Mahua Venkatesh and Atul Aneja
The state election results have given an important message to the world: India continues to be a thriving democracy. Its election process is fair and transparent, ensuring smooth political transitions, irrespective of the party in power.
Amid several global research and media outfits coming up openly doubting India’s democratic process under the ruling BJP, the election results for some have significant, sobering, if not embarrassing connotations.
Consider this. The non-profit Freedom House, based in the US, downgraded the country from being a free democracy to a "partially free democracy" under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They were not alone, giving rise to the suspicion, on whether these self-proclaimed so-called guardians of democracy in the west were a well-knitted cabal which had pre-decided to take on Modi behind-the-scenes.
Afterall the criticism against Modi have come thick and fast from the ideological guru, global financier and democracy evangelist George Soros who openly attacked the Indian Prime Minister at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2020. At the WEF, Soros accused Modi of fostering a Hindu nationalist state and depriving Muslims of their citizenship.
“The biggest and most frightening setback occurred in India where a democratically elected Narendra Modi is creating a Hindu nationalist state, imposing punitive measures on Kashmir, a semi-autonomous Muslim region, and threatening to deprive millions of Muslims of their citizenship,” he said.
Soros is no ordinary billionaire. The Hungarian born “philanthropist” runs a soft power machine. Soros emits his message targeting several “unliked” sovereign governments with digitally driven grassroots movements from his network of Open Society Foundations and a string of global NGO’s, under the garb of fostering democracy and human rights.
He is a major contributor to Human Rights Watch, which has, incidentally backed the anti-Modi farmers’ protests in India.
The internet is also agog with pointers that it is the semi-secret organisations such as the Bilderberg group, whose meetings are attended by people like Soros, where collective decisions are taken behind the scenes on targeting specific leaders and countries that do not follow the script written by its super-elite members.
Soros’ association with the Bilderberg group has been widely reported.
In his review of David Estulin’s 2005 book, The True Story of the Bilderberg Group, Stephen Lendman quotes the author as saying that in 1954, “the most powerful men in the world met for the first time” in Oosterbeek, Netherlands, “debated the future of the world,” and decided to meet annually in secret. They called themselves the Bilderberg Group with a membership representing a who’s who of world power elites, mostly from America, Canada, and Western Europe with familiar names like David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel, Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Lloyd Blankfein, George Soros, Donald Rumsfeld, Rupert Murdoch, other heads of state, influential senators, Congressmen and parliamentarians, Pentagon and NATO brass, members of European royalty, (and) selected media figures….
It is therefore not surprising that the Sweden-based V-Dem Institute, in a report on democracy, said that Modi’s India is no longer an ‘electoral democracy’, implying that the country is an ‘electoral autocracy’ instead.
However, the elections results that are coming out thick and fast of the assembly elections in Covid-hit India, tell another story
“Today’s election results show that democracy is alive and kicking. That is the bottom line and we the people of India have the freedom to choose any political party, we want- be it the ruling BJP, or local, regional parties like DMK or Trinamool Congress,” an analyst said.
“Freedom House said civil liberties have been in decline since Mr Modi came to power in 2014, and that India's ‘fall from the upper ranks of free nations’ could have a more damaging effect on the world's democratic standards,” BBC had reported earlier.
Four states– Assam, Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and one union territory -- Puducherry had gone to polls earlier this year, whose results are being announced today.
Of the five electorates, there is status quo – the incumbents have won in three.
While the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) has retained West Bengal, Kerala has voted back the Left Democratic Front. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will continue in Assam and Puducherry. The only state which is voting for change is Tamil Nadu. DMK is set to oust the AIADMK in the southern state. Puducherry – which was Congress ruled—has voted for the BJP.
Therefore, the results of any election in India – whether state or central – are the real reflection of the mood of the people.
To the western world—the self-proclaimed keepers of democracy—the state election results of India should be an eye-opening experience, telling them, if they wish to listen---drop your preconceived and self-serving biases towards Indian democracy and the country's bouquet of diverse political parties, which include all Indians across the religious and cultural divide.