The unique characteristic of a democracy is its ability to provide equal justice to all the citizens. In a democracy, justice doesn’t discriminate between rich and poor, powerful and weak. But despite being the largest functioning democracy in the world, our country more often than not willfully ignores the real strength of democracy; thus weakening one of the pillars on which a democratic system is built. We have now been forced to swallow the fact that anyone even remotely associated with the ruling party can do no wrong. On the other hand, leaders and workers of opposition parties are involved in all sorts of crimes. Recently, former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh termed the trend as ‘vendetta politics.’ But Dr. Singh should do well to flip some pages of Independent India’s political history just to find out that such trend existed in India since its birth as a sovereign nation.
The most horrific exhibition of vendetta politics was during emergency, when almost all the top leaders of opposition parties were put behind bars. Their only fault was that they criticized the functioning of the then Central Government. But things did not change even after lifting of emergency. Though the people rejected those who indulged in vendetta politics, the Janata Government carried on the legacy of such politics by arresting Indira Gandhi on flimsy grounds. Indira came out of the jail easily which successfully established the fact that the new government was no different. It also wanted to secure power by indulging in vendetta politics. Since then, coming to power and putting opposition leaders behind bars became a regular feature in Indian politics. Dr. Singh’s ten-year tenure as Prime Minister was never free from vendetta politics.
The late Jayalalitha and M. Kurunanidhi, two former chief ministers of Tamilnadu sent each other to jail, whenever they got the opportunity to rule the state. Only recently, Karnataka Congress leader Shiv Kumar was arrested on money laundering charges. But what about the charges that were levelled against the present Chief Minister of the same state B. S. Yedurappa and many of his cabinet colleagues? Will we ever be able to know whether Yedurappa or his colleagues are guilty or not? Down north In Uttar Pradesh, the present Chief Minister has successfully scuttled a case against him on the charges of hate speech. But what is the fate of rape and molestation charges that have been levelled against his senior party colleagues? It is shocking to know that a rape case against BJP leaders Swami Chinmayananda was abruptly closed by the Chief Minister in 2018, terming it politically motivated. Now, another rape allegation against the same BJP leader has come to light. Even in this case, it is difficult to envisage the BJP leader is being punished as the entire state machinery will try to prevent his conviction. There are numerous instances of ‘vendetta politics’ from all over the country, all of which can’t be mentioned.
Whenever a government is formed in a democracy, it is assumed that it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is expected that the government function impartially, which has been termed as ‘Raj Dharma’ by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. But in Indian politics, no leader seems to be interested in practicing ‘Raj Dharma.’ It is now ‘vendetta politics’ which is dominating the Indian political scenario and continues to weaken democracy.