2016 has been an interesting year for politics. The political scenario in India in 2016 was peculiar and one of its own kind. From politicians hurling accusations of being anti-national on one another to Kejriwal blaming NaMo for pretty much everything and Rahul Gandhi trying his best to stay relevant, 2016 has finally come to an end. Let’s take a walk down the memory lane and reflect on some of the biggest political highlights of 2016:
1. The JNU Incident
2016 was ushered in with the anti-national slogans (?) raised at the JNU Campus by Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya (the name is now etched in our memories). What seemed to be a case of anti-nationals celebrating the attack on Indian Parliament turned out to be a mere expression of political dissent.
Smriti Irani made an eloquent speech in Lok Sabha about the JNU incident as she bashed the students who raised the slogans and the anti-national sentiments in the youth. After the JNU row, one can only wonder about the anarchy that would ensue if every statement of where an individual expresses their dissent is labelled anti-national.
2. Standing for National Anthem
As if the JNU Incident was not enough, Indians were asked to prove their nationalism again by standing in the cinemas while National Anthem is played. Next thing you know, they’re asking us to tattoo Bharat Mata ki Jai on our foreheads to prove our Nationalism.
3. Intolerance Debate
If there is a hashtag that trended the most on Twitter in 2016, (after #Demonetization), it’s #Intolerance. Remember the award wapsi row where several veterans gave up their awards as a protest against the growing intolerance in the country? One wonders where these veterans were during other cases of extremism. For instance, Sudheendra Kulkarni’s ink attack case. Kirron Kher slammed the veterans for being hypocrites in her Lok Sabha speech and was applauded for her fearless take on intolerance (or lack thereof).
4. Odd-Even Rule
2016 was also the year that saw the implementation of Odd-Even rule in Delhi to curb the pollution levels. What seemed to be a diligent step towards reducing the pollution levels, came under scrutiny when the results were not up to the mark. It’s interesting to note how Kejriwal did not call for Odd-Even rule, nor did he take a step to reduce pollution during the post-Diwali smog.
5. Navjot Singh Sidhu’s confusion
Navjot Singh Sidhu, (like the rest of us) was very confused in 2016 as he struggled to decide which party he would want to join. He left BJP to join AAP only to end up with neither AAP nor BJP confirming his membership. Should have stayed at Comedy Nights instead.
6. OROP Politics
As if politicising petty issues was not enough, Indian politics hit a new low when politics was played over a suicide. A man committed suicide over One Rank One Pension policy. Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi got themselves arrested in Delhi when they were refused to meet the family of the victim. So much drama, isn’t it? *Sigh*
7. Politicising surgical strikes
Talking about politicising issues, Arvind Kejriwal , politicised the surgical strikes and got a lot of flak for it. He applauded by the Pakistani media and faced the brunt of the Indians. Also, BJP mentioning the strikes in their advertisement poster was downright terrible.
Do I even need to explain this one? India’s economy changed forever on the evening of 8 November 2016 with 500 and 1000 rupee tenders becoming illegal. What followed was a huge debate over the issue and Australia following India’s footsteps. With queues becoming longer and banks facing a cash crunch, the demonetization row is far from over and continues to generate buzz.
9. Jayalalitha’s Death
Though it isn’t a political event, it is a major political highlight of 2016. Jayalalitha, Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister breathed her last on 5 December 2016 as she suffered a cardiac arrest. With over 500 people who committed suicide due to shock, Tamil Nadu continues to mourn the loss of the political veteran till date.
10. Donald Trump becoming the President-Elect
In what can be called a global upset, Donald Trump became the President Elect of United States. Though Hilary Clinton won the popular vote, Donald won the states with most electors and became the President-elect. The incident took all the media houses, corporations and people around the globe by surprise. 2016 US Presidential Election will go down in History as the election with the most shocking outcome of all time.
So 2016’s a wrap! What according to you was the major political highlight of 2016? Sound off in the comments below.