The last three months of 2019 saw the opposition from Congress to the left, gain up momentum through the passing of a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act adopted by the Kerala Assembly. Electoral victory in Jharkhand and coming to power in Maharashtra along with opposition to the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) by some of the NDA alliance partners provided traction to the opposition. Quite evidently the country was set to witness a centrifuge of central-state relations in the federal polity and here is an article that describes the Centre-State debacles that were the highlight of 2020.
From Delhi riots to Farm Laws, the year 2020 witnessed some unforeseeable incidences with the pandemic, protests, and political face-offs, dominating the news space.
Here are the top five political unfoldings of 2020-
The Citizenship Amendment Act was facing serious protest at the heart of the national capital of the country when ahead of former US President Donald Trump’s visit, the protest turned violent. Protesters for and against the controversial citizenship law clashed in Delhi killing 53 people and injuring over 200. Houses were targeted, mosques and schools were demolished and attacked with the deployment of security personnel to ban large gatherings in affected areas responded with lathi-charge and tear gas shelling. Sonia Gandhi demanded the resignation of the Home Minister under whose control Delhi Police functioned. The BJP stated Congress had no authority to demand such actions given the history of their governance. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal was also caught up in the blame game battle with the Centre.
To plank the rising curve of CoronaVirus infections in the country, the government announced a nationwide lockdown resulting in a migrant crisis. Migrant workers were forced to travel back to their states by road, mostly on foot as all transportation facilities were locked down and similarly all income prospects. Soon opposition parties started questioning the lack of management and planning while centralizing nation-wide lockdown and sought compensation for the migrant workers who died during the lockdown. The government later arranged for transportation facilities for them. Even during Bihar polls, Congress raised the Migrant crisis to attack the government. The NDA government was also questioned when it said in the parliament while giving accountability that it had no data for the deaths of migrant workers, clearly backing off from any chances to give compensation. The NDA government has widely come to be known as the ‘No Data Available’ government in the year 2020.
Late Night Cremation Of Hathras Rape Victim
With the politics unfolding over the alleged gang-rape by four upper-caste men in Hathras escalated, caste-based violence was thankfully awarded some media space this year. For a nation that no longer gets shocked to hear incidences of brutal rape and murder of women, especially from so-called ‘lower castes’, the country set an unprecedented record when the Uttar Pradesh Police “unceremoniously” cremated the victim of the Hathras rape case around 3 am without the consent of the family. Not only did they burn her body, the police, that comes under the state government, also stopped media or opposition party leaders from meeting the victim’s family.
Opposition parties blamed the Uttar Pradesh government for insensitivity towards handling of the incident and the protests that followed it. Meanwhile, BJP rubbished it as the ‘political agenda’ of Congress.
The newly drafted and enacted ordinance on the anti-religious conversion law by Adityanath Yogi government in UP, which is built on the notion that Hindu women are falsely and forcibly asked to convert by Muslim men, proposed a maximum punishment of 10 years for “love jihad” related offenses has triggered a political row. While the BJP Government has hailed this as a necessary law to keep a check on the conversions carried out in the name of marriage, political parties have attacked the UP government and the BJP for coining the term ‘love jihad’ and creating a divide in the country along the lines of their political agenda. “The new ordinance introduced in haste by the UP government against love jihad is riddled with doubts since religious conversion through compulsion or fraud has found no acceptability or respectability anywhere in the country,” The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief said in a Hindi tweet.
Despite much dissent in Rajya Sabha over the new farm bills that were introduced in September, the bills were bulldozed in the Upper House to become Acts. Concerns have been raised over the lack of legal scrutiny awarded to the bills as demands of Opposition parties to present the bill to a separate committee for deliberation and consultation were mulled over. The House headed will voice votes despite the MPs asking for a division. The Opposition parties raised slogans and tried to grab the speaker’s microphone in the upper house of parliament before bills were passed by a voice vote. Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha TV broadcasting was briefly cut off. The Government has reiterated that the new laws will liberate the farmers of India while the Opposition parties have called it “anti-farmer”. Farmers across the country have been protesting since then with thousands of them coming down to the borders of the national capital demanding the complete withdrawal of the Acts. They have been protesting for the past three months well equipped to take the protest into the year 2021.