By Quaid Najmi
Mumbai, May 28 (IANS): With the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi completing 9 years in the saddle this week, there is trepidation over retaining power on the ruling side and fresh optimism among the Opposition parties to -- hopefully -- dislodge it, while the masses still dream of 'good (old) days.
On anticipated lines, Maharashtra's Opposition parties -- Congress, Shiv Sena (UBT), Nationalist Congress Party, comprising the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) bloc, the Samajwadi Party and others frowned at the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA regime's poor track record on various fronts.
Leading the MVA charge, Shiv Sena (UBT)'s eloquent MP, Priyanka Chaturvedi, Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant and NCP's national spokesperson Clyde Crasto attacked the BJP on a slew of burning issues, especially the topical ones like the inauguration of the new Parliament House.
"PM Modi's tenure will be marked with a period of churning, in a way that left democracy eroded and the Constitution sidelined… Constitutionally elected state governments are being mercilessly toppled and oligarchs are being promoted," Chaturvedi said.
From the President being humiliated to the Vice-President having to kow-tow to the ‘emperor', Governors being political nominees/agents and the position blatantly misused to satisfy the ruling party's hunger for power, this government has broken all norms of political decency, Chaturvedi added.
Sawant said under Modi, the Indian economy is in a shambles and for the first time after many decades "crores of people have been thrown below the poverty line (BPL) while the rich get richer".
"The BJP talks big about a USD 5 trillion economy, but what's the current state… Inflation has touched unprecedented levels, joblessness has broken all previous records, all sections of the people are suffering, particularly the poor and the middle class… But the government is busy with event management and advertising blitzkriegs," said Sawant.
Crasto rued the manner in which democracy is being throttled and systematically destroyed under the BJP rule, and now the Constitution itself is at grave risk.
"See how several legally elected state governments were broken and toppled using money power, letting loose the terror by central investigation agencies, just to snatch power wherever they are voted out. All Opposition, whether political, ideological or intellectual, is being muzzled and the opponents are treated like enemies and ‘traitors', while the independence of all Constitutional institutions is being demolished," said Crasto.
Chaturvedi feels that despite having the unique advantage of a single party majority for two consecutive terms after many years, and the people's faith in Modi, it was his inability to be ‘inclusive, reformative and transformative', that culminated in ‘deep hatred and societal divisiveness' which are now the new normal.
"There is a need to go beyond image building despite all-round failures like demonetisation (2016) and the subsequent failure of the Rs 2000 note experiment, arresting corruption, inability to control China at the borders, erosion of the credibility and accountability of all independent agencies," said Chaturvedi.
Sawant said that perhaps the only success of the Modi regime was in spreading communal poison to win elections, committing religious atrocities to polarise the voters and damaging the ‘social-religious harmony and peace' that was the country's hallmark till 2014.
"Under Modi, India is boiling ... the legitimacy given to immoral and undemocratic means to grab power has ripped the social-political atmosphere totally ... Democracy faces an existential threat and gasps in the ICU… It's time for the countrymen to wake up," warned Sawant.
Flaying the poor implementation of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns that ruined millions of lives, particularly the middle class and lower class of society, Crasto said that the situation has worsened with the BJP's inability to bring down the prices of gas, petrol-diesel, tackle farmers problems, unemployment, etc.
"Yet, the PM brushes everything under the carpet whenever he goes on foreign jaunts to earn accolades for himself while the country suffers ...But, now after losing Karnataka and the series of electoral debacles in the recent past, it's clear their confidence is shaken for the 2024 Lok Sabha challenge," declared Crasto.
Incidentally, Maharashtra sends the second highest number of MPs -- 48 (after Uttar Pradesh) -- to the Lok Sabha and is among the key states for any party aiming to capture the Centre. The MVA plans to offer a united challenge to the BJP in 2024.