Bogus Protectors of Constitution
Those resisting Narendra Modi in the name of protecting the Constitution have in truth failed to effectively oppose his resilience and efficient administrative acumen
As soon as the BJP lost the mandate in three states on December 11, its three chief ministers accepted the verdict, expressed gratitude and bowed out of office. The Prime Minister accepted the verdict in all humility, reiterated his commitment to continue working for a new India and thanked the party workers for their hard work and commitment. The elections to these states were held without any untoward incident – no violence, no booth capturing, no intimidation of voters and political opponents, no threats, no bombs lobbed, no expletives hurled.
In a true democratic spirit, the BJP and its leaders accepted the verdict, unlike the Congress first family which takes defeat personally and unleashes a horde of intellectuals and analysts who keep haranguing on how the Indian electorate is short-sighted and has made a mistake by rejecting the Congress. One saw that posture for a long time after the 2014 Modi tsunami which had reduced the Congress to mere rubble in Parliament. During those months and till the Congress won by a ruse in Karnataka, in daily doses we were subjected to how the Indian voters lacked maturity and did not have the capacity to discern the right leader from the wrong one.
On the contrary, Modi and his party, has in fact always displayed a deeper democratic sense. What Modi has essentially taught us, the ordinary components of a large multi-dimensional and many-hued political entity like the BJP, is to strive on undeterred, unfazed with the larger political objective and narrative; what Modi has taught us is to repeatedly re-commit ourselves to the ethos of free India, to the spirit of India's democratic living and to the possibility of her emerging as one of the powerhouses of the world. His approach to governance, his effort to give practical expression to the mandate that he earned in 2014, has been imbued with that attitude and approach.
He has been staunch and stoic in his approach to the fundamentals of India's federalism. So particular has he been, that Modi has desisted from interfering in the affairs of any state, firmly holding the view that the elected government of a state is and ought to be capable of handling situations and issues. In the last five years, Modi has inaugurated an era of federal sanctity, a sanctity which never existed under the dominant rule of the Congress dynasty. The federal spirit under Congress rule was, in fact, repeatedly defiled and desecrated.
83 superannuated bureaucrats, all of whom have at some time or the other been beholden to the Congress dynasty, all of whom continue to be torchbearers of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty even after demitting the many offices that they held and who have now started working as the Congress's election managers among the intelligentsia vote-bank, in a letter signed the other day, dished out homilies to Modi on the Constitution and his responsibilities. Coming from a motley crowd of retired bureaucrats who have often connived with the Congress in its quest for subverting democratic institutions, these homilies appear to be tinged with huge doses of irony.
The signatories are the best samples of how a committed and ideological bureaucracy behaves. Their professed commitment to the Constitution of India, to her federal spirit, is selective and biased. Ideologically driven and politically beholden, these bureaucrats, some of them like Aruna Roy, Harsh Mander and Jawahar Sircar, who have made a career out of demonising Modi, and committed dynasts like Shyam Saran, Shiv Shanker Menon and Najeeb Jung – who continued to serve as Lt Governor of Delhi even under the Modi dispensation post 2014 – have in fact displayed their insincerity. Aruna Roy, for example, as an active member of the extra-Constitutional NAC, was at the forefront of subverting the laid out structures and systems of governance, while Harsh Mander, with his Goebbels like propensity to peddle false narratives, has been at the forefront of the campaign against Modi since 2002, besides siding with break-India forces.
One never heard these voices when political violence became the order of the day in states such as Kerala and West Bengal. All their homilies, advises and accusations are reserved for states in which the BJP rules and for Modi. They have no advice for the Congress, they have no opinion when Rahul Gandhi jumps to defend separatists, they keep silent when stone pelters pound our Jawans, disfigure and kill them, they have no opinion when Urban naxals plot Modi's assassination and conspire to overthrow the state as established by the Constitution. They have no opinion when political parties in the opposition, in particular states, are prevented from carrying out legitimate political activities. Besides these, these signatories have always displayed disdain towards the socio-religious sentiments of the majority. During their tenure in office, they have helped create a system which has always browbeaten the Hindu into secular-submission.
They have no view on transforming India, they have never ever written a word on Modi's habit of resolutely sticking to the governance narrative, they have never ever recognised that Modi's struggle to alter mindsets is gradually yielding results, that besides transforming lives, ingrained collective habits were also being altered for the good and the focus on India's national health, on the health of the marginalised, was increasing and showing dividends. These tired bureaucrats with depleting ideas do not realise that what they should have done for India and did not, Modi is trying to work out and set right.
In reality, these bureaucrats have never encouraged a real debate, they have never generated a fair discourse, preferring the dominance of a single party and often working at the behest of particular interest groups and lobbies. For them, Modi is a phenomenon that is hard to comprehend. He does not succumb to their tactics, he cannot be read or deciphered by their conventional techniques of co-option, in his one-pointed doggedness towards governance, in his refusal to be distracted or diverted, in his infinite reserves of energy and resilience which never gives up, Modi exasperates them. They had hoped he would fail and now, in their desperation, they are trying to read failure in his success. These are elements which cannot survive without pelf or privilege; they see their supplies of oxygen depleting. In another term for Modi, they see for themselves a state of permanent asphyxia.
It frightens them and drives them to take on the false mantle of protectors of our Constitution and polity. But even in that bogus role, they are overshadowed, they have no takers, Modi's tenacity and commitment exposes them as mere political courtiers who pay lip service to the spirit of India's democracy and to her Constitution which sustains it.
(The author is Director, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, New Delhi. The views expressed are strictly personal)