Justice Markandey Katju: India and Pakistan, a tale of two elections

Justice Markandey Katju

By Justice Markandey Katju–

(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

India and Pakistan are scheduled to hold parliamentary elections soon, and the results in both countries can be safely predicted — Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP will register a massive victory in India; and in Pakistan, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) or PMLN, in coalition with Bilawal Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), will win a majority.

Modi will become Prime Minister of India for the third time, while Nawaz Sharif will become head the civilian government in Pakistan for a fourth term.

Let’s analyze India and Pakistan one by one.

Parliamentary politics in India runs largely on the basis of caste and communal vote banks. Most Indian voters do not see the candidate’s merit. They ignore important concerns such as widespread poverty, record unemployment, appalling level of child malnourishment, skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, and an almost total lack of quality public healthcare.

Instead, they see the candidate’s caste or religion, or the caste or religion the candidate’s party claims to represent. That is why there are so many MPs or MLAs with criminal backgrounds. Earlier caste was more important, but after BJP’s victory in the 2014 parliamentary elections, religion has become more important.

Polarization of Indian society has increased significantly, even exponentially. Around 80% of India’s population is Hindu, and though Hindus are normally divided on caste lines, they tend to unite when communal passions are aroused.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi lights ‘Ram Jyoti’ at this residence in New Delhi after attending the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony of Ram Temple, in Ayodhya. (ANI Photo)

The Ram Janmabhoomi agitation, which inflamed religious feelings among Hindus, catapulted the BJP to power, and now the consecration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya by Prime Minister Modi has made most of the country ‘Ram-muy’ (infused with Ram).

One may oppose Modi, but how can one oppose Lord Ram?

Apart from this, institutions like the Election Commission, the police, etc, have largely been ‘saffronized’, and will help the BJP.

It is certain, therefore, that the BJP will win in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, and with a massive majority. The only question: How big will be this majority?

In Pakistan, former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison on January 30 in the Cypher case, has the support of close to 90% of his country folks. He is perceived as honest, and he has been bravely fighting fascist forces in Pakistan, even from inside jail, where he is incarcerated since August last year.

Former Pakistan PM and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan was arrested by Pakistani rangers from outside the Islamabad High Court last August.

However, Pakistan’s military generals, who are the nation’s real rulers, are determined to not allow him to come back to power. The servile Pakistan judiciary deprived Imran Khan’s PTI party of its symbol, and now have sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment, after a kangaroo trial in jail.

Though Nawaz Sharif is hated in Pakistan, the army is determined to install him as Prime Minister, after a sham and rigged election on February 8. Since power flows from the barrel of a gun, the army will no doubt succeed in the immediate future. But what is likely to happen thereafter has been mentioned in these articles here and here.

Dark days are ahead for both countries.

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