The scenes that one got to witness in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly on Wednesday were something straight out of the streets. People saw these scenes of violence on TV news and news papers next morning carried screaming headlines claiming murder of democracy. But democracy has been murdered about a decade ago; this was but a stab of knife on its dead corpse which is never going to feel any pain. A BJP leader uses swear words inside the temple of democracy, while another Congress leader resorts to violence in response. This is not a phenomenon that calls for surprised reactions. We're the ones who elect these roadside goons to our Assembly, thus we have no rights to feel sorry about the state of democracy in the state.
This is not the first instance of lawmakers coming to blows with each other inside the Assembly. During the Suresh Mehta regime in Gujarat, his government was forced into going for a confidence vote in the Assembly after claims from Shankersinh Vaghela, who joined hands with Congress, that the government has lost its majority in the house. Violent scenes of MLAs getting into fisticuffs and damaging property inside the house marred the confidence vote session back then. Wednesday's incident was just a repetition of what had happened ten years ago in the same Assembly. In fact, many of the lawmakers who were a part of the violence in house back then are still within BJP and Congress. Members of both the parties inside the house share the same mindset.
Now the most important question that needs to be asked, who is responsible for the incident that happened in the Assembly on Wednesday? These so called leaders or we the citizens? I don't find it in right spirit when one talks about saving the democracy when people like Dr. Kanu Kalsariya loses and Purushottam Solanki and Madhu Shrivastav gets elected to the Assembly. Protection of democracy is not just limited to the Assembly but at every corner, even the smallest village where our citizens reside. When the farmers of the state are denied permission to take out a rally seeking answers to their problems, our leaders don't find it as murder of democracy. The struggles which the Dalit community has been going through ever since the formation of Gujarat state, when a certain Bhanubhai has to commit suicide to put forth the community's woes, these leaders can't see it is the democracy that just killed itself.
It is said that a leader is a representation of what the citizens are like. So it means we are ill-mannered and like goons, and so are our leaders whom we elect and send them to the Assembly. If we aren't like that, then our leaders would have been those who were well-mannered and honest. We should not cry foul and call for saving the democracy only when there is a ruckus in the house amongst our leaders. It is murder of democracy too, when Dalit activist and elected MLA Jignesh Mevani is not allowed to speak in the house by the speaker Rajendra Trivedi, simply because the party in power BJP hates Mevani. Democracy is not something you could see, but something you could feel. But what the citizens have realised so far is that the one who has the stick would be the one who gets to own the cattle. When Patels go out in mobs, they have the free hand to break the law, when Rajputs came out in mobs; they got free hand to burn our malls. Basically, we're trying to fool ourselves in the name of democracy. In reality, we're not for democracy but for mob-justice. Otherwise, how do these ruffians and street-cred leaders who have the free will to use swear words and hit each other by breaking off mics, get to sit in the Assembly? This is a question we need to ask ourselves.