The Opposition-Inspired Protests Against CAA Are A Cover For Lazy Politics

by Sumeet Bhasin - Dec 25, 2019 11:37 AM +05:30 IST
The Opposition-Inspired Protests  Against CAA Are A Cover For Lazy PoliticsA Popular Front of India (PFI) rally in Kerala.
  • Since Modi is changing the rules of the game by solving issues, it has become a big threat to lazy politics.

    Many opposition parties are inciting violence by misrepresenting facts and providing ideological cover to violent protests.

There have been multiple questions that I have had for the last couple of months and the recent episodes of violent protests have only reinforced the need to seek answers to some of them. There is a fair deal of misinformation regarding the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and despite government giving fresh clarifications the protests don’t seem to come to an end.

This is problematic for many reasons as it suggests that those protesting are not looking for a solution but they are rather more interested in destruction of private property.

When a journalist links multiple events and asks what it will take for a government to fall, you can safely assume that recent developments must be a part of a larger strategy. Is this strategy to topple a democratically-elected full-majority government? One cannot possibly rule this out but it cannot be proved either.

However, to a great extent we find that the recent protests are motivated not by concerns but by a systematic brainwashing of the society driven by the need to instil a fear amongst India’s minorities.

The approach has been that the government is against you – however, nobody, has been able to establish this. We have indeed been called communal even before 6 December 1991, and therefore, this has been an extensive marketing campaign by the existing elite over decades.

The question is if it has any substance and the answer is an emphatic no. There has not been a single instance over the last five years or even during National Democratic Alliance-1 (NDA-1) or in any of our states governments, where the government has acted against any community, be it minority or majority.

Before someone mentions triple talaq as an instance, they should honestly ask whether they would still support it had it happened to anyone in their family? The practice was barbaric and against modern principles of feminism, gender equality and liberal ethos. Yet, we didn’t see any of them come out in its support.

Clearly, there is a bias against the current government. It is this self-confirming bias that has led to violent protests today on the streets as several people pelt stones at the police for simply doing their jobs.

While police struggle to maintain law and order, we also have many eminent thinkers defame them for doing their job on the international stage. India’s elite are fighting back and still denying the fact that Narendra Modi won 303 seats and this denial is causing them to amplify the protests under the garb of their freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression is important just as protest is – but can it be justified when it leads to violence and those who instigated it fail to condemn it?

The problem is not with their freedom of expression but instead the fact that they are trying to incite violence. With several buses burnt and cities experiencing routine Section 144 showdowns, clearly people are angry, but this anger is towards those who have enabled such violence.

The lack of interest in resolving issues also demonstrates how people are not keen on finding a solution but instead vetoing the decision taken by a democratically-elected government.

A small minority compared to a huge population is protesting – some of which violently – to deny what was promised in Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) manifesto.

The fact that BJP won 303 seats implies that people in general did support the move for an NRC-CAA and therefore, the strong veto is to deny the people what they want. It is a classic holdout problem and the government should not give in as Rajiv Gandhi did in the Shah Bano case.

Let us rewind 2019 and we find that we have witnessed history in the making. In January, we saw a shift towards a direct income support for farmers which was followed by a minor relaxation in the personal income tax rates in the interim budget.

The country undertook one of the biggest electoral procedure in history of the world which resulted in a historic mandate in support of Prime Minister Modi.

Since the start of Modi 2.0, we have witnessed the resolution of Article 370, abolishing of triple talaq, a resolution to the issue of Ram temple dispute, regularisation of unauthorised colonies in Delhi and the CAA.

Clearly, Mr Modi has emerged as a solver of some of the most contentious issues that have existed in India since decades.

This brings us at an important question, why are people protesting? Specially when Dr Manmohan Singh in 2003 had asked for such a law.

The answer to this is simple, many political parties based their politics on contentious issues and cultivated vote-bank coalitions of class and caste arithmetic. Their view was that such a core vote-bank will ensure political success over time as they would raise these issues repeatedly in successive electoral campaigns. The ‘garibi hatao’ was perhaps one such issue which the Congress continues to use till date.

The fact that Modi the disruptor has changed the rules of the game by solving these issues is a big threat to their lazy politics.

Consequently, many of the opposition parties are inciting violence by misrepresenting facts and providing ideological cover to motivated violent protests. People of India are silently taking note of these developments and will respond through their votes in due course of time.

Dr Sumeet Bhasin is the Director of Public Policy Research Centre and was a member of the BJP Social Media Committee for 2019 Lok Sabha Elections.

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