‘Speak Up India’ Campaign Trends Worldwide

The discontent against the BJP has been growing for many years now. However, the anger against the government has largely been kept away from the government by a pliant media. The protests, both online and on the ground, have been regular with people’s patience running out with the BJP government. Lakhs of people are taking part in the #SpeakUPIndia campaign—the third phase of which focuses on price rise.

There appears to be a unanimous message that the people are sending to the government—that the unfair increase in fuel, when the international crude oil prices are plummeting, will not be tolerated anymore. While the BJP has displayed cowardice in not engaging with the opposition and the celebrities who earlier questioned even justified increase in fuel prices have become silent, common people have taken to social media to get the government to hear their pain. The participation is so massive that the hashtag #SpeakUpAgainstFuelHike is trending worldwide. It remains to be seen whether the government will respond to the people’s voices or whether it will continue to cower behind a malleable media.

Regardless of whether the government seeks to mend its ways or not, it cannot escape from the people’s wrath which is being expressed with increasing frequency and intensity. The deadly combination of ignorance and arrogance which this government brims with has destroyed a robust economy, as well as severely damaged the social fabric of India. With their flawed policies, the BJP government is pushing India into further peril.

It needs to explain the rationale behind increasing fuel prices every day—that too when the crude oil prices plummeted in the international market. Why is the government shying away from including fuel under the GST where the taxes are capped? It is unconscionable that even amidst an unprecedented pandemic it is increasing the fuel prices—for the first time in our history the prices of diesel are higher than that of petrol. This will impact transportation and thereby increase inflation, which will further jeopardize people’s living standards.

Further, the government needs to explain where it is spending all the money it is squeezing out of the common people. It is estimated that the government has profited anywhere between 18 to 20 lakh crores. Meanwhile, the BJP government refuses to share the list of ‘willful defaulters’ even as the Indian banking sector continues to be plagued by non-performing assets. It periodically announces ‘bank recapitalization’ schemes—meaning that the government is infusing money into the banking sector—which are once again given as loans to crony capitalists close to the ruling party—only to end up as non-performing assets once again.

The sooner people realize that the BJP, in connivance with the media, is digressing from issues that matter, India’s interests will be protected. We cannot continue to be pulled into a false dichotomous debate over nationalism and support for the government. In fact, it is the patriotic duty of every Indian citizen to question the government when it errs. It is the right and the duty to seek answers from the government and ask it to explain the unfair increase in the fuel price hike. If the high-decibel media makes an attempt to subvert and muddy the public discourse—it can take a hike!

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