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2014 to 2034 – Will India’s democratic transition be successful?

Shreya Fotedar

Will India have successful democratic transition?

As of 2019, India’s democracy completes 72 years and at this point, every western democracy has gone through the transition from the initial stage to intermediate stage of democracy. Every country has it’s own set of political problems based on history and culture of the region. In India, in the last 70 years, our politics has made multiple mistake and in order for the transfer to be complete it’s important we correct our mistakes, but if our politics is not able to do that, then do we say goodbye to democracy in 2034?

In 2014, when Prime Minister Modi was fighting the general election, he led a perfect narrative that captured majority moderate Hindu minds – a man of merit with a 56-inch chest who is a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist who wants India to be ‘Congress free’ by making big promises that he will get jobs for the Indian youth, make Indian politics free of dynasty rule and pseudo-secularism.

It was naïve of us to support and believe in those dreams, but his 2014 campaign has sparked a debate and put in front mistakes of our politics – nepotism, pseudo-secularism, an economic policy that has failed to deliver on jobs, and failed on national security issues especially with regard to Kashmir. Nepotism is a problem that is rooted in our culture, and minority appeasement has so far been rooted in our politics. Every time a debate takes place on alleged left-wing news channels such as NDTV on Kashmir, they fail to see their mistakes in giving majority of the state sympathy over-looking their barbaric act towards their own minority which includes Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists. On the other hand, the Congress party is in denial or leaders within do not have the courage to say it, but the country as a whole wants the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to be out of politics forever. The fact that their so-called leader-in-charge Rahul Gandhi is not taken seriously by anybody even when he makes sense is enough proof. But, does that mean Congress is done?

Prime Minister Modi won the election of 2019 on two major accounts – Hindutva and national security. His recent statement of Chinese encroachment of our land, and denying they have taken any territory puts him in the spotlight again and had led to failure in even safeguarding national security on very premise he won his previous election. While Congress can be happy with every time he fails on economic front, on making our institutions weaker, or on our territory being taken by our mighty eastern neighbor – we must keep in mind his every decision effects all of us, including the Congress party.

Whenever I hear Congress leader speak on losing elections, they seem hopeful that the next election of 2024 they will win if Prime Minister Modi continues to fail in all fronts. While that might be case with some Indians voting in favor of the Congress, India is still a Hindu-majority nation and will require Congress to introspect very deeply where does it really stand on secularism? on Uniform Civil Code? And whether they will go back to that state ever again or radically change their politics. Now, when I say radical change I am not just talking about giving up pseudo-secularism but to also come clean on economic policy, ideology and most importantly, leadership. At some point of time, Indian politics, just like other advanced democracies, have to accept the idea of Prime Ministerial candidate but the problem remains is that our country’s unique diversity and regional aspiration do not allow us correlate with an example from advanced democracies. No advance democracy has our kind of diversity in language, culture, traditions, religion, and ethnicity. A state has its own set of right-wing and left-wing parties and also national parties from opposed ideologies fighting in the same electoral battle. We have thriving multi-party system that needs an adjustment of a unique kind to get involved without loosing control of their respective regional identities in national elections, therefore, leadership has come from the grassroots, must be meritocratic and educated. Somebody from the present leadership has to take the charge who shows the way for the future of India’s center to the left politics.

The truth of the matter is, as long as Prime Minister Modi is fighting elections, it has hard for any party to rule in the center. But, at some point, he may pass on the baton to someone else, it is at that time we will need rise of an opposition party either a new and improved Congress or some regional center-to-left that takes center stage becoming the main alternative to the BJP as India move to intermediate stage of democratic development. But, this will only be possible, if a party emerges realizing the mood of the nation, capturing it and making sure India emerges victorious from the period of turmoil leading to successful transition.

At some point, we will lose Kashmir (I hope I am wrong), we will go through greater economic depression (as predicted by economist Nouriel Roubini), the dynasty will be asked to leave and Prime Minister Modi will definitely get three terms, because in Indian politics as noted before extra-ordinary leaders always at least get three terms – Jawaharlal Nehru (India’s first Prime Minister), and Indira Gandhi. Whether he will get the fourth term or someone gets appointed that time will tell, and all this would have happen when we will reach nadir. But, what is known for sure is that after that point, the election of 2034 will be for Indian democracy make or break, and if the opposition does not get it act together and give a challenge to incumbent leadership by then, nothing can save India.

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