Decline & Collapse of India’s Political Order

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(Brig (retd) GB Reddi)   

Stating the obvious, any nation to progress, particularly in democracy as its ‘core’ value, political stability is most vital imperative. The other fallout, political stalemate (Hung Parliament and State Assemblies) is a sure recipe for ‘stagnation, status quo ante and instability”.

For now the hope for future growth prospects and all round security rests on political stability to plan and implement appropriate reforms in the system that would deliver effective governance for its citizens.

Otherwise, irreversible is likely to be the decline and eventual collapse of current India’s political order based on “Democracy, Socialism and Secularism”.  For sans political stability, effective and efficient execution of plans and policies cannot be executed to promote, advance and consolidate ‘core values’ enshrined in the ‘Preamble of the Constitution” due to controversies and protests arising out of irreconcilable ideological differences.

So, the key issue confronting “We the People” is the choice between political stability vs. instability. Following the announcement of elections to the five Assembly states and by polls in other states, the stage is set for “We the People” to exercise their choice between political stability or instability.

Going by media anchors, panelists and pollsters views, the five State Assembly elections are termed as ‘trendsetters or semi finals” before Lok Sabha and other State Assembly elections in April-May 2019.

Yet another perspective is that the outcomes of State Assembly elections are fought on local issues and local leaders – their clout of money and muscle power besides caste and communal vote banks. They need not necessarily dictate future course of outcome of Lok Sabha elections which are fought on national level issues and personalities.

Quite a few also believe that “one week is too long a time” in predicting future course of politics in India. So the alternative theory or idea making rounds is based on hope that “We the People” will eventually vote in Lok Sabha elections in favor of political parties to avoid chaos and ensure political stability.

All such alternatives circulating in the media may be viewed as figments of imaginations based on biases, prejudices and patronage with quite few of them dismissed as ridiculous presumptions.

Most important, following the breakneck speed of baffling divisive-cum-sectarian pre election campaigning – mostly vicious – forging of political consensus between the victors and vanquished at the polls is not going to be easy; but more adversarial. Naturally, anarchy and chaos will be inevitable with growth and development taking the backseat. Such has been the evolution of venomous nature of politics in the past nearly 70 years.

If so, the cumulative gathering of dark clouds on the political horizon is certainly and inexorably shaping the decline and collapse of India’s current political order or the First Republic.

Ipso facto, the struggle for supremacy between the “Centrists (fence sitters) vs. Rightists” with the ‘left’ virtually marginalized will be fought relentlessly with no possible meeting ground due to divergent ideologies.

Of course, the “Rightist-cum-populist” ideologies are on the ascendency. And, on the global plane, democracies are on the decline.

Even in India, pre-poll election manifestos’ of political parties without exception are indulging in ‘vote-bank populist politics” and promise the ‘Welfare Moon” to all sections of society in the full knowledge of virtual impossibility of delivery.

So also, communal polarization is gaining ascendancy. No escape from such a distinct prospect due to complexity of demographics explosion. With prospects of growth, inequalities and dim prospects for government jobs, the deprived and dispossessed sections are bound to rally around their own groups to stake a fair and just share of the “Cake of social, political and economic” equality, which is enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution.

71 years is too long a time for any society to remain mute spectators of the gory happenings in the name of democracy, secularism and socialism.

In the past, “We the People” delivered decisive verdicts and punished political parties and leaders who failed to fulfill pre-promises made to them. But, yet hardly any political party has been able to fulfill peoples “growing awareness and raising aspirations/expectations” including Modi and the BJP. So, what next in the course of the nation?

Many polls are predicting a “Hung Parliament” with the Modi led NDA having slight edge over the Congress Party led UPA (truncated Mahaghatabandhan) and other opposition parties.  What does it imply? Is India heading for tremendous political uncertainty bordering on chaos and anarchy with “Aye Rams, Gaye Ram’s” on the rampage making a mockery of democracy?

With political instability, the nation is bound to drift towards growing anarchy and chaos, particularly with self proclaimed “Anarchist” like Arvind Kejriwal occupying center stage in Delhi.

India is hailed as one of the most inclusive and most vibrant democracies in the developing world.   In retrospect, it is the most heinous intellectual fraud committed on “We the people of India”.

Remember always that “Democracy results in triumph of mediocrity” for the system prefers those who keep pace with slowest march of thought – status quo ante. What does it mean? For over six decades, successive generations of leaders oversaw the resurgence of dynastic inheritance or neo-Maharajahs reappearing everywhere.

The rise of Modi, BJP and NDA makes sense when one considers the backdrop of “Dynastic-neo Maharajahs politics” and corruption culture.  After watching politicians of nearly every mainstream party caught in corruption scandals in the past, Indian voters rebelled against a dysfunctional system in 2014. The country’s traditional left-of-the-centrist ‘dynastic establishment (ruled for over 60 years), which is in decline, is making an all out effort to reclaim its pole position.

Also, the establishment of democracy is not about sweeping aside the corrupt institutional landscape that had been created by the “Delhi-centric Dynasty”. Rather, it is an exercise in reconciling popular demand for political openness while upholding the benefits of vested interest groups that had flourished under “Dynasty Rule”.

So, even the regional parties and their Satraps are keeping their options and choices open  to forge pre-poll alliance to humble not only Modi, BJP and the NDA, but also displacing the “dynasty” based on the ‘theme’ of corruption in conjunction with pseudo secular or ‘Soft Hindutva’ postures and propaganda.

So, whether or not Modi, BJP and NDA end up winning forthcoming assembly elections or not, the irrefutable fact remains that a broader transformation in Indian politics is under way.

To sum up, “We the People” that includes not only the “Aam Admi” on the streets but also the media and the intellectuals appearing as panelists have a “onerous duty” to perform, that is, to educate and spread the message for choosing “political stability” instead of “political instability’ conclusively based on their preference.

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