A single community who consistently backs a certain candidate or political party is known as Vote-bank. They are a loyal bloc of voters, who in return expects benefits or freebies for the following five years. The individual or party, as an attempt to keep the flock together, do make all attempts not only to bind them but to further increase the members, thereby leading to propaganda.
The political gimmicks in the world’s largest democracy, supposed to be popularizing the mandates or manifestoes of the political parties, have sadly turned such propaganda turned into mud-slashing, character assassinations, and sometimes go to the extent of even exposing the national security and wellbeing during the election campaigns.
To go one-up, many even resort to purchasing of votes, not even hesitating to take the benefits of influx or illegal migrants from across the borders, as has been alleged for years. Hence, the ruling BJP-led NDA government headed by Narendra Modi has been accused of bulldozing the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Lok Sabha on January 8, 2019, while failing to pass the same in the Rajya Sabha. This has turned into an election agenda for the regional parties from the North Eastern (NE) region.
Above that, the BJP-ruled Assam was caught red-faced as the Supreme Court of India on February 20, 2019, rapped the Assam government for excluding 40 lakh citizens from the National Register of Citizens of India (NRC) as it asked how people can have confidence in the elected government in Assam.
The Apex Court remarked that such a move was creating confusion while hearing Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by bureaucrat-turned-activist Harsh Mander for the humane treatment of the immigrants held in detention centres in Assam. The Apex Court Bench comprising of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Sanjiv Khanna questioned the Assam government’s seriousness and noted there were 40 lakh illegal immigrants in Assam, of that 52,000 were identified by the foreigners tribunals and only 166 were deported.
Also, Supreme Court has restored the Indian citizenship to Sirajul Hoque from Assam’s Dhubri district, who was declared a foreigner two years ago, because of a mismatch in the spelling of his grandfather’s name. Sirajul Hoque and his father Hakim Ali’s names appeared the same in all documents, however, his grandfather Kematullah’s name was shown as Kefatullah in some documents.
Strangely, the Union Cabinet on February 19, 2019, approved four ordinances, including the one making triple talaq a criminal offence. The other ordinances approved by the Cabinet include the Companies (Second Amendment) ordinance, the Medical Council ordinance and the ordinance against unregulated deposits (Ponzi schemes).
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stated that the government has to bring these ordinances as the matters are pending for a long time and could not be cleared by the Rajya Sabha due to disruptions. The triple talaq Bill has lapsed in Rajya Sabha after a consensus with Opposition could not be built. The government had first brought the triple talaq ordinance in September 2018.
But the government steered clear of an ordinance on the controversial Citizen Amendment law.
Whereas, on the next day, the United Democratic Party (UDP), Meghalaya’s main regional political party announced that it has snapped ties with the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) over the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The announcement comes days after BJP President Amit Shah said his party will make the Bill part of the party manifesto for the coming Lok Sabha elections and pass it if it returns to power.
In fact, the UDP decision was taken a couple of days after 11 regional political parties from across the NE states met in Guwahati on January 29 which unanimously agreed to oppose the Bill. This is the second casualty for BJP after the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), its ally in Assam, left it soon after the Bill was passed in Lok Sabha.
Understanding that there are 25 Lok Sabha seats from all the eight NE states and facing a stiff opposition from its own allies in the region, the Modi government has opted against an ordinance on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) at the Union Cabinet meeting hoping to keep the flock intact and not to lose the alliance.
Though BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Modi, are eager to pass the Bill which seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, it also does not want to disrupt its prospects at the last moment.
The saffron party does not want to drop the Bill as it might affect the vote bank in the so-called Main Land of India, yet it does not want to risk the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) breaking as well, aiming to fetch them about 19 to 22 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha general election.