One of the prerequisites of a healthy democracy is the strength of its institutions. No democracy can survive and function in a country if its stakeholders stop having faith in the democratic institutions, or show open contempt for them for ulterior reasons. In India the principal opposition party, the Congress, has not only been denigrating democratic institutions repeatedly but also bullying many important institutions with the aim of disrupting their independence and to force them to toe the party line.
The recent case in point is the open threat by Anand Sharma, a senior Congress leader, to the CBI and the ED after the agencies initiated action against former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Odisha Congress Pradesh Committee chief Niranjan Patnaik. In his threat, Sharma openly warned the functionaries of the CBI and the ED that they would face consequences for their actions when the Congress returns to power. Sharma is a senior leader of the party and had also been a Central minister. Hence, his words carry the conviction of the party.
Both Hooda and Patnaik are facing corruption charges. Hooda has been accused in the Manesar land deal case; Patnaik and his son Navjyoti have been accused of involvement in a multicrore ponzi scheme, where an FIR has been registered against them for misappropriation of funds. Obviously, the Congress does not want corruption charges against its leaders investigated and acted upon.
However, the impunity with which the Congress issues threats to democratic institutions, stems from the relative silence with which the act is tolerated in the mainstream media, which does not bother to write editorials or hold studio debates on it.
The threat issued by the Congress to the democratic institutions is not new rather. It is the latest in a long series of intimidations. The example of the Congress’s efforts to impeach the erstwhile chief justice of the Supreme Court, Dipak Misra, is still fresh in people’s mind, where the party tried to make a case of impeachment of the sitting CJI only because a bench led by him did not pass a judgment in the Justice Loya case a day before to its liking. The whole nation was stunned by the brazenness of the Congress trying desperately to tarnish the image of the judiciary, which is not only one of the most credible institutions of Indian democracy, but also one of its foremost pillars.
Further, by raising illogical voices against the use of electronic voting machines in elections and by sustaining a mischievous campaign against the machines despite no evidence to support the bizarre claim, the Congress has demonstrated its willingness to go to any length to malign one of the strongest democratic institutions of India—the Election Commission of India. The latest drama of a charlatan, who made false claims in London over the vulnerability of the Indian EVM, with a senior leader of the Congress sitting by his side and sponsoring his fraud, bolsters the grim fact that the Congress would not wince in defaming our democratic institutions even on international forums should it serve its petty political interests.
Under the Modi government, both their sense of entitlement as well as their propensity to treat the democratic institutions as helots, are gone. Such democratic disruptions would not go down well with the people of India, who have seen the real characters of a Congress government during a decade of the corrupt UPA rule. The masses will answer such threats to democratic institutions strongly with their votes.