Eminent citizens appeal to secular parties to form secular government


We, concerned citizens of India, are alarmed by the divisive, abusive and violent Lok Sabha election campaign that has just been concluded. Throughout the campaign, the Bharatiya Janata Party under Narendra Modi’s leadership has been especially virulent in ridiculing and insulting religious and sexual minorities, dalits and people with disabilities. Communal forces represented and endorsed by BJP and Modi also work against the interests and rights of cultural and linguistic minorities, adivasis and women across communities. BJP under Modi has also threatened constitutional bodies like the Election Commission. Dissenting voices have been intimidated and asked to leave the country.


The collusion of big corporates with rank communal and authoritarian ideas, visible starkly in the poll campaign, will seep into the structures of governance if a Modi-led NDA government is formed. All opponents to this brand of politics will be hounded and hunted, as they indeed have been in Gujarat. It is only reasonable to anticipate that the policies of discrimination and ghettoisation practiced by Modi’s government in Gujarat will become the national norm. Even more disturbingly, much of the mainstream media today is not only acting pliant, they are carrying a barrage of misleading facts to promote Modi, leading to legitimate fears that they may further abandon their watchdog role.


In this alarming scenario, it is imperative that you, the secular elected members of parliament ensure that the Constitution and its values, and indeed, the future of this nation, are protected. After all, secularism is not just a catchword in election manifestos. It is the backbone of our democracy.


There is nothing inevitable about the rise of Modi to Prime Ministership. The keys to formation of government in Delhi are held by all of you. We now remind some of you of the promises you have made to the people of India to stand against communalism and uphold secularism during this election campaign, which we have reproduced here. We, along with millions of citizens, voted for you because of these promises.


We appeal to you and all other secular parties to come together to ensure the formation of a secular government, and prevent the formation of a Narendra Modi-led BJP/NDA central government.


We gave you our votes. We hope you will honour our trust.


Eminent signatories


Aditi Mangaldas, Dancer

Aditya Mukherjee, professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Emeritus Professor, Kolkata

Amrita Chhachhi

Anand Patwardhan, Documentary Filmmaker

Aneesh Pradhan, Tabla Maestro

Ania Loomba

Anil Sadgopal, Former Dean, Faculty of Education, Delhi University, Bhopal

Anthoniraj Thumma, Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches, Hyderabad

Anusha Khan, Media Professional

Anusha Rizvi, Writer-Director

Atul Sood, professor of economics

C. P. Chandrasekhar, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

DN Jha, Retd Professor

Fr Cedric Prakash SJ, human rights activist, Ahmedabad

Githa Hariharan, writer, Delhi

Hansal Mehta, writer-director

Harbans Mukhia, former Professor of History and Rector, JNU, National Fellow, ICHR

Janaki Nair, professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Javed Anand, activist Mumbai

Jayati Ghosh, professor of economics

Kabir Khan, Director

KamayaI Bali Mahabal, Feminist and Human rights activist

Kundan Shah, Director

Mahesh Bhatt, director-producer

Mahesh Murthy, Adman-Entrepreneur

Maya Krishna Rao, theatre artist

Mridula Mukherjee, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Nirmalangshu Mukherji, Teacher, Delhi University

Prabhat Patnaik, professor of economics

Rappai Poothokaren, S.J., Ahmedabad

Robert Miranda, Bishop of Gulbarga

Rukmini Bhaya Nair, Professor of Linguistics and English

Shabnam Hashmi, social activist, Anhad

Shohini Ghosh, professor and filmmaker

Shubha Mudgal, singer-musician

Tabish Khair, writer and academic

Vijay Krishna Acharya ‘Victor’, Writer-Director

Vineet Tiwari, Gen. Secretary, MP Progressive Writers Association, Indore

Vivan Sundaram, artist

Yug Mohit Chaudhry, Lawyer, Mumbai

Zoya Hasan, professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University


And 900 others from across India