Last month, on December 13, the Central Government’s Vikasit Bharat Sankalp Yatra at Sonyachi Shiroli village in Kolhapur district’s Radhanagari tehsil hit the headlines. A young man was seen questioning Maharashtra government employees accompanying a chariot, claiming that it should either be “Bharat Sarkar” or “Government of India” but not Modi Sarkar. It is all being done without the banner of a political party and by reiterating that asking a question is a constitutional right of a citizen.
The viral video has turned out to be the motivation for villagers from different parts of the state who were stopping the chariot from entering the village or blasting at government officials with interrogations, compelling them to end the event by violating notes.” or “Government of India,” but not Modi Sarkar. It is all being done without the banner of a political party and by reiterating that asking a question is a constitutional right of a citizen. The viral video has turned out to be the motivation for villagers from different parts of the state who were stopping the chariot from entering the village or blasting at government officials with interrogations, compelling them to end the event by violating notes.
Villagers wanted to know if he campaigned for Modi. Fearing protests, over eight Panchayat Samiti employees of Parbhani district on December 28 wrote to the district collector, stating that they have been getting phone calls from villagers asking them the reason behind writing “Modi Sarkar” on the chariot and questioning if they are “campaigning for Modi.” The employees had requested police protection from the collector during the yatra. Poor government staff were forced to be part of the yatra to communicate with people on various issues but they failed to impress people with the banners they were holding. The village youth did not approve of such publicity for Modi and some of them even stopped the rally by creating awkward situations for government officers.
A 30-year-old Ambedkarite activist, Rajvaibhav Shobha Ramchandra, from Sonyachi Shiroli village, works with numerous social organisations to spread constitutional awareness. He educates people about their rights and social justice. He raised his objection in the utmost calm and constitutional manner. He stood alone in front of the Grampanchayat and asked the motive behind the chariot and the yatra, but ironically, no authority could give him a convincing reply; rather, they just wound their show and left the place in haste. This is actually the power of people when governments fail to perform and when authorities take people for granted. This was a perfect example of an alert citizen.
This yatra was meant to spread awareness about the central government’s schemes. If the schemes are from the government of India, then why is it that the chariot has ‘Modi government’s guarantee’ written on it? Raj Vaibhav pointed out that the Constitution says, ‘India, that is Bharat’. It could either be ‘Bharat Sarkar’ or ‘Government of India’. If a person is replacing a country’s name, then it is a violation of the constitutional principle of sovereignty. As the discussion progressed, he was joined by villagers who, too, stood in his support. He later realised that the person who was debating with him was not a government employee but a functionary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Look at the sorry condition of BJP functionaries; they give big talks on social media and boast about Modi and his way of functioning. When faced by the public, in reality, they had nothing to argue about. They are only the good trolls.
That young guy was not against government schemes, but if a political party like the BJP is going to use the state’s money by using a chariot coloured like the party’s flag ahead of general elections, then they have to oppose it. Hamara Sankalp Viksit Bharat is a nationwide campaign to raise awareness through outreach activities to achieve saturation of schemes of the government of India across the country, covering all Gram Panchayats, Nagar Panchayats, and urban local bodies.
Rajvaibhav’s speech and his discussion with officials went viral on social media, triggering strong reactions and soon videos of similar actions started pouring in. In Buldhana district’s Palshi Jhashi village of Sangrampur tehsil, former sarpanch Abhaysinh Marode was served a notice under Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by local police, warning him not to interfere at a time when a chariot under the Vikasit Bharat Sankalp Yatra is travelling in the tehsil. He was hassled by government authorities and cops just for posing questions. Later on, the route of the chariot was changed after Marode continued with his questioning, joined by villagers and friends.
On December 30, he was slapped with a notice under Section 149. Similar peaceful questioning and protest videos were also seen in Ahmednagar, Nasik, Satara, Jalna, Parbhani, Akola, Hingoli, Nanded, Ratnagiri, and Buldhana districts, where villagers are asking employees accompanying the chariot various questions on the implementation of the schemes as well as the use of the phrase Modi Sarkar. Raj Vaibhav, along with others, are planning to approach the court against the use of the phrase ‘Modi Sarkar’, asking the question through that petition as to what the real name of the government is.