As the threat looms over the Constitution, India must not go down the Russia road

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India is going through a difficult time where the basic tenets of constitution are under threat, the values of secularism and pluralism are being challenged by the ruling party. Despite millions of people hitting the roads since a few weeks opposing the constitutional amendments, the government is failing to deter in its agenda of holding power.

There have been many demands from activists, politicians, lawmakers, writers and Bollywood celebrities for the government to pay heed to the anarchy spread all across the nation but the Modi government has remained indifferent as ever to the plight of common Indians.

The democracy is considered the rule of people, by the people and for the people but despite people being unhappy with the new rulings of the government, the representatives of the Indian people are making no effort to grant those people the audience or lend them an ear to express their worries.

The threat to democracy in action can be witnessed in Russia where the Russian President Vladimir Putin assumed power in 1999 and he has retained power ever since. There is a limit of two terms of being a President in Russia therefore after his second term ended in 2008, he contested elections as the Prime Minister in 2008 and remained in control. His close aide Dmitry Medvedev became the President in the meantime. After the end of his Prime Minister’s tenure in 2012, he again won the elections as the President of Russia. His second term as President of Russia is about to end in 2024 and it is being speculated that he is eyeing the post of Prime Minister once again when that time comes.

Vladimir Putin proposed amendments in Russia’s constitution where he transferred a lot of judicial powers from President to the Cabinet of Ministers as well as the post of Prime Minister, which further fuelled the speculation that he will be going for the post of Prime Minister next, the way he did back in 2008. The constitutional tweaks he’s proposed are hints at some options. He’s bumped up the status of the little-known State Council, which he already heads. Or he could become PM again, now he’s slightly weakened the powers of Russia’s president.

The constitution now requires Putin to step down as president then but he could take on another post to ensure his continued influence. Putin hasn’t commented on his plans and his proposals didn’t include any overhauls that would have created a new post for him. But the shifts could reduce the sweeping powers currently held by the president, potentially reining in any successor while making other bodies more influential.

The whole government of Russia resigned in order to facilitate the Constitutional Amendment. He has been the supreme leader for two decades and this shows his supreme control over the political scenario of Russia.

India is also going through a phase where authoritarian dictators are willing to tweak the constitution as per their will. It is the time for Indian politicians and statesmen to decide whether they are committed to the sanctity of Indian Constitution or they will surrender their autonomy like their Russian counterparts.

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