Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation

Deepening of Democracy

This year is a special and significant year, India celebrates the seventy fifth year of independence and also celebrates the deepening of her democratic and inclusive fabric. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision of nominating Smt Draupadi Murmu as the NDA’s presidential candidate, symbolises the coming of age of India’s democracy and of the effective working out of the ideals of the Constitution.

In his first address in the Central Hall of Parliament as Prime Minister in 2014, Shri Narendra Modi had unequivocally stated that his government would be dedicated to the marginalised, to the deprived and to the neglected people of India, who for years were made many promises, but remained on the margins with little hope for advancement and empowerment. Through his eight years as Prime Minister he has fulfilled that promise in letter and spirit.

For decades parties such as the Dr. Anirban Ganguly Congress and the Left parties, who ruled in the “name of the people” never made governance, empowerment, inclusion their actual agenda. Their politics was propped up on sloganeering and conflict generation. It served them to keep fault-lines exercised. They practised tokenism, made promises with no intention of fulfilling them and allowed a vast section of our people to languish in the margins.

The general Indian psyche and mindset had accepted that our railway stations would be submerged in dirt and refuse, there was a general acceptance that ST and SCs would never have a fair share of power, there was a general acceptance that districts that were backward and insurgent infested would remain that way, there never was a question on why would a tap and tap-water be considered a luxury for the vast majority of rural Indians, one never questioned on why we, free India, could never design and build her own Parliament building, corruption in high places, delayed or selective development, ever expanding deadlines of projects that never saw completion – all of these had become part of our daily living. It is that entrenched mindset which served a certain political class, that is being and has been conclusively challenged. Our collective conditioning is being upturned, the latest being the nomination and eventual election of Smt Draupadi Murmu, the first ST President of India who has emerged as a powerful symbol of the essence of India’s democratic fibre and fabric.

With each unique step and initiative, whether it is the observance of Constitution Day, whether it is the celebration of the Janajatiya Gaurav Divas, whether it is through a mega economic and entrepreneurial inclusiveness, PM Modi has established, he has shown and demonstrated that this period, which announces the start of “Amrit Kaal”, is the most propitious period for democracy in the history of independent India.

India’s democracy has moved beyond tokenism and beyond the grip of those who had halted its growth and deepening for all these decades.

(The writer is a Member, National Executive Committee (NEC), BJP and Chairman of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation. Views expressed are personal)