TODAY -

Prophetic words, indeed
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: April 22, 2024 -



"...if the voters are not careful in this election, we will not have another free and fair election in this country. What is happening in Manipur can also happen in other states in India. Don't think it will not be coming knocking at your door too. Economic misery will increase and there be large-scale destruction of equality".

These are the words of caution that came out from the mouth of Indian political economist and commentator Parakala Prabhakar, who has been very critical of the policies and programmes of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the centre.

Prabhakar belies his soft-spoken nature when it comes to attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi vociferously over alleged mishandling of the economy, politics and other issues.

But the fact that Prabhakar is also the husband of Nirmala Sitharaman, the country's finance minister in the Modi government since 2019, seems to make most people and media houses in the country not to take his criticisms with the seriousness they deserve other than quoting in some news reports more for their shockingly entertaining effect rather than encouraging the public to sit up for a thorough analysis or sparking a prime time discussion, if not a nation-wide debate.

When Prabhakar embarrassed his finance minister wife by writing an article in The Hindi in October, 2019 to criticise her economic policy and comment on the fall of revenue in the Goods and Service Tax (GST) or ridiculed her statement of terming the spread of Coronavirus pandemic as an 'act of god' in her speech at the GST Council on August 27, 2020 to justify non-transfer of GST revenue shares to the states, everyone was regaling over it as yet another drama of Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani (a tale of every home) where couple fights and argues over anything.

Similar is the case, when the author of "The Crooked Timber of New India," rubbished the chances of Prime Minister Modi securing a third term and claimed that BJP would not be able to bag more than 230 seats in the 18th Lok Sabha election in a recent interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire, which is in total contradiction to what Nirmala Sitharaman had said about "realisable target" of "370 for BJP, 400 for NDA" set by the Prime Minister in conversation with Navika Kumar of Times Now at the Times Now Summit 2024.

While, it would be known whether the Prime Minister achieves his target or not when the counting of votes for the 18th Lok Sabha take place on June 4, the words of caution given by Prabhakar that there will not be another free and fair election in the country if the voters are not careful in this election and Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns to power, though sounded ridiculous, seem to be turning out true.

One has to just look at what had happened on Friday, 19th April, 2024, when Manipur went to the polls for the 18th Lok Sabha in the first phase.

The extent of poll-related violence including vandalism caused, proxy voting carried out and armed men openly threatening voters not to come out of their houses or dictating them to vote in favour of the ruling party's candidate only that was witnessed was something unprecedented in the democratic history of the strife-torn state.

The Election Commission of India may have ordered repoll in 11 polling stations following complaints from the rival political parties in fray.

But the moot question here is - if flexing of muscle power and indulging in malpractices without any compunction are the kind of preparations and efforts that BJP and its NDA partners are talking about for securing 400 plus seats in the Lok Sabha election, then "our democracy is in crisis" and "a return to power of the present government would spell disaster for India", as Prabhakar, against all odds, has been trying to make the people of India aware of.

This is indeed a scary prospect.



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