In all countries including India, politics is among the most discussed things. Especially when it comes to India, politics has different kind of scenario with so many local and national parties across the country. In the early part of the year, five states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur are going to hold the Legislative assembly elections. Politics in Uttar Pradesh has heated up, preparation and rallies for the upcoming elections are being carried out by different political parties with great enthusiasm.
Amidst such a scenario, last Monday(2nd January 2017) a plot twisting and a major decision came from the honourable Supreme Court. According to the decision given by the honourable Supreme Court, no political party or contender can use religion, caste, creed and language to seek votes. The decision was given by a bench of seven judges led by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur in a ratio of 4:3, while giving a verdict on several petitions filed in the Hindutva case. During the verdict, the bench revisited the earlier decisions including the judgment of 1995 given by Justice J.S. Verma. The 1995 decision compared Hindutva with Hinduism and told that it was a way of life, hence an electoral candidate using it to seek vote would not violate any law. But on the 2nd of January, from the bench of seven, majority was formed by justice T.S. Thakur, Madan B. Lokur, S.A.Bobde and L.Nageswara Rao, and the decision was given that, “election is a secular process and religion is an individual choice, hence one cannot use religion, caste, creed to seek votes”. The minority of the judges formed by, Adarsh Kumar Goel, U.U.Lalit and D.Y.Chandrachud, which stated that decision on mixing religion with politics should be left on parliament.
The decision can be a real game changer as elections are on head and parties and candidates will not be able to use their traditional tool of seeking votes by referring to particular religions and castes. For the past 70 years, since the country has become Independent, political parties have tried to divide voters and attract a particular group of people to vote them.
Religion and caste has been used by almost every party as a tool to seek votes. In 1989 during Mizoram elections, Congress declared that the Government would run on the teaching of Bibles if the people of Mizoram voted them. BJP has been supporting Hinduism from past many years and the electoral candidates of BJP use Hinduism related topics in almost every speech during rallies. BSP party of Mayawati have always mentioned Dalits and tried to gain support of the ‘minority’ group. SP shows special concern for the Muslim community and their special ‘yadav’ community. Congress sometimes plays soft secularism by promising equity to Hindu and Muslims. From staying at a Dalit’s house to visiting slums during “election periods”, having ‘lunch or dinner’ at a poor’s house, parties have always dragged castes, religions and “emotions” of people in the game in every possible manner. It is kind of impossible to mention the names of all parties and tricks used by them
But post the remarkable decision of honourable Supreme Court, it can be assumed that the candidates and parties will be delivering more “secular” speeches during rallies. The riots among communities due to provoking speeches can be expected to reduce to a great extent. The voters can have a more clear view of the politics as the blindfold of religious and caste topics, also the SC decision will play a major role in the decision making of voters while casting their votes to their desired candidates.
At last some “Secularism” in the country.