Home Opinion Let us hope Amit Shah puts the entire opposition in jail

Let us hope Amit Shah puts the entire opposition in jail

The opposition is full of excuses for not doing its job. The fear of going to jail might be one reason.

Shivam Vij
P. Chidambaram being taken to Tihar jail | File photo: PTI

Why is the opposition so dead? Ask any opposition leader that question and they will blame the media. “When we do something, the media doesn’t show it,” they say. So, they don’t do much these days.

There is merit in this complaint. TV news is immensely powerful and most of it has become the government’s mouthpiece. The Indian media has never been such a blatant propaganda arm of the ruling party in the living memory of most Indians.

The mass media amplifies the message so that it could reach millions of people. As the mass media ignores the opposition, we are forced to ask: do opposition parties have no other way of making their message reach the masses? Where are their party workers, their cadres, their own small magazines? Whatever happened to the culture of pamphlets and wall paintings?

Most of the Indian media is by nature pro-establishment, sometimes more, sometimes less. They go in the direction they think the levers of power are shifting to, just like many politicians and businessmen do. That is how all elites are. That is how Indians enabled the British Raj.

If the opposition worked on the ground, and created a sense that the ground was shifting, the media would automatically take it more seriously. The opposition has lost air time not just because the media has Modi-fied, but also because the opposition itself is not doing much on the ground. The opposition doesn’t know what it wants to say or how to say it.

Take unemployment for instance, rated in every survey for the last 2-3 years as the number one concern among Indians. It’s an issue that affects both central and state politics, and reflects itself through caste quota agitations. The opposition thinks the way to raise the issue is by tweeting about it, and calling TV channels to give them a sound bite. TV channels don’t run it even if they record it.

That’s about it. That’s how politics is done, according to our opposition leaders.


Also read: Modi, Trump, Putin all put emotions over reason. That’s why they keep winning


Nothing newsworthy 

A smart opposition would come up with solutions to the unemployment problem, organise youth meetings to discuss job creation. A smart opposition would focus on positive campaigning, suggesting that only the opposition knows how to create jobs. A smart opposition would organise one conclave after another with start-ups and small industrialists, making the industry interact with youth, and thereby drawing the attention of the media to the campaign. The campaign could involve making lakhs of unemployed youths send their CVs to the Prime Minister, and asking them to post visuals of the act on social media.

Tweeting and giving sound bites don’t make a campaign. They can only amplify a campaign. If the opposition just tells us there is high unemployment, they’re not telling us anything new. There’s nothing newsworthy in their sound bite.

The lazy opposition wants it easy. They want to sit in their comfortable homes and offices, enjoy their Europe holidays, and have the media come and do the job of the opposition.

On 12 September, the Congress party announced it would launch a nationwide agitation from 15 to 25 October on the issues of economic slowdown and unemployment. That gives the Narendra Modi government more than a month to plan diversions and deflections.

Nothing will come out of this agitation. TV channels will do Congress-bashing, some will show tame visuals, and everyone will go home. The focus is misplaced – the Congress wants to get space in the media, not in the voter’s mind, and both are not always the same.

The Congress party claims that P. Chidambaram and D.K. Shivakumar have been arrested for political vendetta, and that they are innocent. Note how the Congress hasn’t been able to put up a single protest for them. It took Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh more than a month to go and meet Chidambaram in jail. There’s no sense of urgency or an understanding of the magnitude of the problem at hand.


Also read: Rahul Gandhi criticises Howdy, Modi! but his party peers can’t stop praising it


Excuses, excuses

Opposition leaders also complain they are unable to match the BJP’s resources. Once again, people will give the opposition money if they think it is capable of doing something. Why would anyone bet on a horse that is not even willing to race?

There’s another excuse that’s often offered. The people are not with the opposition. From demonetisation to Article 370, from one surgical strike to another, Modi has unleashed a relentless blitzkrieg of populist moves. That leaves the opposition with no space in the voter’s mind. Many go a step further and say all Hindus have become bigoted Hindutvawaadis, and there’s no space left for secular politics.

The opposition won’t go to the people with an alternate programme, and then complain the people are not with them. And if all Hindus have become bigoted Hindutvawaadis who see Modi as a Hindu Hriday Samrat, why did the BJP get only 37 per cent vote share in 2019? Why did the BJP-led NDA win only 45 per cent vote share? Why not at least 75 per cent? If voters are so high on Hindutva that they don’t care about losing their jobs, why did they not elect the BJP in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Bihar and Karnataka?

Back to school

These are all excuses the opposition has to not work hard. But now there’s a new problem. After the arrests of P. Chidambaram and D.K. Shivakumar, the opposition has got a chilling message. Modi won’t stop at just making opposition leaders run around for anticipatory bails or spend long hours with lawyers to deal with ED, CBI and the Income Tax department. These extensions of the BJP masquerading as investigation agencies are actually going to arrest opposition leaders.

The fear is making opposition leaders go underground. They don’t even want to give those sound bites these days. What they don’t understand is that they’re more likely to go to jail by being timid. Governments are afraid of putting political leaders in jail if they think jail time can make them martyrs. But when a politician does not have a mass base, when a politician is not a leader, when leaders lose their followers, the government does not fear them.

Our lazy, entitled, dynast opposition leaders might benefit by spending quality time in that great nursery of politics, the prison. If Amit Shah has them all spend some time in jail, they will lose their fear of jail, and of using Indian-style toilets. They will get to interact with some real people in jail, not the Yes Men they are otherwise surrounded with. They will also feel personally humiliated and angry, which might give them the energy to strike back. It will also unite them. Just like Indira Gandhi’s Emergency, the opposition needs some jail time to get a reality check and come together.


Also read: What the Congress party needs is a palace coup


Views are personal.

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24 COMMENTS

  1. If the author think the opposition is so useless, why does he think electing them would help the country. It’s all about Modi because he and the BJP team are relentless in their effort to move India forward. Can one leader in the opposition match modi’s performance in US this week. Easy with which he handled multiple topics must be appreciated

  2. The demise of Indian opposition is a spectacle in itself. When elites are out of power you know their true colour. They don’t even pretend to care for the people.
    Who gives out one month notice for protest?
    They are giving this govt. a walkover on every isssue. Or are they telling us that there is not a single issue worth protesting for? Such opposition is just what the govt. want.
    The only thing they care about is putting out a tweet. If only tweets could change the world.
    In a country of 1.3 billion people, is there none other than Gandhi family? They are doing a great disservice to the nation.

    I say let the opposition crumble and let the youth rise. Already fed up of netas in their air conditioned rooms bickering amongst themselves and shedding their crocodile tears.

  3. Definitely sensible analysis. It had become tradition of opposition to just criticize whatever the ruling party does. BJP is no exception to this rule. Sincerely hope that opposition comes out with creative solutions instead of simply finding fault.

    But regarding media, I have grave doubts about your view. If you see messages from Modi fans many would start or end with “the main stream media will not report this”, “paid media won’t report this” etc. So if both supporters say that media is only reporting the other side, then what are they actually reporting? 🙂

  4. Don’t worry. Death sentence already given to many like jetlee, sushma, ananth, joshi, mahajan pramod, george, vajpayee, etc. Slow deaths too. Garuda shastra too.
    Karmam phalam guaranteed. God is not mocked. As they sow so they reap galatians 6.7.
    6 years and not one of nehru family touched by feku fanaticks who are loving eating beef and cleaning shoes of beef eaters in beef eating countries like Europe USA Canada Australia and gulf. They had planned to throw USA etc passport and be Patriots like Chinese who started alibaba, Lenovo, oppo, redmi, etc. But still begging for jobs in beef eating countries whole sponsoring beef eaters lynching. Lies, hypocrisy and double standards will give curses for four generations of fekuguru fanaticks. Garuda shastra.

  5. The Author of The Article stated that most of the TV channels devoted to Govt but he forget tell many TV Channels , Social Medias& Press are devoted 100% to Congress who propagate 24 hrs opposite views against Govt. Everyone knows which Media to whom it works. It is unfortunate situation in Media. Now a days it is difficult to say whether any one in entireMedia is neutral & carry professional Journalism.

  6. I just read the statement of a congress leader that ‘Modi should say Howdy Farmers”

    Fine. But who’s stopping YOU from saying “howdy farmers”?

    Do you lack the understanding of farmer’s issues?

    Do you lack the language and ethos of the farmers?

    Do you not have any solution and suggestions that could be done to improve the farmer’s condition (apart from raising MSPs and waiving off loans?)

    If yes, then probably you are better off where you are!

    • And to add to your comment; given that congress rules 4 states of which 3 (Punjab, MP and Rajasthan) are big agrarian states, atleast 25% of the farmers in the country should be happy which doesn’t seem to be the case!

  7. For the average citizen, what the Opposition does is a sideshow. There is no dearth of issues they could raise, true. But even if they don’t, the problems will not disappear. After a while, people will tire of all the yelling on the hired gun channels. 2. Maharashtra saw the agitation of the Marathas, orderly, peaceful. It culminated in a march to Bombay. Seeing the large flow of people, the thought struck me, a What if they turn violent ? There was an even more heartwarming trek of Adivasi farmers from Nasik to Bombay. 3. Not all public life is about politics and winning elections. Governance is a forbidding challenge. Something as basic as cities running out of water. Attend to it.

    • As long as opposition believes that Modi is a FEKU, they are not going to get any where near to the truth about Modi’s winning elections. Today, people can very well decipher who is faking and who is real. However, opposition continue to believe that people can be fooled and nothing else to offer to people.

    • Bood thirsty, are you not? And since when has indian criminal justice system started punishing families as single units? It was the norm in Nazi concentration camps – may be Bhakts dear of that?

      • When families operate as a single unit in corruption deals, no harm in punishing them as a single uniy – Sonia, Rahul, Vadra; PC and Karti; Om Prakash Chautala and Ajay Chautala, Jayalalitha and Sasikala (Jaya called her a sister) etc. India has political families and not just politicians and corruption runs across the family!

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