Not all democracies are created equal. Nor do they always remain democracies. Three years on, the International Day of Democracy cautions Indians to be vigilant. As the International Day of Democracy turned 10 on September 15, the UN’s theme for 2017, “Democracy and Conflict Preservation” holds up a mirror to our demagogic BJP government and the new crop of elected populists worldwide who feed off hate politics and degrade democracy.
India is a democracy. The Modi government cannot be trusted as it has attacked the basic structure from the very beginning! NJAC’s attempt to take away judicial independence and Aadhar’s whittling down of privacy are evidence.
Modi’s troll-doctored polls on the Narendra Modi App and MyGov website create an optical illusion of deliberative e-governance. They have been deliberately structured to prevent Indians from shaping the agenda as there is no transparency as to what policy recommendations are being made by netizens and whether their most popular demands are being taken up. Rahul Gandhi, in sharp contrast, is keeping it real by personally surveying citizens on the ground and overseeing the development of innovative and identifiable self-help groups like the All India Professionals’ Congress that have the potential to crowdsource manifestos and policies.
Meanwhile, we, must heed the United Nations’ warning that democracy is in danger worldwide and rise up to defend ours. The protector’s mantle falls upon Congress as the main Opposition party at a time when BJP is using its majority and chokehold on the Speaker’s Office to suspend discussion and force through legislation in parliament that waters down democracy.
Congress has a veritable and consistent track record promoting a democratic, stable and peaceful world order as the ideological successors of first PM Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru is remembered as the missionary statesman of decolonisation for faithfully completing Mahatma Gandhi’s work by supporting African and Asian countries’ struggles for self-rule.