Modi government, Opposition and Media

-Shubham Verma
Modi government has completed half of its tenure last month; it is the first non-congress government who got the majority in centre after 67 years of independence. People are expecting more from this government because after so many years of unstable governments, this government has got the complete majority. If we check the parameters of growth and development, the incumbent government is doing extremely well but when we talk about the social fabric of India than two types of narratives are there, one is from social media and common people of India’s narrative which says that this government is doing good, while a particular section of media houses, opposition and civil society thought that this government is completely anti minority, anti women, anti dalit and full of fundamentalist forces. So, these two types of narratives are there in public discourse. I was also confused about these two narratives, so I decided to investigate whether civil society, media and oppositions narrative is true or social media and common people’s narrative. I did a research on last two years of Modi government, and the results that I have found after the research were shocking that I am sharing in this article.
Although, BJP has done some good works in the field of development, infrastructure, international relations etc but when we look into the media reports or interviews of opposition party spokespersons, than they only focus on negative things and even sometimes they exaggerate some cases and make them so big in which development agenda of the government is being hidden or diluted. Now, I am giving some examples in which at first media, civil society and opposition blames on central government for certain things but then, after investigation something else comes out. Some examples are:
On 20 October 2015, because of fire, two children had died and their parents were badly burnt in the incident in Sunped village in Faridabad with allegations that some upper caste people were behind it. Further media had widely reported this incident, Rahul Gandhi, Brinda Karata, AAP party leaders had visited the site and blamed on BJP and RSS for the incident. After investigation forensic experts of Haryana concluded that the fire started from inside their house and not outside.
On 17 January 2016, Rohith Vemula, PhD student of Hyderabad committed suicide. His death occurred after a controversy which extended over several months. On 3 August 2015 Rohith and four other ASA-activists demonstrated against the death penalty for Yakub Memon, a convicted terrorist involved in the 1993 Bombay bombings. In response ABVP’s local leader Nandanam Susheel Kumar called them “goons,” where-after Kumar was confronted in his hostel room. He stated that he was “roughed up by around 40 ASA members who barged into my room.”, where after Rohith Vemula and four other ASA-members were suspended and barred from their hostel. After the confirmation of the suspension in January 2016, Rohith Vemula committed suicide and wrote a suicide note in which he blamed himself for his suicide. His suicide sparked protests and outrage from across India and gained widespread media attention as an alleged case of discrimination against Dalits and low status caste in India, in which elite educational institutions have been purportedly seen as hotbeds of caste-based discrimination against students belonging to lower caste. Several, opposition party leaders like Sitaram yechury, Rahul Gandhi and Kejriwal visited Hyderabad or given statements blaming Modi government for the suicide. Later it was found that Rohit was not even a Dalit.
Similarly, On 28 September 2015, A 50-year-old man, Mohammad Akhlaq, was beaten to death in UP’s Dadri, allegedly by residents of Bisara village, after rumours spread in the area about the family storing and consuming beef. Later, it was found that in this case also that consumed item was actually beef. Everyone blamed BJP and central government for Dadri although law and order is subjected to state government of UP i.e Samajwadi party. Again, Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal visited and blamed BJP government for the incident. After this, Nayantara Sehgal, a family member of Nehru family returned her award and then Ashok Vajpayee and some writers started returning their awards by saying that because of modi government India became “intolerant”. After that, Bihar election happened in November 2015 and BJP lost this election. After this election, shockingly intolerance issue was rarely discussed.
On 14 March 2015, a 72 year old nun was raped in Ranaghat, West Bengal. Just because she was from minority community, Firhad Hakims, a minister of west Bengal blamed Ghar wapsi and BJP/ RSS people for this gang rape.
Later, it was found that all the six persons who have been arrested were Bangladeshi nationals.
Similarly, before Delhi election( 10 Feb 2015), a church was attacked in Delhi on 14 January 2015 and from BBC to Aljazeera, everyone quoted this incident and Arvind Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi etc everyone started blaming modi government for being anti minority. Later, data was released by Delhi police shows that- In 2015, there were 14 cases related to temples, 5 for Gurudwaras, 2 for Mosque and 1 for church were registered and in 2014, there were 206 related to temples and 3 cases related to churches were registered. It clearly shows that India was not anti minority or anti Christian but these are the cases which anyway happened every year. But, just because Delhi elections were near so opposition and civil societies raised this issue and a particular section of media helped them by giving it an anti minority color.
It is notable that next year Punjab elections are there, which has highest Dalit population (percentage wise) and Uttar Pradesh elections, which has highest Dalit population (number wise), and this year Rohit Vemula case already depicted as Dalit case and in the month of July, Una Gujrat( 11 july 2016) was also hyped by media and same political groups or civil societies. Una was also depicted as anti dalit case done by BJP workers, although it was found that those people who committed crime were not BJP workers. The term “Cow” was again used to relate the case with BJP. Same, pattern they have used after Akhlaq Dadri case, same “Cow” was used for provoking food habit debates to blame Modi government for suppressing food habits of citizens. If we look at these incidents from 2014 to 2016, a pattern can be easily traced out, in which same politicians repeatedly hyped some cases before elections, same members of civil society and media like Tavleen singh, Arundhati roy, Medha patkar, Rajdeep sardesai, Ravish kumar etc talks about it, Same universities always protest against BJP and in favor of Yakub menon and Afzal guru like JNU, Jadhavpur university, TISS Mumbai, Hyderabad university. Same people also tweets and write articles against BJP and RSS.
A similar set of 20-50 people are repeatedly working against the central government and they are not only opposing the government in the cases mentioned above, but they are also opposing the government in issues like “Price of Suit of Modi”, “Why to sing national anthem?”, “Kiss of love”, “Yakub menon hanging”, “Afzal Guru anniversary”, “Porn ban” etc. It clearly shows that just because they did not found any serious charges of corruption or terrorism against the government, so they are creating issues by themselves for hindering the development agenda of government for their own benefit. After 2.5 years of Modi government, people of India are supporting the government on social media and several platforms but for some unknown reasons some section of media, civil society and opposition are opposing the government for the sake of opposition. This type of mindset of opposition parties and some section of media is not only hindering the growth of the nation but also disturbing the social fabric of the Indian society. It is clear that few opposition parties and some self declared civil society members are shaping a narrative of public discourse for their own benefit and creating a negative image of the incumbent government.
Shubham Verma (Researcher)
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