The speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the newly elected party President Amit Shah at the BJP National Council meet in Delhi on 9th August 2014 were heard with rapt attention by political analysts and commentators. Soon after, analysis of the direction of the new government was sought to be culled out. Since the installation of the Narendra Modi Government 2 months ago, the news industry in India has been suffering a terrible drought situation. The TV channels, dictating and dominating the government earlier fell on bad days after the installation of the Modi government some 75 days ago. Now they are taking only longer commercial breaks and telecasting insignificant news ad nauseam. It was expected that Modi would at least provide something to talk today, but unfortunately he has disappointed them.
Whether by choice or otherwise, the first big opportunity was wasted, because the leaders reverted back to the pre-election jargon. The issues at that time, like the appeasement or vote bank politics, were relevant because the enlightened voter of India could discern the real face of the politicians of the country, who were treading the most dangerous policy of divide and rule, which the people had long concluded as the root cause of poverty and backwardness. Since Modi had sincerely served the people in Gujarat and contributed to prosperity of the people across the board without any discrimination as Chief Minister, he was accepted by the people of India to be worthy of their trust. The mandate of the people has stunned all political parties including the BJP, political analysts and foreign powers alike. The Congress party has not been able to analyze even after two months as to what had caused it such shameful defeat, which has rendered it ineligible for even the position of the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha. Similarly, the BJP has not yet stopped wondering at its success, winning a complete majority on its own. It was expected today that the party would come up with a convincing analysis of the contributory factors leading to its victory. Alas! It only repeated its earlier exclamation! Had the party done that kind of analysis, it would have prepared a roadmap of greater value than falling back upon the pre-election rhetoric. I have a feeling that Prime Minister Modi is conscious of it but cannot voice it, for that is bound to upset the apple cart. He is experiencing the lift and the drag – the lift has been provided not so much by the electoral success alone but more by his personal conduct, policies and long tapasya. The drag, however, is the old party agenda and leadership at the local level, which is desperate to implement it.
There is an open conflict between the national and the local perspective between the two. It is going to affect the flight of Modi on its path to meet the national requirement. He had asked the people 60 months’ time to deliver on his promises, he is left with 56.5 months! He will find it almost impossible to educate his local leaders across the different regions of the country and also implement his national agenda, because of the existing gap in education of the two levels. The local leaders have suffered discrimination and harassment at the hands of other ruling outfits and can hardly be expected to have the stomach to suffer anymore now when they have achieved historic success for the party. Unless the party meets their aspirations intelligently and also pursue national issues with the greatest sense of responsibility, it will land in a soup that even its opponents have not cooked for them. Surprisingly, the Modi team has given ample proof of a very mature leadership in the party if the impressive performance of its ministers in the parliament during the discussions on the budget is any indication. That is reassuring, because everybody was dismissive or contemptuous of their capability before the elections. Even half educated TV anchors used to misbehave by their harsh words, expressions, gestures and abominable interruptions. Some of these used to be so uncivil as to deliver long spiel before giving them the chance to answer and abruptly take a break even before they had spoken a single sentence.
The Opposition Parties will do their best to de-rail the Modi government. They are highly skilled at creating anarchy and disturb law & order in the country. Modi’s victory was the biggest defeat that the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, had suffered. The ISI is the most successful intelligence agency operating in India because it has a demographic edge over Indian police. In spite of the ISI, how could the BJP secure such a majority? The ISI was required to answer that question. It demanded answers from its “sleeper cells” and politicians operating as “secular”and liberally funded by the ISI. Since the effect of the shock delivered to all parties and others in the election still lingers on, they are under pressure to show results. In a hurry to show visible results, they started doing what they are skilled best for: riots in Muzzafarnagar. They do not think beyond riots!
Before the opposition succeeds in devising new programmes to put vighna (obstacles), Modi should launch a new line of issues of public welfare covering all segments of the population. Such creative programmes will help moderate attitudes and deliver public service in a visible fashion. The agitation in the name of the CSAT is only an example of what the inimical forces are capable of doing. I have no hesitation in saying that content and format of such examinations can only be decided by experts and not by parliamentarians. Under no circumstances should Modi get himself ensnared by the language controversy, which for the moment appears to be so simple, and which the opposition is stoking in a planned manner, making full use of the zealots in the BJP. Let me take the risk of warning the government that it will not be able to handle the situation once it develops into the full blown riots the country had witnessed in the past. There are any number of such controversial issues that the previous governments had chosen to play down, not for any other reason but political wisdom alone, which will be raked up by vested interests and Modi will have to deftly deflect them rather than permitting them to act as a drag on his flight to deliver on his commitments to the voters.
Imaginative programmes for job creation will need to be thought out. If Information Technology has succeeded in creating millions of jobs, so can new imaginative programmes do. It is not manufacturing alone that the government should be focusing currently but the services sector too, which could generate quality jobs for the well trained youth. It will require between 12 to 36 months to train such youth and Modi still has 57+ months at his disposal. So before he goes to the next election he would have already provided the youth respectable, quality and well-paying jobs. Nothing impresses like the palpable results.
The government has to start thinking big. It has to dream big. It has to learn from the predecessors but also to rise much above them. It is alright to invoke party icons. But it is equally necessary to weigh them against other local, national and global icons. The trends thus identified render future roadmaps to any visionary leadership. There is no time to clean the mess of the past- it is bound to accumulate again. The need of the hour is to draw action plans and implement them. Public sector banks are very unfriendly towards students, who might turn out to be national or international genius later, or an educated young entrepreneur. Can any bank, including the Small Industry Development Bank, sanction loans or overdraft to an MBA/IIT product who wants to start his own e-commerce venture? No, because the rules don’t permit it. When will the rules be modified? After the opportunity is lost forever (if Ratan Tata has shown interest in this new line, shouldn’t the banks have taken the initiative much earlier?). But our thinking remains the old vintage Licence Raj time, which was jolted by Rajiv Gandhi in 1985 when he de-licenced more than 40% of the industries included in the schedule to the Industries (Regulation & Development) Act 1951. Forward looking leadership alone can bring about the desired change.
Modi was royally ignored by the English speaking elite. One politician went so low as to recall his humble beginnings as a small tea vendor (chaiwallah) in the railway compartments. Another had no shame in calling him Hitler. Several others mocked his success as Chief Minister of Gujarat. A Congress fellow during the elections spoke of mincing him and feeding the eagles and crows. The Congress President betrayed lack of even barest sense of decency when she called him the merchant of death. A fellow Chief Minister ridiculed him for his lack of knowledge of history. The list is endless. But Modi ignored all of them. He showed enviable magnanimity, depth, profundity and maturity. He pursued his agenda in the party and came for attack from within. He succeeded and was declared the PM nominee by the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party). He entered the electoral battle. He emerged victorious stunning everyone. So people started asking questions: who is Modi? What kind of a person is he? Books don’t take long to reach the stands on such occasions. Articles and debates came in large numbers. Interestingly the old English speaking elite found it difficult to change their views and continued with their obduracy crediting the victory to false promises. The new ones showed neutrality and gave their own analysis. Still the inquisitive want to know more about him.
Those with a positive mindset would observe that Modi has made great sacrifices in the typical Indian tradition of renouncing personal interests in the interests of the nation. We are taught in early childhood to sacrifice personal interests if the family interests so demand and sacrifice the family interests if the village welfare so demands and further sacrifice the village interests if the country’s interests so demand and if need be , also sacrifice the country’s interests if the interest of the human society so need . He was married in early childhood and could have set up home, procreate and live a life of comfort. He didn’t. He has not disclosed anything about it but he could not have achieved it without the overt sanction of his wife in the typical Indian tradition where the wife agrees to the husband taking any vow for the service of the country. He has since conducted himself well without any blemish on his character, though the most characterless politicians had tried unsuccessfully to tarnish him. Truth is always stronger than untruth! Modi has lived his life like a tapasvi, which is a great achievement. Indian people have special love for tapasvis. His opponents in the last election had the historic distinction of scams of 70000 crores, 176000 crores, 186000 crores and many more revealed in the audit reports of the constitutional authority, the C&AG of India. Can his opponents face such a tapasvi? Besides Modi is flexible, open minded, developmental administrator, grassroots worker, organizer of the highest caliber, result oriented person and above all a Gujarati. What is a Gujarati? It is the same as the English for the European. Now he is also the darling of the masses too.
Time now for him to deliver. The lift he has got comes to a person only once in life when the wheel of fortune turns. As I had written in my earlier posts on this website, it is the turning point in India’s democratic history. It is intervention by the providence. Had it not happened at this juncture, our very sovereign existence would have come under threat due to governance paralysis, corruption and crime. Modi may not have talented people in large numbers to implement his programmes because the BJP did not offer any charm to them and the Congress enticed them easily. But there is no dearth of talent, experience and integrity. He has to devise methods of inviting them to join his team because they may be hesitant for several reasons. But he will get whole hearted support for all his people friendly programmes. It is now for Modi to eliminate the drag and make the best use of the lift. He is conscious of upgrading the workers. He does not speak without purpose. He asked his party workers to prepare 200 PMs for every booth, punning calculatedly to drive the message to measure upto the requirements of the Prime Minister of the party, clarifying that PM meant primary member in this context!