ballot to win

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 14 Nov 2018 12:23:03

THE high percentage of polling in the Naxal-dominated Bastar region of Chhattisgarh has shown clearly once again that ballot will win the ultimate battle against bullet. There were countless threats issued by Naxals that they would chop off fingers on which they would find voting mark. They threatened to lob bombs on the polling stations. They pasted posters warning the tribals against voting at all. And they also indulged in voting-day encounters so as to intimidate common people. Yet, high percentage of voting recorded, cocking a snook at the Naxals. In the ongoing war against Naxalites, this should be registered as a very good omen. 

Of course, the Government’s persistence paid good dividends. Of course, the belief that democracy is slated to win any battle against terrorism, also made the difference. Of course, the Government’s resolute offensive against Naxalite dalams in a protracted conflict had its own good effect. And all that reflected itself in higher percentage of polling in the first phase of elections to the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly in which Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh is seeking a return to power for the fourth time in a row. No matter what the outcome of the elections would be, it is obvious that the high percentage of voting proves that democracy has asserted itself very well.

This is not just an episodic activity. Its impact goes much deeper than many can think of. For, the war the Naxals have waged is against the State of India, its constitutionality, its authority, its integrity. In other words, they want to discard democracy and assume power through wanton violence. Their effort, thus, indicates a great conflict between forces of democracy and forces opposing the system ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’ as defined so wonderfully by the iconic Mr. Abraham Lincoln.

Until a couple of years ago, pseudo-intellectual supporters of the Ultra Left Extremists (ULE) had tried to create an impression that the Naxals were hugely successful in ousting the State from its far-flung and remote and isolated frontiers. The high percentage of voting in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh indicates that the common people have defied the threat of violence, thanks to the sane and successful effort of the Government to push Naxalism back through use of force and use of persuasion of the tribal population. Coupled with that was the very thoughtful surrender policy that attracted many a Naxal to submit to a life of safety and security. Put together, all these made a good impact on popular mind, which behaved in the most desired manner.

This blow to the Naxal influence at the precise time of change of leadership of the movement has its own symbolism and significance. It demonstrates how the State often wins with patience a battle against cantankerousness and violence. Those pseudo-intellectuals who support the Ultra Left Extremism now should realise that they are backing a wrong cause that does not have a popular support. They should realise that the so-called good aims of Naxalite movement -- to bring social, economic and political justice to the doorstep of far-flung settlements of human society -- will be fulfilled better without violence that the Naxals use as their official tool.

Of course, the war against ULE is far from over. This is just a small beginning of sensing of victory. There should be no doubt that the Naxals will hit back hard. Those will be the times testing the Government’s sanity and dignity. Those will be the moments of yet another chance to defeat Naxalism, to assert democracy, and to tell the world how terrorism may be combatted. The legislative elections in first phase of Chhattisgarh have shown the way for democracy to set a firmer foot on the hostile ground. It will be in the best interest of the larger national goal that such battles are won with certain regularity.