The BJP’s historic win in one the largest states, U.P., elections may impact the politics and policies at the center government more than many people may realize. Until now, BJP lacked the majority in the parliament house, Rajya Sabha, which is not as powerful as the Lok Sabha House, but still required to approve any major legislation. BJP’s win in U.P. will guarantee its majority in both houses along with a strong PM. While this may be good for making and implementing any progressive policy but it may also be misused by the right-wing agencies and the powerful politicians to get their personal agenda fulfilled. One of the most important issue at stake is the free speech in India.
After its independence from being a British colony in 1947, India’s constitution allowed free speech to its residents, with some restrictions related to the national security or other major issues. The powerful politicians have tried to misuse these provisions and even tried to add more restrictions from time to time. India’s very powerful and popular PM, Indira Ghandi, tried to suppress this by imposing an emergency on the country in 1970’s but lost power afterwards as the nation realized her personal vendetta against political opponents. It was the free speech, which helped Janta Party (a predecessor of BJP) getting into power in 1977 and again in 1990’s as well as 2010’s. But ironically, BJP now seem to be the biggest opponent of free speech. There have been many incidents since BJP came to power where any expression of free speech is termed as unpatriotic and political vendetta follows.
India’s Union Finance minister, Arun Jaitley, speaking at the London School of Economics recently, stated that there is a need for debate on freedom of speech in India. This is a serious matter, given that it is coming from the second most powerful political leader in India after Mr. Modi. The self-styled Tolerance Champion and Bollywood actor, Anupam Kher, was quick to spread the message to restrict the free speech, see the video for details:
Disclaimer: The above is only a 5 minutes snippet from the complete debate, listen the entire debate for complete understanding: