Walking slowly into the central hall of the 17th Lok Sabha after being sworn in as MP amidst ‘Jai Shri Ram’ chants, an opposition MP lamented: "Looks like this is a 10 year mandate for the Modi government." The MP's depression was not surprising: the opposition benches wore a distinctly deserted look and many familiar faces were missing. If the Lok Sabha offers a mirror to the state of our republic, then we are entering a unipolar India, one where diversity is giving way to a saffronised polity.
In the winter of 1994 when I first moved to Delhi from Mumbai, the chance to cover Parliament was a major attraction. Entering Central Hall and gazing at the portraits of our founding fathers was motivating. Listening to speakers like George Fernandes, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Somnath Chatterjee enthused me. This was, after all, the crucible of Indian democracy. Almost a quarter of a century later, I am pained to report that every romantic illusion one had woven around Parliament has been dashed.