Amartya Sen says democracy is in danger; non-communal forces should ally for 2019 polls

What happened in 2014 polls? A party having got 55 per cent seats but actually having secured 31 per cent of the total votes, came to power... A party with ill motives, says Sen.

By PTI  
Monday, August 27, 2018

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has said all non-communal forces should come together for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and the Left should not hesitate in joining them as "democracy is in danger". "We must express our opposition to autocracy, we must fight against their autocratic trends, we must criticise the issues where we need to oppose the non-communal right wing forces, but we must not take back our hands when it comes to fighting communalism which is the biggest threat," he said.

Sharply criticising the BJP government at the Centre, Sen said a party having got "31 per cent votes and ill motives in politics" came to power in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. "What happened in 2014 polls? A party having got 55 per cent seats but actually having secured 31 per cent of the total votes, came to power... A party with ill motives," Sen said yesterday during a question-answer session at Sisir Manch auditorium here.

The Nobel laureate said during his visit to Kolkata this time, he has heard whispers in certain quarters that to stop the autocratic trends in the state, BJP can be the viable medium and not the weak CPI(M). "This is a strange logic. To stop autocracy, we will be sowing the seed of communalism. This seed can be weeded after a lot of time, effort and battle in future," he said, adding every political question should not be interpreted through leftist and rightist prisms.

Sen said democracy was under threat in the country but it can only be rectified by the people. "I think democracy is in danger but we can do rectification. If we say democracy is under threat, we can be beaten up by some people. But still we, the people, can do the rectification. It is not like a sinking boat which we all should abandon," he said.

Sen referred to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to draw parallels with the situation in the country, but did not specifically refer to any particular incident. "Some students had been taken to custody in JNU on charge of sedition in the past, a charge which had not been proved in any case. They were beaten up in custody which was against any law. It is not fathomable how they were charged under sedition," the eminent economist said.

"We had all seen how an illegal act was committed and there was no fair justice. Till now, there was no proof of sedition charge. This time it was faced by students. but this can be faced by any citizen of this country," he said. On the National Register of Citizens (NRC) issue, he said the Trinamool Congress had led the protests much before the Left parties. "The TMC went there to protest before the left. Such a thing won't make the left proud. If you take pride for being Left make your voice heard on issues."

To a question on the efficacy of multi-party system in the country, Sen said, "I found no example which said democracy won't function without multi-party system. In one-party system we had seen example of autocratic rules over the years."

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