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The BJP marches on

Political hegemony of any party would be antithetical to the spirit of Indian democracy

By The Editorial Board

  • Published 16.08.19, 12:01 PM
  • Updated 16.08.19, 12:01 PM
10 Sikkim Democratic Front MLAs join the BJP in presence of the party's national general secretary Ram Madhav in New Delhi on August 13, 2019.
10 Sikkim Democratic Front MLAs join the BJP in presence of the party's national general secretary Ram Madhav in New Delhi on August 13, 2019. PTI

Ambition is a natural trait among political parties. What, at times, can appear to be astounding and unnatural is their political appetite. The Bharatiya Janata Party is, arguably, a case in point. The BJP’s electoral fortunes have been formidable in the last few years. The party has won most elections — national and local — that it has contested. This is, undoubtedly, a sign of the massive public endorsement for the BJP. But it is not as if India’s ruling party has won all of its electoral battles fair and square. In brazen subversions of the popular mandate, the party has managed to taste power even when its opponent has emerged as the single largest party. In the assembly elections in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya, the Congress had won a higher number of seats than its rival, but it was the BJP that went on to form the governments by stitching up timely alliances. The lotus has bloomed in Karnataka as well, a state in which ‘Operation Lotus’, an alleged ploy on the BJP’s part to engineer defections in the rival camp, had long been in play. More recently, in Sikkim, 10 legislators joined the BJP, breaking ranks with the Sikkim Democratic Front. The BJP’s vote share in Sikkim had been a little over one per cent. Yet, it is now the principal Opposition in this hill state. This feat must also count as one of the wonders of New India.

Of course, the BJP’s hunger has usually been sated by the opportunism among its supposed contenders. This opportunism, however, is also the sign of a deeper rot in Indian politics. There is considerable concern about the criminalization of the political process in the country. But India remains strangely acquiescent to the corresponding obliteration of the moral question in public life. It is the collective apathy that has enabled political outfits of every shade to engage in dubious parleys for the sake of power. There is an attendant problem in this context. The BJP’s electoral dominance, abetted by the weak ideological spine demonstrated by its adversaries, has given the Indian political landscape a distinct homogeneous entity. Democracy is a celebration of contesting views and choices. Political hegemony of any party would be antithetical to the spirit of Indian democracy. Yet, the BJP marches on.

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