Narendra Modi is in the news for the last two days for various reasons after his nomination as the candidate of the BJP for the position of the Prime Minister of India in the next General Elections. So why are people excited, agitated or neurotic? There are several reasons that have not been highlighted by the media, especially the dominant English channels. The journalists of these channels have often claimed to be secular, progressive and independent. These are some of the pet words that have been successfully exploited for more than 60 years by the elite class in India, who have thrived in politics and media like the Upper Castes in the socio-economic and power structure in the Indian society for centuries. How much progressive or regressive, secular or fundamentalist, independent or embedded they are, is not hidden from the eyes of the people of India, who are neither poor nor uneducated as they were 60 years ago. While the disadvantaged and disempowered groups of the population have progressed to a level where they can analyze issues for themselves, the media has refused to yield space to them. They disappoint by presenting political, social or economic issues in a coloured manner. If they are out to damage the reputation and prospects of Narendra Modi, they are doing only what they are best at. Even if it were another person, the media would have been no less harsh, though the rhetoric would have been slightly different to suit the individual’s personality as with any leader from the farming community or labour class.
Modi’s critics are hiding behind words like “divisive>, “polarization”, “communal” etc. Let us subject these three words to a bit of critical analysis. Have the political parties professing secularism already not divided society in to communal and caste enclaves? Have they not made it an almost a permanent divide? Are they thinking of further division of India, the Second Partition of India? Are they blind to the consequences of the divisive politics that had cut India in to 2 and the country lost its territory to the rabidly communal forces, who rather than becoming satisfied and friendly have turned in to the worst enemy of India, bleeding the country by the day ? Are these politicians not playing a dangerous game in the name of secularism by promoting fundamentalist forces? Why are they talking all the time Hindu-Muslim? Why don’t they talk of Indians? Why do they forget the Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and all other religious groups while talking of secularism? Why don’t they blame the forces that cut India in to two parts? Will these politicians agree for another partition? If India suffers the consequences of divisive politics, it will not be because of Narendra Modi but because of those politicians, who were party to the first partition of India and who are taking India to another partition.
What the country is looking for in any new leader is his capability to create a genuine communal harmony and fraternity among all sections of India. The real polarizing politicians and their parties fear the emergence of such a leadership in the country. They know that Narendra Modi has that capacity to promote harmony and unity, and that is what these political parties and their leaders fear the most. In spite of their sustained vilification campaign against Narendra Modi for more than a decade, Gujarat has been free from any communal riots, whereas there have been more than a hundred under the rule of the political parties shouting the loudest the Mantra of Secularism! If Narendra Modi succeeds in forging that kind of unity at the all India level, all such politicians and their parties will cease to be relevant in the country. Whether Narendra Modi or another leader achieves this goal, the results will be the same for these parties. The self proclaimed “protectors of the minorities” forget that it is India 2013 and not 1947. The minorities, a euphemism for only the Muslim community in India excepting Jammu & Kashmir, are so learned, rich, powerful and superior that these politicians fear them to the extent of keeping them away from the spotlight in politics or the media. For them donning a muslim cap or Kafia in the company of one religious leader (they fear even a group of 100 or 300 of such faces) and mouthing reservation or secularism in public is service to the community! They are charged with appeasement and playing vote bank politics. They forget that the Muslim community does not survive on their charity or mercies but on their own intelligence, hard work and contribution to the development in all walks of life. Highlighting such achievements of the Indian Muslims is heresy for the players of the secular politics in India. Even the much talked about Sachar Committee ignored to record and report these aspects. It is nothing more than contempt for a sizable section of the population. Who polarized? Who divided? Who is still pursuing these nefarious designs? The Muslim intellectuals must give these forces a cultured response, different from the kind their protégés have been giving to keep the society divided and polarized to serve their vested interests.
Narendra Modi or any other leader will encounter resistance from these well entrenched politicians, who change their views and parties more often when it suits them. If Modi succeeds in making it to the prime minister, he will need to change and adapt faster than he has so far given evidence. One thing should be clear to every politician in India that there is not going to be another exchange of population ever again. It means all have to live in harmony. This will be possible if all sections of the society take active part in forging that kind of unity. People have changed, politicians have changed, political parties have changed and political ideologies have changed. It has taken more than 50 years for politicians to understand Mahatma Gandhi and adopt his ideology for peace, harmony and development of the country; it will not take much time for Narendra Modi or another leader to rise above communal or caste considerations. The hyped Atal Bihari Vajpayee evolved from a Jansanghi to a Janata Party politician after working and learning the ropes as the Minister for Foreign Affairs. L.K.Advani, under the influence of the fake secularists, eulogized Jinnah , miscalculating it to yield rich dividends in the form of support of the Muslim community. It never happened. In the process, he has lost so much on 13th September 2013 that he will not have time even to regret it. He should have instead ensured that the emerging leadership of the party learnt the lessons in good governance, giving them the benefit of his experience as the Home Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister for full 5 years. Instead Advani chose to make public his frustration with the working of the party, forgetting that Vajpayee kept Advani in check so that he did not grow in stature to challenge his leadership.
There is another angle to Narendra Modi’s bad press and livid TV channels: it is taking away the Delhi power centre outside the National Capital Region or NCR. Whenever Delhi is threatened by regional leadership, it reacts exactly like this. There is so much business and trade of politics in Delhi that no political party thinks of it ever shifting out of Delhi. One reason why the BJP failed to win the 2004 General Elections was its war cry against corruption. Compare the failure or success of the government in2004-2013 period with that preceding it immediately. The “personally honest” prime minister sees no corruption in scams like the CWG, Coalgate, 2G or dozen others. What level of tolerance? Had the BJP or LK Advani shown that kind of a tolerance and worked out proper “adjustment” (!!!) with corruption, they would have been ruling even now! They are again raising the hackles of the corrupt by their chorus against corruption, and they will pay for it in due course. Running a government at the centre requires millions of committed party workers of high integrity and public servants of caliber, capabilities, integrity and vision. The BJP or any other party has no such means at their disposal. You may talk against corruption to the fullest satisfaction to your heart, but can’t remove or “root out” corruption without the services of that kind of party workers and public servants. Alas! There is a famine of such people in the contemporary scenario of ubiquitous corruption. When Indira Gandhi stated that corruption was a global phenomenon, she was not wrong. Consider it: can any political party ensure recruitment of 100000 honest police personnel to run the police stations? Can any political party recruit honest officers to run the revenue, education, health, welfare and other schemes to deliver public services in a short tenure of 5 years?
The mass bribing of the voters has corrupted the whole society. The public perception is that all political parties are corrupt. Experiments of the past 10 years have not changed such a perception even though new leadership was entrusted the responsibility of governance in several states. The regional leadership has only displayed traits of autocracy, favouritism, pettiness, inequity and personal goals. They were all busy projecting themselves as the messiah of secularism, development and progressivism. The manner in which Narendra Modi has raced to the highest political position even before election results has shattered the dreams of these leaders. Why they are always issuing certificates to Vajpayee is because Vajpayee allowed them to exercise power as minister in his cabinet at the cost of the party interests, so much so that he did not allow even L.K. Advani to act as bold and independent as the allies! They were dreaming of swallowing the BJP vote bank by constantly harping on the 2002 riots in Godhara to malign Narendra Modi, turning a blind eye to their own record in engineering riots in several parts in the country or patronizing rioters for political dividends. The BJP has seen through this game and freed itself in time from the predators. These political elements failed to capitalize on L.K.Advani’s ambition for the Prime Minister’s position when the party anointed Narendra Modi ignoring the resistance from LK Advani.
There is yet another enigma hidden in these outbursts. Narendra Modi is reported to be a Chaiwallah (term of contempt from the neo-rich- through- naked- corruption political class and its acolytes), who used to work at a stall run by his brother, serving tea and snacks in Ahmedabad. Instead of celebrating it as an achievement for an ordinary Indian to rise to such wonderful heights, the neo-feudal political masters of the poor in India are calling it a shortcoming or disqualification for Narendra Modi. These rich and powerful can only visualize themselves as benefactors of the poor/minorities/women/children/scheduled castes/scheduled tribes/backward classes etc but abhor the idea of any one from these segments ever reaching the level of the Prime Minister of India. They are educated, rich and minting money as any knowledgeable person can do, but they effectively block the entry of anybody outside their own elite circle, impede his progress, frustrate his achievements, down play his qualities and over play perceived shortcomings, indulge in vilification and even work for his elimination through fair or foul means. It is not “motiveless malignity”. It is a fight, a struggle for existence, a war for the survival of the fittest. They have no qualms of conscience in approaching foreign countries to support them in their designs by material help and non-stop propaganda. The foreign policy interests of these countries match the domestic interests of the Indian politicians. A weak India is a market for ever for goods and services exported by the world’s super-powers. They protect regimes of their choosing and the illegal wealth of these corrupt politicians kept in tax havens or foreign banks. Narendra Modis challenge them, their operations and their goals. Neither the domestic nor foreign groups tolerate such leadership or political thoughts. They use the local political bombs to explode such leadership. Communalism, secularism, polarization, divisiveness, riots etc are only some of these political weapons overground but there are many more political bombs underground. It will be a daunting task for any leader to manoeuvre such dangerous traps and lead the country to a stable and strong democracy. It needs to be emphasized that Nehru is under attack from the incumbent leadership of the proponents of neo-liberalism.
Whether the voter gives the mandate to the BJP or Narendra Modi is too early to speculate about. The elections are still more than 6 months away. Any development can take place. The much talked about third front may take birth. But Modi has sharpened the competition. Now every party will have to declare its PM candidate. Whether the third front will ever be able to do that is doubtful. The Congress will shy away. The people are extremely angry with the Man Mohan Singh government, holding it responsible for unprecedented corruption, inflation, price rise, unemployment, non-working government etc. They are desperate for a change. For half the population Narendra Modi is the choice. The remaining half has enough time to think coolly. They will contribute significantly if they collaborate with any emerging leadership to forge the traditional fraternity among all communities, castes and creeds in the country. The failed leadership of the forces of institutionalized corruption needs to be voted out in the common interests of the masses. They should build inter community trust in place of the suspicions created by exploiters of the poor people. The leadership shoulders the greatest responsibility in this regard.
There should be total elimination of acts which create suspicions even remotely. We need to restore the authority of the society, which still practices values unlike the government and bureaucracy at the grass root level, over the authority of the plethora of government agencies out to harass us. Our credo is to ensure faithful implementation of the Constitutional provisions in all respects. Nothing less than that is acceptable to anyone of us. A people friendly leadership can make India a united, integrated and strong country. We have seen failed leadership in the last 10 years. We have no stomach for more. Narendra Modi should remember that. Unless the new leadership is open-minded, receptive, flexible and liberal, it will fail to win hearts. Narendra Modi has raised hopes of the people for a stable, strong, transparent, fair, just, respectable good government, which can promote national unity, integrity and development of all. In poverty we are only one community. In development too we shall be one community. A leader, who can promote people’s participation in good governance, alone can discharge the responsibilities of a good government and provide sushaashan.
Who will that leader be? Till his opponent(s) are named it is Naredra Modi.