Jiben Roy: The conservatives are on the march


Jiben Roy



Recently the world's largest democratic country, India, finished a marathon election, which started on 11th April and ended 19th May. There are 900 million eligible voters out of almost 1.4 billion people. Amazingly, no violence, no killing. It went very peacefully. Interestingly, the polling officers had to travel a long way to go to a remote hilly area and arrange a booth just for a single voter. There were one million polling stations and 10 million officials to conduct the election. It is not a 2- or 3-party elections - more than 450 parties -- mostly regional -- participated in the election. 


Once finished, exit polls started surfacing and Indian media suggested that the incumbent conservative Modi government would come back again in Delhi. And in this case, the exit polls and media didn't fail like they did in the 2016 US elections. 


This Thursday morning, the counting of votes is almost at the finishing stage and projected results matched (or better) with that of the exit polls. Mr. Narendra Modi of the conservative Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), once again will win the Indian election in a landslide. Out of 543 seats, BJP alone secured almost 300 seats, far ahead of the magic number 272. 


In fact, the conservatives are marching around the world. Very recently, Australia and Indonesia have an election where we saw similar trends. In Indonesia, the winner has a running mate who is a fundamentalist cleric. Within this year, elections were also held in Israel and Brazil. And in 2016, the US had it.  


In the US there are so many ultra-conservative sects but also very peaceful communities such as Amish, Mormon or others, who don't want to think outside of their community. Similarly, conservative government wants to isolate themselves by building a wall and forget about immigration or refugees or hunger in other parts of the world. In trade or business there has to be a 50 - 50 deal. 


On the other hand, liberalism makes chaos, and sometimes more violence too. In the long run, various problems do arise. This world in the past has witnessed liberalism, communism and also fundamentalism. It is hard to say which one is better. It all depends on what situation one has gone through.  


I wonder if there used to be centrists in power too, who if required could bend a little bit towards either left or right. However, one thing is for sure, the extreme left is gone out of the world. The far right is not. But the world has seen what happened during far right nationalist, Nazi rule during Hitler's time. 


It goes without saying, whatever the orientation of politics, ordinary people want peace, stability, freedom and natural death. 


Jiben Roy, a native of Bangladesh, teaches chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences at Mississippi University for Women. His email address is [email protected]



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