This is a draft for circulation among well-meaning and sane citizens for their signature on a petition to the Chief Justice of India, with a prayer:
– That Article 324 (which mandates the Election Commission to hold and conduct all elections) be suspended with immediate effect and that the 2019 Lok Sabha elections be deferred indefinitely;
– Now that we have declared the pursuit and termination of terrorists and the elimination of terrorism as the sole and only objective of our national existence;
– and that Pakistan has committed an act of aggression against our military installations and that the nation’s honour and self-respect demand that the dignity and prestige of our brave armed forces be avenged, the citizens’ anger and thirst for retribution will need to be channelised effectively in the face-off against Pakistan.
– It is imperative that the prime minister should be devoting all his time and attention to strategising this armed stand-off with Pakistan. It is doubly vital that there be no other demands on his mind and body as he goes after the terrorists, and hunts them down from their rabbit-holes;
– Because of the impending Lok Sabha election, the prime minister is constrained to spend most of his time going from state to state, from district to district, from taluka to taluka, to drum up votes for the Bharatiya Janata Party and other partners in the National Democratic Alliance;
– Because it is a widely accepted fact that the prime minister is also a military genius, this needless preoccupation with electioneering, ipso facto, deprives our glorious and brave armed forces of his inspiring leadership. In practical terms, it is tantamount to aiding and comforting the terrorists and their puppeteers in the Pakistan army;
– This strange insistence on going through the rites and rituals of elections is entirely demeaning to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the most sincere, the most honest and most hard-working leader India has produced since the constitution came into play on January 26, 1950, if not even earlier;
– It is entirely desirable that this most popular, most loved, most adored leader be spared the indignity of contesting an election of which the outcome cannot be in any doubt;
– Because the prime minister’s political opponents are churlish and impertinent and are unwilling to recognise his exalted status, and, instead, are insisting on challenging his natural – almost divine – right to be our ruler and our saviour, at least for another five years, it is a matter of utmost urgency as also of supreme national security that the prime minister be not made to engage in undignified verbal duels;
– These irresponsible opposition leaders deviously challenge Narendra Modi, knowing very well that if he is confronted, he will not take it lying it down and that he will be forced to return gaali for gaali. And then some.
– This requirement of an election to a new Lok Sabha has already seen the demeaning of prime ministerial prestige, demeanour and dignity. The only way the nation can be spared further lowering of prime ministerial dignity is to remove the principal cause and provocation for Shri Modi’s annoyance: this ritual of elections.
– It is unfair, at this critical time in the life of our nation, to put the onus on the prime minister to set a tone of high-minded moderation. Those who choose to take him on should know that he is a master of innuendos and malice; this skill is his strength and in present times, a national asset;
– Additionally, it is submitted that a Lok Sabha election is an extremely expensive exercise. It is expected that the 2019 Lok Sabha election will be the most expensive campaign. The nation and political parties will end up spending more than Rs 50,000 crore in an entirely unproductive exercise; it requires no great imagination to calculate how many bullet-proof jackets, how many Rafales, and how much ammunition could be bought with this amount for our gallant armed forces;
– In any case, the satta bazaar people, the most reliable bunch of psephologists, are unanimous that the NDA should win more than 300 seats. Then, pray, where is need to have a costly, noisy, undignified contest, which will further deplete the nation’s social capital, inevitably deepen fault-lines, and may even lead to violence against those who insist on opposing the prime minister?
– It has to be acknowledged the prime minister, in all fairness, cannot be denied his right to be vicious and crude; but, if he is vicious and crude, it is because the Opposition is insisting on a vote whose outcome is already known to every user of social media, and to almost all television anchors.
– It needs to be recognised that post the Pulwama attack, we have entered a very anxious time in the life of our nation; democracy and its rituals like periodic, free and fair elections and its institutions like the Election Commission are no doubt important; but, the nation’s security is – and has to be – paramount. It is morally right to assert in the context of an all-out conflict with Pakistan that it is everyone’s national duty to help the prime minister carry out his pledge to ferret every terrorist out of his hiding hole.
– It must be emphasised that the campaign, if allowed to proceed as per the Election Commission’s schedule, will inevitably witness the opposition raising frivolous issues like massive unemployment among the youth, or irrelevant question about the extensive rural distress, or the irritating query about demonetisation and the elusive black money, or the downright silly business of the decimation of India’s institutions. All these issues are not unimportant, but a nation has to have its priorities; right now the nation’s security and the supreme requirement that Pakistan be taught a lesson takes precedence over every other problem.
This is a time when the nation needs to speak in one voice; it is time for the nation to hail the leader in one voice.
Therefore, our prayer is that it be ensured that political parties and leaders do not fritter away national energy in a pointless election. Consequently, the court may be pleased to direct that a constitutional ordinance be issued suspending Article 324.
Harish Khare is a journalist who lives and works in Delhi. He was, until recently, editor-in-chief of The Tribune.