Last month by-elections to some state assemblies were held. In Bihar elections were held for 10 seats. The decimated opposition comprising sworn enemies for decades like the JD(U) of Nitish Kumar, RLD of Lalu Yadav and Congress of Sonia Gandhi sewed up an electoral alliance to check the BJP. These parties have been accusing each other of corruption, lawlessness, communalism, vote bank politics, dynastic rule and anti-poor policies. They failed to cobble up such an alliance for the general election to the parliament of India only 3 months ago. It would be quite instructive to examine why it didn’t work only 3 months ago, but I will do so at another time. Presently the dislike of these parties for each other has created a peculiar situation in the lower house of parliament as no political party is prepared to occupy a seat next to the Congress Party in the Lok Sabha! Only till six month ago they were seeking appointment with the congress party president Sonia Gandhi. As the congress has suffered a humiliating defeat in the general election, it is shunned as an ill omen by every political party, including those allying with it in by elections in Bihar. The Congress has begged for the post of LoP (Leader of opposition), which has been denied to it on grounds of having less than 10% MPs of the total membership of the House. The alliance has got 6 MLAs and the BJP 4 in the by elections. It is this success that is being brandished as an effective way to check the rise of the BJP. Any claim to such a success could have been valid had the opposition bagged all the 10 seats. It failed, and there is a lesson for it. They have attempted to push Bihar back to the days of lawlessness, crime and mal-governance. They will not succeed in these plans as India of 2014 is preparing to face the challenges of next decade and Bihar has more contributors to development than those bent upon stalling it. Once the people see the Narendra Modi led government perform as promised, alliances of the Bihar assembly by-election kind or those being nurtured by Mamata Banerjee kind in west Bengal will simply disappear even before they surface in the next general elections.
Does the above explain satisfactorily the loss of six seats in Bihar and others in a few other states? No, it doesn’t. But that does not mean that the BJP/NDA/Modi have lost the confidence of the people or the opposition has won it back. While it is possible for Modi and the BJP to lose the people’s trust, it is impossible for the opposition to win it and form the government at the centre in the next 10 years. The loss of the BJP and gain of the opposition is due to only one factor: Modi’s smart way of imposing certain amount of discipline on his followers, whom I have termed Modi’s drag in my post earlier. I have always maintained that the success of the BJP or the NDA is solely because of the man and leader called Narendra Modi- all others being very valuable contributors to his victory. Modi’s agenda is different from that of the BJP. It is in the interest of the BJP to understand that the victory was not for its ideology, much less its agenda. The BJP has to grow into a “ruling party” from being a mere “opposition party”. It has to learn fast, as fast as Narendra Modi,that India is a diverse and complex country, which has suffered for centuries from foreign rule. India is as ill prepared to face the challenges of the world today as it was when it was first subjugated. India’s strength today lies only in a united and strongly integrated nation. The BJP has to learn quickly to acknowledge, appreciate, assimilate and internalize these perspectives of the national policy, unless it has already decided to pull the rug from under the feet of Narendra Modi, whose stunning rise and success has made many in the party more jealous than in the Opposition Congress party, Rashtriya Janata Dal or the Janta Dal (United). The disappointing performance of the party in the state by elections is entirely due to highly irresponsible statements of the RSS leadership, BJP leaders and party functionaries, who all started speaking as it came to them. They are all terribly superficial. They have not shown even the patience to wait for the government to act before they launched into their personal or organizational agenda.
The opposition (the Treasury Benches till before the last general election) had always painted the BJP as a communal party or one that is far removed from the modern world. They have enjoyed power for almost 6 decades on the strength of their success in reining the BJP in the name of communalism. It goes to the credit of Modi that he demolished the opposition’s attack on his party in the name of communalism or backwardness. The smart mix of high moral ideals and pragmatism of Modi has delivered such a stunning defeat to the Congress Party and all other political parties that they don’t know what to do now. The Bihar Assembly by-polls have acted like the proverbial straw for the drowning man. But Modi has proved smarter than his opponents: he has chastised and disciplined his “drag” without even saying a word or spending a penny. But for this success of Modi in imparting practical training to his followers, such by-elections mean nothing more, for this has been the trend in all such by-elections, for various reasons such as the disgruntled party men themselves working against the official candidates etc.
The opposition has been indulging in hate speeches against Modi, bringing the standards of public discourses so low that even the ordinary people started ridiculing them. One reason for the decimation of the political parties in the general election was this low level of public discourse. The political parties were unethically supported openly by journalists, editors and media houses. There are media tycoons in India who have thrived and prospered by acting as the financer of the ruling party. They were notoriously famous for their sustained propaganda and hate mongering against Narendra Modi personally for several years, but more so after his nomination as the BJP’s nominee for the post of the Prime Minister of India. Modi’s victory has impacted their business- their huge black money operations. Under the cloak of media houses, they have shielded the criminals and proceeds of crime through avuncular treatment extended to such elements for all these years. These media moguls have refused to “recognize” Narendra Modi/BJP/NDA as the legitimate government, as if their recognition means much or carries any legal sanction. But they continue to enjoy the privilege of the Fourth Estate, which they have abused by showing indifference initially, followed by silly editorials which read no more than advertorials from a trainee journalist to sponsored rumours of differences in the cabinet and thereafter articles published in the name of “senior Journalist” (what is this senior/junior in journalism? Such terms are appropriate for clerks in office “senior clerk/junior clerk”). Since Narendra Modi has maintained a huge gap between his leadership qualities and those of his opponents, he has remained unharmed so far, the by-election results notwithstanding. He has already put the news industry through the severest drought as written by me earlier. What is currently being witnessed is the mischief mongering- inventing divisive missives and dropping them as news bombs, e.g. differences in the cabinet, Modi concentrates all powers, ministers being watched , Big Brother syndrome and anything else that our learned journos pick up from foreign writers. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reduced them to insignificance he can pursue his good governance agenda without allowing these people to distract him, but only so long he maintains the extant high moral standards in public life. I need emphasize that the change of government at 9 states in 1967 , change at the centre in 1977 when the Janata Party replaced the Congress after the black Emergency, and others between 1989 through 2004 were short lived or fragile alliances and hence, had to go midterm or after one term. It is for the first time that Narendra Modi has been entrusted by the people of India the reigns of the Union Government with a decisive majority that will take it through successfully for the full term. Such a mandate cannot be allowed to be undone by Modi’s “drag”. Modi has the spark that the people of India have been looking for decades after the death of Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shashtri. The New York Times has reportedly written a silly piece calling Modi a “cipher”. It is only apt for me to assess Modi from the point of view of management and leadership and I have nothing better to frame him in the words of the great treatise on this subject, the Gita, and I put it this way:
Kshetra, Kshetragya, Kurukshetra, Dharmakshetra
Modi is neither Hitler nor Mussolini nor Stalin nor any other such being that Modi haters might imagine. In fact, all these leaders would have failed miserably had they been born in India, for they would have been greeted by gangs stronger than Modi haters. If Modi has to be deciphered, he has to be subjected to Indian idiom and style of governing. Modi so far has been a “Nayak”. He is leading by example. He is not exploiting his success for personal aggrandizement. He is in the service of the people. His priority is the underserved sections of the country. He has a vision to take the country to great heights and prosperity, integrity and unity, fraternity and affection, and a strong sovereign nation that inspires the respect of the members of the comity of nations. To understand his being thoroughly, a few hours are required to be spent on the four words mentioned. Dynamism is a constant in India whether one subscribes to it or tries to maintain indifference. Conflicts at several levels are a sign of a vibrant society like India and managing them successfully a sign of good governance. Life in India is a greater conflict than other geographies and that is why it is Mahabharat. In the Mahabharat we are focused on Lord Krishna and his disciple Arjun more than the best man among the Pandava group: Dharmaraj Yudhisthar. He is the one who answered satisfactorily all the complex questions asked of him by Yaksha. He is the King. His opponent is none other than Dhritarastra- his uncle. The war is between the two groups, one standing for the ethical governance or dharmarajya and the other simply power to govern. One is in the Dharmakhetra, while the other is in the Kurukshetra. All others are individually in their own kshetra (physical being, that is the arena of all human activity, good or bad, ethical or demonic) and everyone has someone to guide in the form of the kshetragya (conscience/soul/God). It looks like Prime Minister Narendra Modi is inspired by Dharmaraj Yudhister, for Dharmarajya is the only way of governing India. It is the fabled Ram Rajya.
Dushashan or mal-governance is gone. Nobody calls the government corrupt. The progress made by the government in a short span of 3 months has been reassuring. Prices have been tackled and the market dare not blackmail the consumers anymore. There are structural improvements that are underway and might become visible in due course. People are hopeful, and that is the best thing. The beginning of good days is becoming real day by day as good governance marches ahead. The opposition must learn to be responsible. As the BJP has to learn to grow into the ruling party, so has the congress to learn to be the opposition party. It should not enter into unholy alliances, unless it has no value for the great legacy.