The year leading up to the 2024 general elections in the country certainly feels as intriguing as a build-up to the climax of a well-made thriller film, with twists and turns coming up well-nigh every week, keeping the public on the edge of its seat guessing what will transpire next.
Law enforcement agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seem to be in overdrive, cracking down on alleged scams and transgressions nationwide.
The sensational arrest of Manish Sisodia, the first Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, on money laundering charges in connection with what is called the excise scam is easily one of the most widely followed events to have happened on this front.
The question on the top of people’s minds has been this: How can the man who began his public life as an anti-corruption crusader and who was later credited with bringing about systemic educational and economic reforms under the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi as the right-hand man of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal be involved in such unlawful activities as flouting the existing excise policy protocols?
Similarly shocking has been the ED’s summons for K Kavitha – Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s daughter, who has been waging a hunger strike at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar along with a dozen other opposition parties demanding the introduction of the Women’s Reservation Bill in the current Budget session of Parliament – in connection with the same excise policy case that has kept Sisodia behind bars since late last month.
Political analysts are speculating whether such developments will finally compel the nation’s opposition parties to put up a united front – despite their differences – against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the Lok Sabha polls next year.
AAP has moved on from its earlier strategy of flying solo in 2024. Kejriwal has been meeting many opposition leaders, including the allies of Congress.
Even if not overtly so, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra was also planned and executed with similar objectives. It is another matter whether Congress managed to achieve even a fraction of what it had expected to do from the yatra. Most major opposition leaders are hardly evincing any inclination to fight under the leadership of the Gandhi scion, who has yet to hold a ministerial position or proved his political mettle.
Gandhi’s latest efforts – during his recent London trip – to project India as a country where democratic institutions and processes have been undermined under a ‘fascist’ BJP regime did not cut the mustard as a sound political discourse and certainly cut no ice with his countrymen back home.
The Adani-Hindenburg row has only strengthened the notion that Western forces with vested interests are keen to see the back of a nationalist, assertive and powerful regime that has elevated India’s position on the world stage.
The people of India recently saw how the BJP was rewarded for its good work in the northeast, where the party was on the winning side in all the three states that went to the polls this year. They have been watching how India is becoming increasingly ‘atma-nirbhar’ (self-reliant) in various critically important sectors such as defence, health, electronics and manufacturing.
They are also noting how, despite India’s firmly neutral stand on the Russia-Ukraine war, its ties with Western powers continue to move forward (as seen in the interaction between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting Australian counterpart, Anthony Albanese).
Rest assured, the public will script the perfect climax come 2024.