Acute Agrarian Distress
From March 6th to March 12th 2018, the Nation witnessed a large scale protest by the farmers in the State of Maharashtra. Better known as the Kisan Rally or the Kisan Long March, this mobilization involved a relentless 180km march that was undertaken by well over 50,000 farmers to put forward their plight and demands in the agrarian sector. The 149th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi was marked by the Kisan Kranti Yatra where more than 30,000 farmers took to the streets and made way to the National Capital to demand loan waiver, subsidized electricity and fuel, pension for farmers above the age of sixty and implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission. Unfortunately they were greeted by lathis, water cannons and tear gas by the police. These are just two major instances that show the plight of the farmers and the agrarian sector in recent times. The present government has failed to provide the minimum support prices, implement Forest Rights Act for tribal cultivators without land rights, and waives off farm loans and not addressed and acted effectively to stop the compounding farmer suicides.
One of the major promises of Prime Minister Modi was the creation of at least two crore job openings a year. Since the time of assuming office, this promise was not materialized and the ruling party has succeeded in the creation of a mere 20 lakh jobs for the entire country. Ironically, the job creation of the present NDA Government is lesser than the previous UPG government. One can see the hollow lies that were promised in terms of unemployment. On the contrary, many IT and retail sectors are effectively decreasing their workforces. To reconcile the act of selling ‘pakodas’ as a formal employment avenue as done by the PM only adds insult to the already massive injury of Joblessness among the Indian population.
The abrupt decision to render the legal 500 and 1000 tenders worthless came as an entire shock to the Nation. PM Modi initially spearheaded demonetization as a noble effort to curb the black money hoardings by targeting the “anti-national and anti-social elements” of the country. However as said by our former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, this scheme indeed turned out to be a monumental mismanagement and organized loot and legalized plunder. Countless citizens suffered the pain to deposit old defunct notes and to withdraw new ones due to the ill planned execution of the scheme. Many citizens also succumbed to death during the very process of extracting their hard earned money. The country’s GDP too took a hit and fell close to two per cent. The mounting failures gave way to the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and PM Modi to reveal an entirely new purpose of the move and that was to boost digital and cashless economy. This was merely a post facto justification of the failed efforts to curtail black money. All in all, after the recent announcement of the Reserve Bank of India on more than 99% of the 500 and 1000 notes being deposited and exchanged only adds to the wise words of Dr. Manmohan Singh.
Fallout with Allies
The BJP has been witnessing a lot of fissures with its allies. The Shiv Sena that also happens to be the BJP’s oldest ally have been quite vocal about their resentment with the ruling party. The Shiv Sena has also announced that they will approach the next general elections on their own without any support. One can also see such fractures between the BJP and the TDP. Chandrababu Naidu was the first among the non BJP members to favour Modi as the PM candidate. However, the past few months have unfolded him to walk out on the NDA and even move a no-confidence motion against the government. The Akali Dal of Punjab as also shown their discontentment with the BJP and Jammu and Kaskmir has also witnessed the fallout of the PDP-BJP alliance.
Union of Regional Rivals
Lately, the nation has witnessed some unusual allies in the parliament. One such example is the joining of the hands of the unlikely allies of the Congress, TDP and YSR over the acknowledgement of the special status of Andhra Pradesh. This serves as a perfect example of regional influences getting together to stand up against the BJP. The Mayawati led pro Dalit BSP and the Akhilesh Yadav led Muslim-OBC friendly SP have also come together. The two victories of SP in Gorakhpur and Phulpur stand a good material and a rhetorical example to this context. Such unexpected alliances are quite possible owing to the increasing grievances among the various parties. Some of them include Chandra shekhar Rao, Mayati, Akhilesh Yadav, Uddhav Thackeray, Mamata Banerjee, Navin Patnayak and Arvind Kejriwal. If these alliances are forged effectively, the fall of BJP may not be so far fetched.
Weak Foreign Policies
The Modi led government has miserably failed to prevent China from entering the Doklam region. This has led to the strengthening of the Chinese military forces which are further backed by their strong infrastructure of belts and roads. The terrible economic blockade by the Modi government on Nepal after the unfortunate 2015 earthquake was globally criticized. Furthermore, the repercussions of this was Nepal getting closer to China where the two countries have established new trade routes and carry simultaneous military exercises. Since 2014, the relation between Maldives and China has grown exponentially and India has lost important ground in development. A multi-million contract of constructing the Male airport in Maldives was withdrawn from India and given to China. Seychelles has also refused India’s demand for a base at Assumption Island. The United Kingdom removed India from their list of Low-Risk countries putting the student visa applications at risk. There have been close to 2000 ceasefire violations by Pakistan and the casualties have been numerous both to the army and the civilians since the last four years where the Modi government has effectively failed to put a stop to these intrusions.
Rampant Crony Capitalism and The Steady Rise of NPAs
There has been an exponential rise in the strengthening of crony capitalism in the Modi regime. The policies of the NDA government are such that they openly favour a specific set of capitalists and the businessmen of India and at the same time do not care for the interest of the small business enterprises public. The banks too have taken a bad hit because of this with NPAs increasing to nearly Rs 9 lakh crore; more than double of the number when Modi took over as PM. The Modi led government has also revoked the loans of huge sums of the big capitalists but could not revoke the loans of the farmers to curb their sufferings and minimize their rising suicide rates.
The NDA tenure has seen a lot of business tycoons absconding from India to flee from the debt they owe to the banks. Among the prominent names are Vijay Mallya, who owes Rs9,000 crore to the banks, Nirav Modi along with his wife Ami Modi, his brother Neeshal Modi and uncle Mehul Choksi are named in the Rs12,636 crore fraud at Punjab National Bank. Jatin Mehta of Winsome Diamonds who owes Rs7,000 crore, former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi, accused of siphoning off Rs 125 crore from the country’s cricket board and Sterling Biotech Ltd directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara and Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara for alleged bank fraud of Rs 5,000 crore are also among the absconders. There are among the few who of the economic fugitives who have found refuge in foreign lands under the BJP’s governance tenure. The Prime Minister’s incessant promises of recovering the NPA’s do not seem to hold true in the light of the exodus of these loan defaulters who so conveniently fly off to be citizens of other countries. Such instances do pose a great threat to PM Modi’s commitments his war against black money.
The Rafale Swindle
In April 2015, the Modi led government pronounced a deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France while scraping the previous deal of the UPA government that had also chosen the same fighter aircraft. The previous UPA deal involved the purchase of 126 such aircraft along with the transfer of technology to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited where 108 aircrafts were to be made in India by HAL. Not much after the cementing of the deal, it was announced that Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group would be a ‘key player’ in accomplishing the contracts. This deal has received volumes of criticism on the shooting of the prices of the jets to over 300% from Rs 526 crore to Rs 1,670 crore and the appointment of Anil Ambani led Reliance Group who literally does not have any experience in aeronautics. This has already being called the ‘grandmother of all corruption’ in India and may perhaps prove fatal to the BJP to secure power in 2019.
Mockery of the Anti-Corruption Vows and Promises
PM Modi led his NDA government into power by making great claims about curtailing corruption and black money. However, the actual reality on the ground has been very different from the glorified promises before the 2014 elections. There have been no official reports of the return of the black money that is stashed abroad in tax free havens. In fact the very move of demonetization that supposedly targeted the black money hoardings proved ineffective where there is almost the same amount of cash pumped back to the system. The BJP was an ardent supporter of the Lokpal movement and pledged to make the Lokpal Bill into reality. Unfortunately, these too seem to be just empty words with nothing actually done in reality. PM Modi was very vocal about his promise of depositing 15 lakhs to every citizen after the 2014 elections. However, these too have only been lies till date. Such continuous hollow claims are sure to shake the trust of the masses from the party which may result in their loss in the 2019 elections.
Destruction of Universities and Institutes of Learning
Since the rise of PM Modi into power, one has seen the consistent spiraling down of the Universities and other institutes of learning in the country. The unconstitutional appointments of right winged Vice Chancellors, Deans and Faculty with questionable credibility has caused a great crisis to the functioning of these spaces of learning where a strong ideological state apparatus is being implemented for the saffronization of education. Student protests and their right to dissent are seen as sedition by the government where the state has used brutal repressive force to come down on the Universities. Students who are critical of the government and their policies are baselessly labelled as anti-nationals and urban naxals. There is a lack of public expenditure on the universities and that has caused fee hikes across the country. JNU, TISS, JU, HCU, FTII are among the many who have continuously seen the brute force of the state on them. This has led to a lot of resentment among the youth of the nation among whom PM Modi is consistently losing his popularity
Rising Social Unrest
Post 2014, the country has witnessed a lot of conflict among the citizens mostly in the lines of the divisions of caste and religion. Cow vigilantism has exponentially increased where there have been many cases of lynching on the mere suspicion of consuming beef by the gau-rakshaks who have become custodians of the law themselves. There have been increasing atrocities against the Dalits across the country and the BJP in this context on their appointment of a Dalit President has only practiced tokenism. All this has led to the weathering of the communal fabric in India. The lynching of Akhlaq and the Bhima Koregaon violence are a few of the the innumerable instances of communal violence in India. What is worse is the deafening silence of PM Modi on the multitude of Dalit and Muslim lynching that have shook the country. Such ignorance and hypocrisy of promises of communal harmony along with the rise of strong Dalit leaders like Jignesh Mevani may be fatal for BJP and may lead to their loss in 2019.
Politicization of the Army
The Modi government time and again has used the Indian Army as their shield for political criticisms. Every critical questioning of the government and its policies is retaliated by the valorization of the armed forces where the sacrifices of the brave soldiers have become an excuse to the difficult questions to the government. Recently, it was declared by the Modi government that the 29th of September be celebrated as Surgical Strike Day. This move was criticized as an act of instilling forced patriotism to gain political mileage. Such acts of empty tokenism and the continuous use of the defense forces as an excuse for the blunders of the government may add to the weakening of BJP coming to power in 2019
No Space of Dissent in a Democracy
Everybody who is vocal in being critical to PM Modi or the government today has a very good chance of been branded as anti-national, a Pakistani ISI associate or an urban naxal. Dissent that is a hallmark the democratic ethos is being compromised by the Modi regime. Scholars and Professors that are critical to the RSS and the BJP are being lynched, attacked and thrashed in public all around the country. Various journalists, rationalists and activists have been harassed, arrested or murdered for their critical stance towards the NDA government. The cultural diversity of the minorities of India is being made to submit under the majoritarian normative of the population. Such assault to the very basic structure of democracy that the Constitution provides us may not be conducive to the popularity of PM Modi and his party in the long run.
Rising Expenses and Petrol Prices
One of the major agendas of the BJP for the 2014 elections was the reduction of general expenses and especially on the prices of fuel. However, not much is done in this sector. The rural economy has continuously remained under stress amidst droughts under many states. The rampant FDI and the rapid privatization of the educational and the health sectors and the increase of housing rates and electricity charges have compounded the burden of expenses on the citizens. Amidst the rising expenses, the cost of fuel has reached record breaking prices in the country. The NDA government’s inefficiency in controlling the fuel prices and the various inconsistent statements of the ministers to justify the soaring prices of fuel have been much criticized. The rising expenses that directly affect the everyday lives of the people may be a good enough reason for PM Modi to lose the 2019 elections.
Also Read: PM Modi Failure in Andhra Pradesh