteworthy rivals in different states. There coming together is significant, as they can interpret that the action against Gandhi is just another testimony of the various steps taken by the Modi government to humiliate and discredit the opposition leaders. Portraying them as criminals and corrupts only makes Prime Minister Narendra Modi stronger.

While the opposition parties are facing a struggle for existence, BJP is looking at diminishing returns. In 2014, Rahul Gandhi and his party –then the ruling Congress was facing corruption charges and voters were looking for a change having seen 10 years of the Congress rule. In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set a narrative that he had carried out unprecedented work with a special reference of Ram Mandir. Later, the Balakot air strikes dramatically made him a hero. However, this time the chances for Narendra Modi regaining the control in the next general elections are far lesser. Today, Rahul Gandhi has gathered far greater experience with his 150 day long Bharat Jodo Yatra. He is now into the league of senior and serious politicians. He is being acknowledged as alternative that too by other opposition leaders. At the same time, Narendra Modi’s government still has not provided answers to Rahul Gandhi’s questions on Narendar Modi and Adani’s relationship. There is a wide spread impression among masses in India that this government is sitting in an Ivory tower. Far away from the problem of masses and answerable to none.





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