Editorial: 2019 General Elections are About Saving The Spirit and Soul of India
India must awake from the insidious fumes of majoritarian rule, else it'll die in its sleep.
On March 10, the Election Commission finally announced that the 2019 general election will be held in seven rounds from April 11 and the results will be announced on May 23. Voting will be held across India on April 11, April 19, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19.
A total of 900 million voters are eligible to vote this time as opposed to 814.5 million voters in 2014, which means, according to the chief election commissioner Sunil Arora, some 84.3 million new voters will be casting their vote. This will be an exceptional and historic election on many accounts, it won’t just be extensively and exhaustively fought on the ground, but in the ether as well, which will play a deciding factor on whether India chooses to kick out the majoritarian regime of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah – the EC has already assured that Facebook, Twitter and Google have committed that they will only air political ads certified by it. Social media platforms have reportedly told EC that they will act on any content reported by the commission.
The announcement of election dates also comes in the wake of controversy that it were being delayed on the behest of the Modi government – “to suit the prime minister’s schedule“. The Opposition, led by Congress, has accused the EC of delaying the dates to help the government in order to quickly launch a slew of of welfare schemes and projects to sway the mandate. The announcement will now grind to halt all such last-minute jumlas as the model code of conduct has kicked in.
The 2019 elections is set to be the most decisive battle ever fought to restore and preserve the idea of India. The five years of Narendra Modi government has seen a brazen attack on the functioning of all democratic institutions of the country – from RBI, CBI to EC, all have been weakened and arm-twisted to serve majoritarian purposes. Its disastrous, autocratic economic measures like GST and demonetisation have not only skyrocketed unemployment and stirred disaffection among the masses, but ensured the poor remain poorer and stricken with debt. This has been a government that has the blood of farmers on its hands – it has deepened the agrarian crisis beyond repair.
Under its rule, violent mobs have been sanctioned and unleashed to let loose a genocidal fear among minorities. Muslims and Dalits have been openly flogged and lynched, while propaganda and misinformation is being spread through a compromised mainstream media and social media platforms. Any questioning of the efficacy of this government’s initiatives and procedures is distorted as an attempt to question one’s love for the country. Any criticism of prime minister Modi is deemed as anti-India and seditious.
The Election Commission has a formidable task of not just ensuring a free and fair election and protecting the nation from sliding into a fire of communal disharmony and autocratic rule, but safeguarding its own credibility as a democratic institution. The 2019 general elections is unlike any other India has witnessed because it’s about saving the spirit and soul of the nation, which is being asphyxiated in a vicious campaign of hate and fear. India must awake from the insidious fumes of majoritarian rule, else it’ll die in its sleep.