NEW DELHI – Social activists and academicians issued a strong joint statement warning the opposition parties of the dangers of the return of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power in the present Lok Sabha elections.
The press statement issued on Tuesday severely charged the Narendra Modi government of “taking India towards a totalitarian and violent mass culture” and urged all opposition parties to “realize and confront the gravity of the threat to democracy”.
Pointing to Narendra Modi government’s undemocratic and unconstitutional actions, the group of concerned citizen noted “All these are taking India towards a totalitarian and violent mass culture, which will be a threat to everyone who do not come out to support the regime. Any successes of BJP in the coming elections will deepen the hollowing out of Indian democracy. All non-BJP political parties, irrespective of their programmes, and regardless of the social groups they represent, will be victims of the implosion of democracy under BJP/RSS rule”.
Urging the opposition parties to realize the seriousness of the situation, they said “We appeal to all opposition political parties to realise and confront the gravity of the threat to democracy. It is time to rise above political competition. Political parties can function only in a democratic institutional structure and popular culture. If Modi, the BJP and the RSS succeed in their plans, our democratic institutions will be destroyed, and political parties will become irrelevant”.
We appeal to all opposition political parties to realise and confront the gravity of the threat to democracy. It is time to rise above political competition. If Modi, the BJP and the RSS succeed in their plans, our democratic institutions will be destroyed, and political parties will become irrelevant
As the opposition is divided into various alliances, the group wants them to contest elections over ‘minimum program’ formulated jointly by the united opposition. They have suggested some of the issues which should be included in the ‘minimum program’. They want to scrap the electoral bonds law passed by Modi government in order to make political funds transparent. They also want to scrap the sedition law. They demanded a public commitment to strengthen ‘citizens’ rights’ and rights-based social welfare programs like the MNREGA. They also demanded a law against social media abuse.
Underlining the BJP-led regime’s undemocratic and unconstitutional actions, they noted “The Modi regime has devalued constitutional institutions, subverted the separation of powers, and used executive power for sectarian and corrupt purposes. It has diminished the legislative authority of the parliament, hidden information from parliamentary committees, and used it as a platform for political abuse. The use of CBI against political opponents, meddling in its functioning – including subverting its internal structure with the help of hand-picked officials is one of its infamous deeds. It has lied to the judiciary, and interfered in judicial appointments with mala-fide intentions”.
Accusing the government of subverting India’s criminal justice system, they said “Upright officials have been victimised, and even judges threatened discreetly. The file containing evidence on Aseemanand’s involvement in the (Malegaon blast case) disappeared. Crucial evidence on the death of Judge Loya and two of his friends was apparently ignored and the case was subject to an indecent burial – the manner in which this was done has brought disrepute to our judiciary”.
They drew the attention of the parties towards ‘fake encounters’, mob lynching of minorities and poor people. “In sum, the BJP/RSS regime has openly enabled hooliganism and violence,” they noted. They also pointed to subverting the autonomy and independence of institutions like CBI, NSSO, Election Commission and Central Information Commission.
The joint statement was signed by Battini Rao, convener, PADS (People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism), Dilip Simeon, former professor of Delhi University, Dipak Dhoulakia, social activist, Harsh Kapoor, Editor, SACW, Jamal Kidwai, Aman, Delhi, Kiran Shaheen, social activist, Sanjay Kumar, Delhi University.