Will the use of religion to seek votes really stop?
Though the reasons of most of these riots are disputed, the major cause has always been politics of religion. These are simply the major fiascos; the minor ones are too many and have forever been causing trouble and claiming lives.List of disasters due to politics of religion after independence:
|Ramnad Riots||1957||Devendrar Maravar - Tamil Nadu police|
|Ranchi Hatia Riots||1967||Hindus - Muslims|
|Gujarat Riots||1967||Hindus - Muslims|
|Worli Riots||1974||Shiv Sena - Dalits|
|Moradabad Riots||1980||PAC - Muslims|
|Bhiwandi Riots||1984||Hindus - Muslims|
|Anti-Sikh Riots||1984||Indian National Congress Party - Sikhs|
|Gujarat Riots||1985||Hindus - Muslims|
|Meerut Riots||1987||Hindus - Muslims - PAC|
|Bhagalpur Violence||1989||Hindus - Muslims|
|Hyderabad Riots||1990||Hindus - Muslims|
|Anti-Tamil Violence of Karnataka||1991||Tamils - Kannadigas|
|Bombay Riots||1992||Hindus - Muslims|
|Gujarat Riots||2002||Hindus - Muslims|
|Vadodara Riots||2006||Hindus - Muslims|
|Canning Riots||2013||Hindus - Muslims|
|Muzaffarnagar Riots||2013||Hindus - Muslims|
SC recently ruled that “seeking votes in the name of religion, caste, race, community or language by a candidate, his her agent or anyone with his her consent would be a corrupt electoral practice rendering the person open to disqualification.”
The order comes in the light of reiterating Section123 (3) of the Representation of the People Act in order to maintain the purity of the electoral process.
Using religion to seek votes is a long used, infallible strategy that never went out of trend ever since the British passed it on to the Indian political system. All major political parties in India are regarded as either inclined towards one religion and hatred towards the minority communities or the exact opposite of that. Either ways, this became the way people chose who to vote for. In a country where this has been the way things worked, will the judgment bring a major change?Yes1. People hate polarization:
Manipulating people in the name of religion, caste or community is something that has been the reason for a lot of trouble in the past. All major riots and fiasco happened because of politicians using religion to divide people. People understand this and have never been happy about it. The judgment has been welcomed by everyone who wants peace.2. Hate politics:
Hate speeches, bashing people and other party members for supporting a particular religion or following one has always been practiced by members of a political party to make people believe that they are the only well-wishers of a particular community and are going to work towards the welfare of that community. If made illegal, it will have to stop.3. Disqualification is the choicest weapon:
It is usually the smaller minions, agents, and members who spread the venom of religion over politics for the major benefits of the candidate. The candidate remains calm while these minions do the evil of dividing people in the name of religion. There are so many examples that it is not even worth bringing up names to this claim. Now that it comes to disqualification of their candidate, the party leaders will intervene and keep their pets chained.4. Keeping it secular:
The term ‘secular’ recently found itself amidst controversy. It was either used to taunt parties that favored a particular religion more over the others or used by the right wing to criticize left wing’s strategy of pretending to be secular only to win favors of the minority. The term that should have relevance from our constitution was rather used to hurl abusive comments at each other. It is high time that political parties be told its importance.5. Will help people decide wisely:
A party disapproves of a particular religion and it becomes the reason why people of the opposite community would vote for him anyway. Our senses have become governed by hatred of religion and politics, so much so that we refuse to accept logic and reasons over religion.No1. Who will you disqualify?
All major political parties engage in politics of religion. They are either involved in the promotion of one or derogation of other. It will give SC a tough time to decide which to disqualify and which to leave behind. The bigger question is what will remain of political parties in India if all such candidates are barred from contesting elections?2. Language and race:
Many state political parties either have a language or race adorned by them. This includes Telugu Desam of Andhra Pradesh, Mizo National Front, Naga People's Front and the use of word Dravida in almost all big parties in Tamil Nadu. Indian Union of Muslim League, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Shiv Sena, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, etc are directly contesting and appealing to one religion. What will be done to them?3. It will be a lengthy process:
The time taken by courts to come to a conclusion will always be more than at least five years when a member of a leading political party is concerned. Our politicians are good at dodging cases with years of experience, which is what it takes for them to reach where they are. Unless practiced with strictness, the whole point of disqualifying will be moot.
The decision taken by SC is indeed the one that should be welcomed by the entire nation. It has long been what we lacked and most needed. However, overcoming the disasters of stalling cases and giving tickets anyway will be in the way of implementing this judgment.