The New Year always brings new hope. So quite naturally, ‘we the people of India’ have a long wish list as the year gone by was not a memorable one. In 2018, starting from the economy to international relations, infrastructural developments to empowerment, all seem to have come to a halt. Will all that change in 2019? Beyond a doubt the task in hand is difficult to perform. But that should not deter us from keeping the hopes alive as time and again India has proved that the nation and its people have the courage and ability to perform the most difficult tasks successfully.
Just take a trip down memory lane. In 1976, we had experienced an almost similar situation. Autocratic decisions started prevailing in the country in place of democratic ones. Emergency was declared. Fundamental rights of the citizens were robbed in certain situations. People of India withstood all such onslaughts of democracy and free speech silently. Finally when they got an opportunity to give a befitting reply, without hesitation, the electorate threw out the incumbent government and ushered in a coalition era for the first time in Independent India. The change through ballot is no less than a ‘silent revolution.’
At the end of 2018, we witnessed similar experiences when in five state Assembly polls the ruling party could not retain even its strongholds. Though it is too early to say whether 1977 general election verdict will be repeated in 2019, the fact is that the results are definitely a warning signal to the ruling camp. It has clearly pointed out the need for introspection. Governance, not political slugfest should be agenda of the government. Besides, the verdict carries another very important message too, that India is one. Efforts to divide the nation on the basis of religion or caste should not be tolerated.
If Indians happened to support the religious divide, the reins of Rajasthan could well be in the hands of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). As per the government records, maximum number of violent incidents in the name of cow protection took place in that State. In almost every village of Rajasthan, cow protection teams were formed and those teams more often than not, took law into their hands and killed people, merely on the basis of suspicion. The poll verdict has clearly rejected such lawlessness. In Chattishgarh, the electorate voted against ‘police raj.’ The verdict implies that development is the need of the hour, not bullets. Proper livelihood is the need instead of doles by the government. Madhya Pradesh verdict shows that no matter how many facilities were given to the so called saints of a particular community, basic needs of the people should be addressed first by the government.
So to prevent the repeat of 1977 verdict, it is essential for the government of the day to correct the course it has adopted. Not only from the five states which went to polls recently, the message from the entire country is loud and clear. Respect the age-old Indian values of tolerance, co-existence and non-violence. Don’t forget the fact that India is a confluence of various religions, traditions and cultures. Dominance of one will never be acceptable to the people. Present us an India which is completely focussed on development and prosperity for all of India. Hope, 2019 will fulfil this wish.