More than 600 artists, including Amol Palekar, Naseeruddin Shah, Girish Karnad and Usha Ganguli, have signed a letter asking people to “vote BJP and its allies” out of power, arguing that the idea of India and its constitution are under threat.
Among those who have signed the letter are Shanta Gokhale, Mahesh Elkunchwar, Mahesh Dattani, Arundhati Nag, Kirti Jain, Abhishek Majumdar, Konkona Sen Sharma, Ratna Pathak Shah, Lillete Dubey, Mita Vashisth, MK Raina, Makarand Deshpande and Anurag Kashyap.
“Today, the very idea of India is under threat. Today, song, dance, laughter is under threat. Today, our beloved Constitution is under threat,” they said.
The government has “suffocated” the institutions where argument, debate and dissent were nurtured, the letter stated.
“A democracy must empower its weakest, its most marginalised. A democracy cannot function without questioning, debate, and a vibrant opposition. All this is being concertedly eroded by the current government.
“The BJP, which came to power five years ago with the promise of development, has given free rein to Hindutva goons to indulge in the politics of hate and violence,” it added.
In an apparent reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the letter stated that he has destroyed the lives of many people through his government’s policies and has failed on the promises he made.
The letter does not refer to the prime minister by name.
“He promised to bring back black money; instead, rogues have looted the country and run away. The wealth of the rich has grown astronomically, while the poor have become even poorer.”