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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 24, June 15, 2024

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, June 15, 2024

Saturday 15 June 2024


Letter to the Readers, Mainstream June 15, 2024

Yes Mr Modi’s BJP fell short of the majority mark in the 2024 General election and had to have the help of coalition partners to form a Government. That is all done and the coalition partners are playing ball no sign of any ‘moderation’ or restraint in the air. Those who are reading the decline in the number of seats won by BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections as a full scale rejection of its communal politics are in some delusional bubble — we must not loose sense of a reality of majoritarianism & vengeful nationalism having a social resonance in a section of Indian society and on the other hand the BJP is not showing any signs of being on a back foot, It missed no opportunity to organise a gigantic (with 9000 guests) swearing-in ceremony for the new government, it has gone on to appoint same type of people with Hindutva backgrounds, also many from the previous cabinet of Ministers reflecting a certain continuity and is clearly on track—to disregard contestation —It has gone ahead with its plan despite protest from the opposition to move away the statue of Mahatma Gandhi from outer part of the Parliament complex where protests used to happen [1]. The opposition sure has elan and energy after having scored well in the election. But the BJP hasn’t cut its ideological agenda, and communal talk nor is it likely to change its muscular ways. They are in the saddle now, and they likely continue their overall drive without mellowing their hardline positions so the targeting of opposition & civil society will continue. Soon after his swearing-in the Prime Minister while speaking to officials at the PMO set out a loud populist nationalist agenda [2]. The political signals in the immediate aftermath of the third term government formation are clearly of business a usual …. Two days after his election as a Member of Parliament Yusuf Pathan got an encroachment notice from the Vadodara Municipal Corporation [3], journalists from the monthly Delhi magazine The Caravan are facing a retaliatory police investigation [4]]. The Lt Governor of Delhi has just given a go ahead to a prosecution sanction against the prominent author Arundhati Roy [5] The formation of a BJP Government in Odisha has immediately stoked fears in the Christian community which faced massive violence in 2008 in Kandhamal; The choice of Mohan Charan Majhi, the new Chief Minister of Orissa who has been a former RSS activist and a BJP MLA had campaigned for the release of Dara Singh the man who led the mob that burnt alive the Australian Pastor Graham Staines in Orissa, speaks for itself [6], [7]. The BJP lost many seats in Uttar Pradesh in the 2024 election but that hasn’t put any brakes on the heavy-handed ways of the Yogi Adityanath Government in Uttar Pradesh [8]. Everybody is on tenterhooks as three new criminal laws with serious implications for the Criminal justice system are set to come into effect from July 1, prominent citizens have endorsed a letter written to Law Minister and the Chief Justice of India, seeking deferment of the laws till further consultations are done. How the Government responds will reflect if it is conciliatory to public opinion. Whichever way India’s Parliamentary opposition and civil society have a long & tough road ahead.

June 14, 2024 —HK

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