Appeal to all Voters to Protect Democracy – People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism

Dear fellow citizens

Sixty seven years ago, independent India adopted a democratic constitution that created a platform for equality and justice by ensuring the participation of all. Our constitution-makers were concerned to maintain a secular society free from any divisions of caste, sect and religion. 

What has become of that vision? A large part of the population lives in extreme poverty. Millions of Indians are denied their fundamental rights. There are strong linkages amongst powerful capitalists, biased officials and unscrupulous political representatives. The political system is in danger of being taken over and run for the benefit of the rich, rather than for the vast bulk of the Indian people. Communal forces of all colours thrive in our society. Their growth has been evident since the Delhi carnage of 1984. Biased behavior has appeared in the media, police, bureaucracy and executive. We are witnessing the criminalisation of the state. One example of this is the operation of private armies all over the country.

The Sixteenth Lok Sabha elections are an opportunity for us to preserve democracy. The RSS has emerged as a direct participant, discarding its ‘cultural’ mask. It has openly intervened in the major decisions of the BJP. Its ideology is based upon a fanatic version of nationalism . The so-called Parivar has been implicated in numerous communal incidents and the destruction of Babri Masjid in 1992. Today vast amounts of money and cadre have been mobilized in the cause of the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate. This person is an incompetent Chief Minister who presided over the crime committed in Godhra and the orgy of rape, murder, arson and looting that followed. In many cases, intervention from outside Gujarat was required to secure justice. Zakia Jafri’s husband and neighbours were butchered, and she is still asking the courts to indict Modi for criminal conspiracy. A police investigation report is being hailed as if it were a judicial acquittal. In 2003 Modi’s rival Haren Pandya was killed in a so-called terrorist attack – his widow is still fighting for justice. Modi has tried to boost his popularity through fake encounters and accusations of assassination plots, many of these cases are still in the courts. Gujarat’s anti-terrorist police units were directed to spy upon a woman who was not even suspected of being a terrorist. Narendra Modi bears responsibility for the collapse of law and order in Gujarat. We may note that Gujarat’s state assembly has functioned on average 30 to 32 days per year.

One of Modi’s ministers has been convicted of illegal mining practices. Another was in office until she was charged with conspiracy and murder. Modi resisted the appointment of a state Lokayukta for ten years from 2003. When the Governor and Chief Justice selected Justice R. A. Mehta for the post in 2011, Modi spent crores in legal fees to challenge the appointment. After the Supreme Court upheld it, the state government refused to cooperate with Mehta, leading him to decline the position. Then it amended the Lokayukta Act to make it a toothless body. Modi may have learned a lesson from the fate of his friend Yedyurappa, former BJP Chief Minister of Karnataka. Yet he talks of rooting out corruption!

These are some features of the ‘Gujarat model’. What will result under a central government controlled by Modi and his corporate backers? We have seen how peaceful protests against the Patel statue, or a nuclear power station in Bhavnagar have met with police repression. Gujarat records the highest number of attacks on RTI activists. Gujarat remains a bastion of Dalit oppression. Surveys have found the practice of untouchability in over 90% of villages and manual scavenging present even in Ahmedabad. Seizures of land at low prices, violation of environmental regulations, erosion of workers rights, phone-tapping and contempt for the rule of law will affect farmers, workers, women, democratic activists and honest officials. Modi has used his position to accuse India’s Defence Minister of being a Pakistani agent. Soon anyone daring to criticise Modi will be hounded as a traitor. Is this what we need in a prime minister?

The health of Indian democracy requires that such political forces be checked and defeated. Despite their talk of development, their strong links with corporate interests should warn us of the danger of political tyranny. If this continues, it will endanger the rights not only of this or that particular group, but the very survival of constitutional democracy. Do not be fooled by talk of a stable government. Only dictators think stability is more important than constitutionally guaranteed citizens’ rights.

We must choose political forces that stand for humanity, equality and justice. Choose an inclusive, not divisive idea of India. Use your vote for socio-economic emancipation. Defend your right to obtain justice, to think freely, to protest and to struggle for a better life. Reject communal hate and choose mutual respect and dialogue. This is our vote. This is our country. We call upon voters to defeat authoritarian forces in the coming elections. 

In Solidarity,

People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism

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जनतंत्र की रक्षा के लिए तमाम मतदाताओं से अपील

प्रिय नागरिक साथियों,

सडसठ साल पहले आज़ाद भारत ने एक जनतांत्रिक संविधान को स्वीकारा जिसने सभी की सहभागिता को सुनिश्चित करते हुए समानता और न्याय के लिए एक मंच का निर्माण किया। हमारे संविधान निर्माता इस बात के प्रति चिन्तित थे कि जाति, सम्प्रदाय और धर्म के विभाजनों से परे एक धर्मनिरपेक्ष समाज का निर्माण किया जाए।

सोचने की बात है कि आखिर उस जनतांत्रिक और धर्मनिरपेक्ष दृष्टि का क्या नतीजा निकला ? आबादी का विशाल हिस्सा आज भी भयानक गरीबी में जी रहा है। करोड़ों भारतीयों को उनके बुनियादी अधिकारों से वंचित रखा जाता है। ताकतवर पूंजीपतियों, पूर्वाग्रहों से लैस नौकरशाहों और बेईमान राजनीतिक नुमाइन्दों के बीच मौजूद अपवित्रा गठबन्धनों से ऐसी प्रवृत्तियों को शह मिलती है। इसका नतीजा है कि भारत की जनता की विशाल आबादी के हितों के लिए नहीं बल्कि धनी लोगों के हितों एव हकों की रक्षा के लिए राजनीतिक व्यवस्था के संचालित होने का खतरा बढ़ रहा है। हमारे समाज में तरह तरह की साम्प्रदायिक ताकतें फलती फूलती दिखती है। 1984 में दिल्ली में हुए खूनखराबे से लेकर 1992 में बाबरी मस्जिद के विध्वंस के दिनों से ही उनकी बढ़ोत्तरी दिख रही है। मीडिया, पुलिस, नौकरशाही और कार्यपालिका सभी स्थानों पर पूर्वाग्रहों से लैस व्यवहार सरेआम दिखता है। हम लोग राज्य के अपराधीकरण को देख रहे हैं। इसका एक उदाहरण है मुल्क में चारों तरफ निजी सेनाओं का उभार।

सोलहवीं लोकसभा के लिए हो रहे चुनाव हमारे सामने जनतंत्रा की रक्षा करने का अवसर है। अपना ‘सांस्कृतिक’ मुखौटा फेंकते हुए राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ इसमें एक सीधे सहभागी के तौर पर उभरा है। उसने भाजपा के मुख्य निर्णयों में सीधे हस्तक्षेप किया है। उनकी विचारधारा राष्ट्रवाद के एक संकीर्ण नज़रिये पर टिकी है। कथित परिवार तमाम साम्प्रदायिक घटनाओं और 1992 में बाबरी मस्जिद के विध्वंस में लिप्त रहा है। राष्ट्रीय जनतांत्रिक गठबन्धन के प्रधानमंत्राी पद के उम्मीदवार के लिए प्रचण्ड मात्रा में पैसे और काडरों की लामबन्दी की गयी है। यह शख्स एक अकार्यक्षम मुख्यमंत्राी है जो गोधरा के अपराध वक्त और उसके बाद पूरे सूबे में बलात्कार, हत्या, आगजनी और लूटपाट का जो सिलसिला चला, उस वक्त राज्य की बागडोर सम्भाले था। कई सारे मामलों में न्याय को पाने के लिए गुजरात से बाहर से हस्तक्षेप की आवश्यकता पड़ी है। ज़किया जाफरी के पति पूर्व सांसद एहसान जाफरी और उनके पड़ोसियों का कतलेआम किया गया और वह आज भी इस आपराधिक षडयंत्रा में मोदी को अभियुक्त बनाने के लिए अदालत में हस्तक्षेप की हुई हैं। एक पुलिसिया जांच के रिपोर्ट को न्यायिक रिहाई के तौर पर पेश किया जा रहा है। वर्ष 2003 में मोदी के प्रतिद्धंदी हरेन पांडया की कथित आतंकवादी हमले में हत्या हुई – उसकी विधवा आज भी न्याय के लिए संघर्षरत है। मोदी ने अपनी लोकप्रियता को फर्जी मुठभेड़ों और हत्या के षडयंत्रों के खुलासे से बढ़ाने की कोशिश की है, जिनमें से कई मामले आज भी अदालत के सामने हैं। गुजरात की आतंकवादी विरोधी पुलिस की इकाइयों को एक महिला की जासूसी करने का निर्देश दिया जाता है जिस पर आतंकवादी होने का आरोप तक नहीं है। गुजरात में कानून और व्यवस्था के ध्वस्त होने के लिए नरेन्द्र मोदी सीधे जिम्मेदार है। हम इस बात को भी नोट कर सकते हैं कि गुजरात की राज्य विधानसभा हर साल औसतन 30-32 दिन चली है।

मोदी के एक मंत्राी को गैरकानूनी खदानें चलाने के लिए दोषी साबित किया जा चुका है। दूसरी पर जब तक दंगे में शामिल होने के लिए षडयंत्र रचने एवं हत्या करने के आरोप नहीं लगे तब तक वह मंत्रिपद सम्भालती रहीं। मोदी ने वर्ष 2003 से राज्य लोकायुक्त की नियुक्ति का दस साल तक लगातार विरोध किया। जब राज्यपाल और मुख्य न्यायाधीश ने इस पद के लिए वर्ष 2011 में न्यायमूर्ति आर ए मेहता का चयन किया तो मोदी ने इस नियुक्ति को चुनौती देने के लिए करोड़ो रूपए कानूनी फीस में खर्च किए। जब सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने इस नियुक्ति को सही ठहराया तब राज्य सरकार ने मेहता के साथ सहयोग करने से इन्कार किया जिसके चलते उन्होंने पदत्याग करने का निर्णय लिया। अन्ततः उसने लोकायुक्त अधिनियम में संशोधन किया तथा उसे एक दन्तविहीन इकाई में बदल दिया। दरअसल मोदी ने अपने दोस्त तथा कर्नाटक के पूर्व मुख्यमंत्राी येदियुरप्पा की नियति से जरूरी सबक लिया होगा। इसके बावजूद वह भ्रष्टाचार मिटाने की बात करते रहते हैं।
गुजरात शासन प्रणाली की यह चन्द विशिष्टताएं हैं। इस मॉडल का क्या प्रभाव होगा अगर केन्द्र सरकार पर मोदी और उनके कार्पोरेट हिमायतियों का नियंत्राण हो जाता है ? पटेल की मूर्ति के खिलाफ शान्तिपूर्ण प्रदर्शन या भावनगर में नाभिकीय पॉवर स्टेशन या पर्यावरणीय उल्लंघन को लेकर हुए प्रदर्शनों को पुलिस दमन का शिकार होना पड़ा है। गुजरात उन राज्यों में शुमार हैं, जहां सूचना अधिकार कार्यकर्ताओं पर सबसे अधिक हमले हुए। गुजरात दलित उत्पीड़न का गढ़ बना हुआ है। सर्वेक्षण बताते हैं कि राज्य के 90 फीसदी से अधिक गांवों में आजभी अस्पृश्यता मौजूद है और अहमदाबाद जैसे शहर में आज भी हाथ से मैला उठाने की प्रथा अस्तित्व में है। मामूली कीमत पर जमीन पर कब्जे, पर्यावरणीय नियमनों का उल्लंघन, मजदूर अधिकारों का छीजन, फोन टैपिंग या कानून के राज्य के प्रति तिरस्कार एक तरह से मजदूरों और किसानों, महिलाएं, जनतांत्रिक अधिकार कार्यकर्ताओं और ईमानदार अधिकारियों को प्रभावित करेगा। मोदी ने अपने पद का इस्तेमाल करते हुए भारत के रक्षा मंत्राी पर यह आरोप लगाया है कि वह पाकिस्तानी एजेण्ट है। जल्द ही ऐसा कोईभी व्यक्ति जो मोदी की आलोचना की हिम्मत करेगा, उसके साथ देशद्रोही जैसा सलूक किया जाएगा। क्या हम यही सब बातें अपने प्रधानमंत्राी में चाहते हैं ?

यह भारतीय जनतंत्र के स्वास्थ्य के लिए यह जरूरी है कि ऐसी राजनीतिक ताकतों को काबू में रखा जाय और उन्हें राजनीतिक शिकस्त दी जाए। विकास के उनके तमाम दावों के बावजूद, कार्पोरेट हितों के साथ उनके गहन रिश्तों को देखते हुए हमें राजनीतिक तानाशाही के खतरे के प्रति सचेत रहना चाहिए। अगर यह सिलसिला जारी रहा तो वह न केवल इस या उस विशिष्ट समूह के अधिकारों को खतरे में डाल देगा बल्कि संवैधानिक जनतंत्रा का अस्तित्व भी खतरे में पड़ जाएगा। स्थायी सरकार की बातों के बहकावे में न आएं। सिर्फ तानाशाह ही सोचते हैं कि संविधान द्वारा गारंटीशुदा नागरिक अधिकारों की तुलना में स्थिरता अधिक महत्वपूर्ण है।

हमें चाहिए कि हम ऐसी राजनीतिक ताकतों को चुनें जो इन्सानियत, बराबरी और इन्साफ के हक़ में खड़ी हों। भारत के एक समावेशी होने न कि विघटनकारी होने के विचार को चुनें। अपने वोट को सामाजिक-आर्थिक मुक्ति के लिए इस्तेमाल करें। न्याय पाने के अपने अधिकार , स्वतंत्र रूप से चिन्तन, विरोध करने और बेहतर जीवन के लिए संघर्ष करने के अपने अधिकार की हिफाजत करें। साम्प्रदायिक नफरत को खारिज करें और परस्पर सम्मान और सम्वाद के रास्ते को चुनें। यह हमारा वोट है। यह हमारा मुल्क है। हम सभी से आवाहन करते हैं कि आने वाले चुनावों में अधिनायकवादी ताकतों को शिकस्त दें।

एकजुटता के साथ
‘जनतंत्र और धर्मनिरपेक्षता के लिए जनसमन्वय’
(पीपुल्स अलायन्स फॉर डेमोक्रेसी एण्ड सेक्युलेरिजम)

फीडबैक, पूछताछ और सुझावों के लिए हमें इस पते पर लिखें :




15 thoughts on “Appeal to all Voters to Protect Democracy – People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism”

  1. I agree with the author on the various issues mentioned. But my worry is that majority of the Indian voters still do not have access to internet and, hence, have no chance to go through, assuming they can read English or Hindi, such articles.


  2. Sir, your appeal to voters to protect democracy and secularism is greatly appreciated. You emphasize that this objective can be achieved by not voting for Modi, and you seem right. Should then one not vote at all ? I assume, you are not suggesting that. Then who you prefer? Could it be Congress? Probably not, as you are troubled by the wide spread poverty, and Congress Party must be held responsible for it to a large extent. Casteist Parties have humbled Hindutva forces in recent past, and they claim to be secular too. But they are often anti-Dalit, violent, and have not done much to promote well being of common man and control communal violence. CPM is a secular political Party, in my opinion, and may be democratic too. But have failed to alleviate poverty where they ruled for a long time. Right now it is democracy that has put a question mark on their survival. The regional parties in South? Do they offer a hope to protect secularism? Probably yes, but what about their authoritarian leaders? What about alleviating poverty? Do you think, they can do that? India has seen a RSS man as PM for a few years. He tried to prove his secular credentials by increasing Haj quota, and welcoming Pakistan President in India to discuss Kashmir, but he also got involved in Kargil war. Was he really secular and democrat? I am not sure, but Modi often cites him as an example. India should not be fooled by him, as you point out. Please do suggest who and which party to vote for as an alternative, as the options available do not seems to be exciting. Thus far I have been BSP supporter in UP.


    1. With 300 million being added to the country every 18 years, which is the population of the entire United States to a land that is 1/3rd the size of the USA- is quite challenging. On top of that, the country is burdened by attacks from Pakistan/ISI on one side and the Chinese supported Maoists on the other side with the homegrown communal terrorists like the Godhra-modi/RSS/BJP/VHP setting fire to the country from the inside , In spite of that, the Congress party has taking this poor country that depended on Western aid …to a country everyone sees as an emerging Superpower. With a triad of nuclear weapons based on Land, Sea and Air, on the verge of deploying ICBMs that can counter nuclear threats from any part of the world, coupled with our scientists working on Space based weapons, ALL THANKS TO OUR LATE PM NEHRU AND THE NUCLEAR IMPLEMENTATION BY Mrs.. GANDHI’S ADMINISTRATION. Move along to India’s Space program and we should all be proud of our accomplishments in this area. We reached the moon(YES, POOR INDIA DID!!) and in a few months..MARS!!. Very soon our Astronauts will be in space and on the moon. THIS IS A GREAT ACHIEVEMENT BY THE CONGRESS PARTY. Our present PM opened up the country to FDI in 1992 and the results are obvious. From skyscrapers,Supermarkets, Malls,Metro Rail, Expressways Beautiful airports all over the country, All makes of Cars, Motorbikes, Cellphones, Home Computers hundreds of new towns and cities(and this is just the beginning), All kinds of furniture, clothes , Washing machines and i could go on and on!. Everything that is available in America is now available in India. This economic expansion is creating jobs for hundreds of millions. ALL THANKS TO THE CONGRESS PARTY AND ITS FORESIGHT!!. COMPARE THIS TO THE DESTRUCTIVE WORK DONE BY THE COMMUNAL PARTY WITH MADMAN AMIT SHAH AND MADWOMAN RAJE OF RAJASTHAN THREATENING MORE COMMUNAL VIOLENCE!!!. INDIA, THANKS TO THE NEHRU “DYNASTY”(as some people would like to call them) HAVE THROUGH ALL OF THE COUNTRY’S PROBLEMS, MADE THE COUNTRY SO MODERN AND PROSPEROUS…THAT ALL INDIANS CAN HOLD THEIR HEADS UP WITH PRIDE!!. SO DO THE NATURAL THING WHEN YOU CAST YOUR VOTE…..IT IS A NO-BRAINER!!!.


      1. Sir, you make a powerful argument in favor of Democracy and Vote for Congress. It is just that people of India do not see that way in 2014. I would personally prefer only three Parties in India. (1) Congress, (2) BJP and (3) CPM. But I do respect Democracy. Therefore, if Rajasthan people vote for Madwoman Raje, and not Congress, then Congress, in spite of all the achievements you enumerated, must have failed to people. It is not fare to Raje to assume she would engineer communal violence, unless she does. Then if Congress comes to power in Center, it should dismiss her government and order fresh elections. As for Madman Shah, please take legal action against him, if he is indeed what you say. You may have noticed that certain politicians have openly talked about violence against their opponents. You seem to have ignored them. You also seem to have overlooked CORRUPTION during the Congress rule. I am not sure you would agree with me that CPM has a much higher percentage of honest leaders than most political arties, and Congress the lowest at this juncture. But they seem to be almost forgotten by the people, as they disappointed them. I have voted for BSP in the past, not because Mayavati is an honest leader or has done a lot for people of UP. It is just that I dislike gunda raj of SP. But SP is in power, and I do not think Democracy is in peril because of that. They sure will be voted out of power in due course. Let us put our point of view before people, then let them decide. Sometimes we will be happy with the outcome, and sometimes not. But that is the only way Democracy will work. I do believe Mr MM Singh has been a honest and good PM. But the public perception of him is that of a week PM, under the thumbs of Congress President. Even the Vice-president of Congress seems to be more effective in government that PM Singh which is not good for Democracy. I do believe, Rahul Gandhi, is a good honest man. If India elects him as PM, I have no problem in him wielding power in government, but not from outside. Also, every individual in a dynasty is not equally good. I mean, Rahul is not Jawahar Lal, and the latter became PM when he had lot of experience as a leader and was almost 60. Even if Rahul is intrinsically as competent as his grandfather, he needs to gain experience and prove himself. Indira Gandhi also had more experience than Rahul. Also Congress seems to lack inner democracy. In 2014 it is unlikely that Congress would regain power in Center, but it may come back in following election. The question is how to help Democracy at this moment. It is my appeal to leftist intellectuals to analyze the disappearance of truly left parties from the scene, and suggest means for their revival. Then only people will have good choice, and Congress will certainly be one of them.


        1. Both of you provide compelling arguments that everyone should consider. That said, all political parties in India are corrupt. While there are some individuals who try to line their own pockets, most of the ill- gotten gains go straight to their party’s coffers and are used to,finance elections. BJP benefits hugely from money collected by their friends who dupe others by opening fake charities to fund the abhorrent activities of the Sangh Parivar. We need strict and sensible laws for financing election campaigns that are enforced.
          The one interesting fact about the Gandhi- Nehru Parivar is their fan following in the Middle-East. I think for the non- elites in these countries, Indira Gandhi made them feel empowered by professing non- alignment. Many of them will assert that those were the days when India championed the cause of less powerful countries and provided them with cover and dignity. Moreover, the ones who read more will tell you that India was lucky to have Nehru and if we disbelieve in the power of individuals on society , we only have to look to our Neighbour in this big natural experiment to see the havoc one individual can have on society. Most of these folks follow the fortunes of the dynasty. I was in Jordan when Congress under Sonia ‘s leadership defeated a sitting BJP, I couldn’t believe how happy people were in Jordan. They were beaming from ear to ear because as far as they far were concerned, the world order had changed for the better.


    2. It is true that poverty in India is still extremely high – in fact the number of poor in India is equal to the number of poor in the entire African continent – poverty has been reduced in the last ten years. While people sneer at the idea that growth will see a trickle down, a look at the increased the buying power of those segments of the population, who had none, should alert us to the fact that in fact poverty has been reduced since the reforms introduced by Manmohan Singh. The inflation rate which cannot be brought down and stems from the increase Demand for food and other commodities should convince people of this, although true believers cannot see what is in front of their eyes. The BJP, when it was in power made it quite evident that they did not care a jot for the poor. Yes the poverty in India is mostly because of Congress since they have been in power for the longest time. At the same time, the decrease in the number if poor is also due to them.


  3. Mona, there is not much that I can comment on your opinion. But just a few points which you may consider when you examine the political scenarios in India, whether past or present. Just like you I have been fortunate enough to meet and observe people and political systems all over the world. So I would listen, but not give importance, to whatever common people in distant lands, including Jordan, think about India and its successive governments. As you know, Jordanians live under a pro-US monarchy which has little in common with India. Democracy is the only form of government, howsoever inefficient, that can work in India. The major problems we face are: (1) wide spread corruption, systemic in nature. Depending on opportunity, people indulge in corruption, small or big. Incorruptible percentage of the people is small. Therefore, even very corrupt people can get elected. (2) The percentage of corrupt people deceases in political organizations that are committed to an ideology. But that commitment, at times, becomes a shortcoming in democracy that involves a corruptible society. (3) The nature of political organizations changes with time. for example, the nature of Congress in 2014 is quite different from that in 1950. (4) The Indian society is fundamentally communal, casteist and opportunist. No political party is an exception. But once a political party spreads effectively across most of the nations, the aggregate effect of its members of different regions, castes and religions is an entity which is far less communal, casteist and regionalist. (5) In best scenario of a democratic system, only three all-India parties, Centrist, Right to Center and Left to Center, that can be exchanged based on their performance and people’s will would be most effective. Smaller parties are suited better only at State level. (6) Only in a non-democratic system a fast transformation of the people’s character is possible, but there is always a risk of such systems to lead the society in a wrong direction. (7) At this juncture, I am not apprehensive of anything extra-ordinary happening. Without the fear of getting voted out, NDA cannot be too different from UPA.


  4. Mona, I saw your second comment only after posting my response to the first. You are right that the people’s economic condition in India has improved considerably. It is statically far better than the periods when Nehru Ji or Indira were in power. But, in that sense, advancements have occurred almost all over the world, including USA, UK, Russia, China, South Africa etc. The question is, has it occurred in India at the same pace as in some other countries, such as china and S. Korea or Brazil? Does it involve every section of the society? Mr Gatade is an intellectual, and his appeal had a certain perspective. The election is over and Congress does not seem to have done well. Obviously, the message you wish to convey has not reached to electorate. We will know soon how the democracy has worked this time.


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