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  Opinion   Edit  01 Apr 2024  AA Edit | Misuse of agencies makes fair polls bigger challenge

AA Edit | Misuse of agencies makes fair polls bigger challenge

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Apr 2, 2024, 12:05 am IST
Updated : Apr 2, 2024, 12:05 am IST

Opposition Unity Amidst Government Crackdown: I.N.D.I.A. Bloc's Call for Fair Play

Jailed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's wife Sunita Kejriwal addresses during I.N.D.I.A. bloc's 'Loktantra Bachao' rally at the Ramlila ground, in New Delhi, Sunday, March 31, 2024. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)
 Jailed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's wife Sunita Kejriwal addresses during I.N.D.I.A. bloc's 'Loktantra Bachao' rally at the Ramlila ground, in New Delhi, Sunday, March 31, 2024. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)

It is a paradox that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which is running the Union government, gives the Opposition I.N.D.I.A. bloc a reason to come together and put up a show of solidarity with one another at regular intervals. The ‘Save Constitution’ rally by INDIA bloc held in the national capital on Sunday was the latest in the series. Interestingly,  the Opposition platform was able to peg its demand for a level playing field ahead of the Lok Sabha elections to the doings of the agencies controlled by the Union government.

After its coming together in Patna after one of the founding members, Nitish Kumar, had left the opposition platform, I.N.D.I.A. partners called for a rally in the historic Ramlila Maidan in Delhi to protest against the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal in the Delhi excise policy case and former Jharkhand chief minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Hemant Soren in a money laundering case. Almost all the senior leaders barring Mamata Banerjee, who is recuperating after a fall, attended the meeting. Her party, which went with its unilateral ways on seat-sharing which practically ended the alliance in the state, was represented at the meet.

Free and fair elections are one of the cornerstones of our democracy and every constitutional institution, be it the Supreme Court or the Election Commission, reminds everyone about it at frequent intervals. However, the relentless pursuit by Central government agencies such as the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate and the Income-tax department of the Opposition politicians and parties does not square with the demands of such a fair play. 

The country has been witnessing  abuse and misuse of draconian sections in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act which makes bail next to impossible to hunt down politicians and the income-tax laws to make political activity nearly impossible for the opposition parties weeks before the Lok Sabha elections. This can hardly contribute to the creation of a level-playing field. The assurance by the government that there will be no coercive action against political parties by the income-tax department till the elections are over is a minor relief the parties have got thanks to their protests.

The Opposition parties have been crying hoarse that the democratic institutions in our country, including the Constitution, are in danger; the economic situation is not what the government paints it to be and the unemployment level is grim and unprecedented. However, they have not yet been able to sit together and formulate a policy that would seek to address the ills at the short term and in the long term. The NDA with its tested election machinery can reach out to the last voter in the country in a matter of hours but the Opposition bloc is yet to make a policy and a medium to meet the ultimate arbiter in the electoral contest. 

The Opposition may have a reading of the state of the nation but unless they can convince the voter about the immediacy of the action required of him, the efforts would go in waste. The message the voter wants to send to the politician and the reply he wants to send to the voter must sync. And there are no easy ways for it to happen.

Tags: india bloc, aa edit, 2024 lok sabha elections