Keeping to democratic norms

If truth is the first casualty in a war, decency must be the first casualty in an election war. When decency is thrown to the winds by lower level workers, the party rank and file, it may be understandable if not supportable. But when indecent and offensive words come from the topmost leaders of the party, then that becomes a matter of concern because it violates the spirit of democracy. Likening opposition parties to cats, dogs, snakes, etc., may be a vocal tonic for the party faithfuls, but such language does not brighten the image of the party before the people in general. BJP president Amit Shah’s speech at the foundation ceremony of his party in Mumbai on Friday was not in the best of taste, to put it mildly. His overreaction to Opposition attempts at forging a broad-based unity to take on the ruling party in the next elections may create an impression quite contrary to what he intended to do. It may be taken as a sign of nervousness and weakness on the part of the ruling party.
It would be wise for the Opposition parties not to fall into the trap of provocation and start a slanging match with the ruling party. If the opposition parties want to convey to the people the message that they are a responsible and restrained lot who can be entrusted with the responsibility of running the country, they will have to maintain strictly the norms of democracy. Harsh words break no bones. It only creates bad blood. Instead of calling the Opposition names, the BJP president should patiently explain to the people what the Narendra Modi Government has delivered in the last four years, how it has given a better account of itself compared to the UPA government’s ten-year rule, how far it has fulfilled the promises it gave to the people before the elections and what is its road map for the future.
When people see and feel the impact of the achievements made by the government on their daily lives, no amount of adverse propaganda by the Opposition will cut much ice with them. On the contrary, if things have not improved, claims of success by the ruling party will sound hollow and will be seen through by the people. The NDA claims it has given a better government and better governance than the UPA regime. If so, what is the necessity of resorting to unbecoming language and calling Opposition parties animals? Can’t an electoral battle be fought strictly maintaining the democratic norms?

Sunday, 15 April, 2018