Indian elections: In democracy people are the governing force

The recent Indian parliament election yet again proves that public indeed is the governing force in a democratic system. The 640 million (64 crore) voters in India have proven that it’s still possible to hold an inclusive election with the participation of all parties and groups even amid an extremely hostile political environment.

We hail the pro-democracy people as well as the political leadership of India. The result of the Indian election this time has been quite different from various predictions and calculations made in advance. The NDA alliance led by ruling BJP after winning majority seats is about to form the government.

However in the last two elections, BJP had the upper hand to form the government alone after gaining absolute majority, which is not there this time. Narendra Modi will have to form the government with the help of the NDA alliance partners, with many of whom BJP has political and ideological differences. On the other hand, Congress led ‘INDIA’ alliance did unexpectedly well in this election.

The truth brought out by the results of this election is that BJP’s policy of division and Hindu nationalism has lost its previous appeal to the voters. It’s not possible to retain public trust and support counting on this alone.

How capable the government is in running the country, how much the socio-economic policies are people-oriented, if the public is reaping the benefit of that or not, if discrimination is increasing in the society or not, these considerations are extremely important to the voters.

In this year’s election, the opposition parties of India formed an alliance and highlighted the government’s failure in socio-economic development, various problems of the public life as well as the aspects of corruption and discrimination in their election campaign.

Just as Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra (Unite India March) played a role behind ‘INDIA’ alliance performing well in the election, various wrong policies adopted by Modi government in the socioeconomic field during the last 10 years had a role as well. So, the election result this time has pointed out an array of things to learn for both the sides.  

While analysing the Indian election, distinguished professor at Illinois State University in the US, Ali Riaz wrote that the election results in India has globally created scope for the pro-democracy population to breathe a sigh of relief. But will there be a change in the situation or not depends on the fact whether the Indian civil society and the opposition politicians continue with their resistance or not.

A fair and inclusive election as well as a powerful opposition is essential for protecting the democracy of any country. BJP’s landslide victory and the feeble stand of the opposition parties in the last two Lok Sabha elections of India had downgraded the democracy in India.

BJP, holding absolute power, had undertaken many such policies including religious discrimination and discriminatory citizenship law that have induced fear among the minorities of the country. It has been considered contradictory to India’s fundamental ideology of secularism also among the country’s conscious population.

However if the continuity of democracy can be maintained, one can learn from the mistakes and rectify. That’s the beauty of democracy. The Indian election results this time gave this message.

This Indian election could be a major lesson for Bangladesh as well. The trend of democracy has not been disrupted even for a single day in 77-year-old free India. But in Bangladesh, it has been disrupted due to the failure of the political leadership.

There’s no major difference among the prominent political parties of Bangladesh on economic issues. Neither is their difference on political issues as apparent as that of India. Even then, Bangladesh has drifted a long way from an inclusive and credible elections.

As neighbouring countries, there is a good relationship between Bangladesh and India. There has been massive progress in the fields of trade and commerce as well as in communication. Yet, a number of issues including the sharing of Teesta water have remained unresolved.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina is visiting India to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new government of India. We can hope that the new Indian government will take effective and fruitful steps to settle the unresolved issues.

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