Chandigarh, November 22: Indian democracy seems to be entering both interesting and alarming phase going by the style of functioning of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially in the context of demonitisation that has affected everybody except those who were supposed to be the target. New currency notes of Rs 2000 were today found on the body of a terrorist who was gunned down by the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. Demonitisation was supposed to be a potent weapon against terrorists too.
The alarming part is that Modi is invoking mobs to seek support for his move that has badly affected economy of the country in the short run. Economists are engaged in assessing the impact in the long run. Modi has been talking about demonitisation at his rallies in poll bound Uttar Pradesh but has refused to face representatives of the people in Parliament. What is more, he addressed the BJP Parliamentary Party today but both the Houses were again adjourned with the opposition continuing to demand his statement on this supreme forum of Indian democracy. Modi prefers to seek mandate from the orchestrated mobs of his Bhakts.
Should the Prime Minister bypass people’s representatives on such a sensitive issue that has affected each and every person in the country? This amounts to bypassing democratic norms and traditions. It is easy for leaders of his type to invoke mob support. In such a situation, established institutions become redundant.
Modi has sought mandate for his action at another level. He has gone to those who use Twitter. They are not the common people in the real sense of the term. They are the people who know the art of admiring or abusing in 140 words.
Here is his latest Tweet seeking mandate of the people:
Unfiltered on the spot information is available round the clock on the TV screens and even the channels that are his Bhakts can’t camouflage the harassment of the ordinary people standing in long queues waiting for hours for a Rs 2000 note that small shopkeepers don’t accept as they don’t have the change. The country can’t run on just 15 per cent of the currency that was earlier in circulation. This is perhaps the most botched up experiment rather than being the boldest step during the last 70 years as has been claimed by him.
Rather than talking to the ‘nation’ from the floor of the Parliament, he is resorting to his theatrics from the stages of BJP conferences in UP. The implications for invoking mob support can be too serious. The Parliamentarians in India represent the people. It may be recalled that Indira Gandhi too had tried to invoke sympathy of the masses after imposing Emergency. But for some exceptions, media too had then crawled. The behaviour of a section of the media is nothing new. It is the same media that blindly supported the avoidable Operation Bluestar, the army action on the Golden Temple complex.
Modi while announcing demonitisation had asserted that this was a weapon against black money, counterfeit currency, narcotics and terrorism etc. The terrorism part stands neutralised with new currency notes having been recovered from dead terrorist in Kashmir.
It is the currency from the non-banking economy that is making way to the banks. House wives keep money. Money is kept in lower and middle class families to meet any emergency, especially medical. It is the demand of the system. It is the system that generates black money that normally is re-invested rather than stashed in the shape of currency.
The mob support is targeted at the opposition leaders who are being painted as the people who oppose action against black money. But then each party organising a rally should have the guts to come out with the bill for each show. For a rally of about 50,000 persons, the expenditure in Punjab is anything upto Rs 2 crore.
Modi should have first targeted the political and governance systems before attempting demonitisation. The people want to know as to how a person become rich after five years as MLA or MP. This is too well known to Modiji also.
Commission is part of the system and only that bureaucrat or political leader is considered to be corrupt who demands over and above that is available in the system.
Any action on that?
The interesting part is the rare unity being exhibited by the opposition with Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee leading the charge.