Election Commission of India has sounded the bugle for parliamentary elections. The voting starting from April 11 would be completed in seven phases and results would be out on May 23. Elections are usually for power. Bbut this time, when people of Indian would vote it would more than for power. India is presently at the threshold of big transition. On one side is the right wing BJP and its Hinduwa allies with ideological and organizational support from the RSS, on the other side is secular forces led by the Congress and an influential bunch of regional parties operating in different states. In 2014, the BJP fought the election on the development plank. “Corruption free India” and “Sub ka saath sub ka vikas” was the popular slogan of Narendra Modi. Corruption was a major issue as some huge scandals involving Congress and its allies’ leaders and ministers had brutally impaired the Congress. With change as common refrain, people of India voted in favor of Modi and his party largely. It was for the first time since 1989 that a single party was given full mandate by the people of India. However, soon after assuming the office, the BJP government launched an ideological offensive across India to replace the given secular order by its cherished philosophy of Hindustan for Hindus. In the process, the BJP attempted to change the very history of India. The main focus of the BJP rule has been on erasing the Muslim past of India. Places with Muslim name were changed, and a hate campaign was launched against Muslims, Christians and lower caste Hindus. Selling of beef, slaughtering and transporting cows from one place to another place was banned and dozens of Muslims were lynched to death by streets goons of Hindutwa brigade on false accusations of eating or selling beef. The lynch brigade had all the patronage of the government. Though the Muslims, who form around 19 percent of the overall population of India, were the main target of the soldiers of hate across the country but lower caste Hindus too were targeted in brazen manner.
The promises of equal development were soon forgotten and corruption took a new form. Several businessmen like Nirav Modi and Vijay Malya plundered thousands of crores of rupees from different banks and ran away to foreign countries. Curbs were put on political dissent as well. Voices of dissent were projected as “anti national”. A new norm was set for patriotism. The term patriotism was made synonymous with praise the incumbent government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was projected as ‘symbol of patriotism’. Any opposition to him was deemed as “anti national”. Dozens of instances are there when people with dissenting voices were threatened and asked to leave and go to Pakistan. The degradation in values and norms did not remain restricted to political realm only. The institutional democracy was also put under pressure. The media, one of the main fundamentals of a democracy, was brought to knees either by paisa or pressure. Army the largest institution of the country has been reduced a militant wing of the BJP. Judiciary, CBI and other institutions also faced the political pressure and onslaught. The coming elections would be no less than a referendum between the ideological drift floated in the five years of Modi and the constitutional democracy. The coming election, against this backdrop, would be a defining moment as to which way India would turn. Should it remain a country with sobriety, integrity and inclusiveness with equitable avenues of development, jobs and other basic incentives to its citizens or it would go by the chaotic, despotic and destructive drift started five years before. Elections are an opportunity to find the answers to the bigger question, should it remain Gandhi’s India or Godse.’s