It is okay that election campaigns see a lot of muck getting churned out against rivals. But it is not at all okay that in the zest to discredit the rivals utter falsehood is foisted upon people. “...
The outcome of Robert Mueller’s investigation was as disappointing for Democrats as it was buoying for Republicans. But in the end, it may have been a boon for US democracy. For nearly two years, the fate of the Trump presidency has been bound up in a rare and opaque legal limbo. Mueller may have punted the question of whether Trump had obstructed justice to the President’s hand-picked Attorney General. But in the process, he returned the power to render a verdict on the Trump presidency to American voters. The final report will come at the ballot box on Nov. 3, 2020.” - Concluding paragraph of an article By Brian Bennett, in TIME magazine on March 28, 2019. (With reporting by Alana Abramson, Molly Ball, and Tessa Berenson)
THE American society and its political community had traumatised themselves on the issue if President Mr. Donald Trump had obstructed investigation into whether he or his campaign officials had colluded with Russia to affect the outcome of the last presidential election. Special Investigator Mr. Robert Mueller’s report is finally out, concluding that the President had not indulged in the acts that were attributed to him. For the past two years, Mr. Trump lived under the shadow of the allegation that he kept denying with vehemence. Yet, one section of the American society refused to believe him. Even now, everything is not as clear as the President might want to project. But then, the discourse is out of the legal frame and will be handled by the American voters a year-and-a-half later.
A lot of American intellectuals see this as a relief from the intense politicking that was going on around the issue, hoping that the democratic process would get straightened up. For India, there is a lesson in this development in the United States. A lot of baseless allegations against the Government in general and the Prime Minister in particular have been levelled by the Opposition. It is more than clear that the Opposition is trying to create a make-believe scenario in which nothing the Government did in the past five years was right. So adamant has the Opposition leadership been that it has stopped using its common sense. Something similar was happening even in the United States for the past two years. So raucous -- and also ludicrous -- had the whole debate become that the only relief from the acrimony could come in the form of elections towards the end of 2020. Now that the Mueller report is out and has at least seemingly exonerated Mr. Trump, the focus will now shift to the electoral battle later on. In India, now everything will be decided by the voters whose mood the world will know only on May 23, 2019 when the ballots will get counted and added up. Even as the election campaigns are in full swing across the country, as leaders are filing their nominations all over the country in appropriate constituencies, all issues will get sorted out in the ballot box. For the past some time, the acrimony kicked up by the Opposition had been troubling the nation’s urge to have a proper democratic process in place rather than senseless controversies. That urge will now get a proper channel into the ballot box.
For any democracy, such a moment is one of relief, to say the least. In the US, one section of the political community believed that Mr. Trump had erred massively and was unfit to rule from the White House. They also believed that the President was trying to commandeer the system of investigation and justice by manipulating appointments to key legal positions. And as all that was happening, the common people felt terribly confused. In India, too, the Opposition acrimony has reached a terrible crescendo whose meaning is beyond the comprehension of common voters. All they want now is an opportunity to caste vote finally.
But let us not miss a fine difference between the American model of democracy and the one available in India. Even though multiple probes were going on in the US in an attempt to unearth the truth of Mr. Trump’s fit-to-rule quotient, and even though there were many who believed that the President would be indicted one day, general definitions of decency were more or less not violated. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said in the Indian context, thanks to the shameless extent to which many Opposition leaders and parties have been going in an attempt to discredit the Government and Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. It is generally okay that election campaigns see a lot of muck getting churned out against rivals.
But it is not at all okay that in the zest to discredit the rivals that utter falsehood is foisted upon people. That is what the Opposition has been doing -- questioning everything -- from the surgical strikes to airstrikes to good GDP showing to successful diplomatic manoeuvers to brilliant ideas in aerospace defence such as A-SAT missiles. Not just the intellectuals but also the common public now seek a relief from senseless allegations that have only twisted out of shape the current political discourse in India. This is a legitimate wish, and not just seeking a relief from acrimony. If the American voters will now wait for a year-and-a-half to take the control of their democracy, the Indian people, too, look forward to the end of chaotic mud-slinging triggered by the Opposition for the past four years. The indications are available at this stage to believe that those who got foisted senseless controversies on the country may be in for a rude shock -- which is their due.