Hyderabad: During the 2014 general election campaign, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chose Narendra Modi as their Prime Ministerial candidate. His impressive campaign, promises and speeches brought a sense of freshness and hope in the air. However, with time, most of it have either remained unfulfilled or simply on paper.
The past seven years of the BJP-run central government has been nothing less than a roller-coaster ride for Indians. Be it the recent farm laws, demonetisation, or the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), almost every second law it passed has become a national controversy. The ‘Acche Din’ of the government has managed to get a mixed bag of response, including more than a handful of protests from concerned citizens of the country.
Inline for demonetization:
Be it good or bad, ‘demonetisation’ remains one of the biggest talking points of the BJP’s previous term. It was November 8, 2016, and the Prime Minister’s address to the nation turned our nation’s economy overnight. The Centre imposed a ban on circulating Rs. 500 and Rs.1000 notes.
The government claimed that the ban was imposed in order to fight “black money”, but with time, their reasons for the ban kept changing constantly. From fighting terrorism to encouraging the citizens to go cashless, the government presented a variety of reasons. The three important reasons stated by the government for the ban were: to break the back of corruption and black money, end the circulation of fake currency and end terrorist funding.
With the nation standing in line for weeks together, close to 15 lakh jobs were lost as collateral damage in just four months post the demonetisation. The jobs lost were almost double the jobs the government had generated in the three years of running the government. Two years after the note ban, the Reserve bank of India (RBI) said that more than 99.3% of the demonetized currency had come back to the banks. So what was it done for then?
The CAA and NRC row:
Out of all the laws passed, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is one law that faced a lot of outrage from the citizens across the nation, as the government could not explain the norms of the law clearly. It led to protests from all corners of the country, especially from Muslims who are tooth and nail opposed to the CAA.
The controversial law promised to grant citizenships to Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh and Parsi migrants from Muslim majority neighboring countries like, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The government claimed that people of these six faiths face a lot of persecution in those Islamic countries, thereby it was the nation’s moral obligation to provide them shelter. But the law faced a nationwide criticism for not being secular and being religiously biased.
A major question that arised also was about the fact that other minority groups like Shai Muslims and Ahmediyas, who face persecution, were not included. The Centre still has no answer. The introduction of the law witnessed a nationwide protest, the most prominent being the protests that took place in the nation’s capital New Delhi at Shaheen Bagh.
Home Minster Amit Shah had stated many times that the National register of citizens (NRC) will be implemented by 2024. But contradicting to his fellow minister, Prime Minister Modi said that his government had never said anything about NRC, except in Assam which further resulted in an escalated confusion across the country. The CAA is seen as a potent law when coupled with the NRC by concerned citizens. They feel it will be used as a tool against Muslims and any vulnerable community people in power will want to target.
The protesting farmers:
The farm laws enacted recently moreover have been the latest talking point and controversy of Modi’s seven-year reign. While the whole country is battling a pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus, the government passed three farm laws, claiming it will benefit farmers of the country.
The farmers on the other hand have a completely different opinion on the laws and have refused to accept these laws, resulting in yet another ongoing nationwide protest. Agriculturists have been protesting for over three months across the country, and despite multiple rounds of talks with the government, the issues has not been resolved. Farmer unions want a complete rollback of the law, while the Modi government is unwilling to flinch.
A major concern among farmers is that these laws will leave them at the mercy of big corporations, and that it will be impossible for them to bargain against big private players. The government on the other hand continues to blame opposition parties for ‘misguiding’ farmers into protests, and claims that the laws will benefit the farmers.
This ongoing protest by farmers has come at a time when India’s gross domestic product (GDP) is at an all-time low (due to demonetisation and COVID-19) and also when fuel prices are skyrocketing. The seven years of the ‘Acche din’ government continue to be anything but that. It has been a roller-coaster ride for the citizens of India to say the least.