The results of the recently held assembly elections to 5 states – UP, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur & Goa – have come today. Of these UP was the most crucial for various reasons. UP is one of the biggest states in India, which has always played the decisive role in the election of the Prime Minister. It elected Mr. Narendra Modi from Varanasi in 2014 parliamentary elections and prepared the ground for his election as the Prime Minister of India. Ironically, the state government was of the opposition Samajwadi Party, led by Akhilesh Yadav, son of the party’s national president and former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP). The party had the support of the Muslim voters in the state in the name of secularism.
All political parties and leaders have proved the slogan of secularism hollow in the last 50 years. The disenchantment of the voter with superficial slogans like secularism, secular forces, communalism or communal forces had been eagerly looking for a trustworthy alternative leadership which could provide a fair, transparent and good government.
When Narendra Modi promised to take the country on the path of development with the promise of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, the people of UP as the rest of India, took his promise worth trying. His party, the BJP, was given a clear mandate to deliver on the promise. In the 33+ months since his election in May 2014, he has delivered more than promised, which has benefited all sections of the society irrespective caste, community, religion, region, language or gender markings.
That is what he meant by Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas. India has witnessed so much achievement in so many spheres in such a short time that the voter trust in Modi’s capability and commitment has strengthened in their mind. The opposition (Congress, SP, CPI, CPM, RJD, JDU and sundry others) kept on anti Modi propaganda they began when he successfully navigated the Gujarat government for about 12 years till yesterday!
The voter rejected their propaganda and stood firmly behind Modi.
In my book titled “Narendra Modi: Changing Direction of the Wind And Challenges Ahead” available on Amazon, I had written about the reasons for support to Modi across caste & community lines in 2014 (Chapter 6 – India Elects & Delivers Stable Government) as follows:
“India has truly arrived in this election 2014. It is India that has voted this time. It is India that has delivered to itself a strong leadership and a stable government. It is the India that divisive and fissiparous forces in politics never allowed to unify and integrate the nation. They sold a divided view of India–divided into communities (majority or minority) or caste. They are known to have perfected the British policy of “Divide & Rule”. India across castes, communities, gender, region, language or any other such consideration has elected after decades its national government. And this is a very big achievement. This is a crushing defeat delivered to the anti-national, anti-people forces. It is India’s victory. It is India. It is the India of the knowledge society. It is the unified and integrated country. It is the people’s freedom from the strangulating grip of ugly vote bank politics that has kept them subservient to political contractors & traders, who used them as fodder for civil tensions in the country all these years. Their trust has to be maintained and made an example for a great nation like India.”
That assessment of mine has proved to be correct. In the UP assembly polls, the cooperation and trust of the masses across all makings of caste/community for Prime Minister Modi has only grown. That is how the result has to be decoded. The result has foxed political parties, leaders, journalists, television geniuses, commentators, editors, social media users, election buyers and heavily invested foreign forces.
The biggest loss to these foreign forces was in UP and Punjab and Goa.
The results are going to determine the direction of politics in India in the next few years, particularly the election of the President of India due in coming July and parliamentary polls 2019. As the title of my book highlights, it is more important that Narendra Modi has successfully changed the direction of the political wind in India.
The results of these elections approve the change in the direction of politics, democracy, government, development, economy, public service, transparency, security, foreign policy and leadership goals. Modi has established the view that Indians can Trust Their Prime Minister.
First, the win in UP will strengthen the Prime Minister’s hands greatly. He will have a decisive say, without unethical bargaining for votes for the election of the next President of India.
Second, the composition of the Rajya Sabha will change favourably for him, which means the parliament will function smoothly in both Houses of Parliament (Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha).
Third, the contractors of communal politicking will suffer externment from UP.
Fourth, sham secularism will give way to greater fraternity among different sections of society. One Sartaj has finished all the legions of sham secularism in UP when he categorically kept the nation over a traitor, even though the young man was his son. It silenced all elements looking for cashing on such incidents spewing communal venom in no time.
Fifth, this election will energize the much needed process of national integration and unity over the deplorable politics of divide and rule.
Sixth, it will unleash the power of the productive India, chained so far by corrupt governments which hindered industry and businesses, blocking delivery of government services and made UP the Ulta Pradesh (upended province) as nothing was done as contained in the law. It had substituted the Rule of Law by the Rule of Man. No more of it- the voters have said.
And it is a good sign. Because others indulging in similar behavior or thinking of following them would now be deterred.
This new UP will set new standards which will be emulated by other states in the next few years. Incomes are set to rise to such level that people will be careful before using poor or poverty as freely as now. That is on the strength of the great economic potential that is UP.
It deserves the best leadership – a leader as hard working, honest and sincere as the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It will be a test for the most talented among the elected members of the assembly.
The verdict of the voters of Punjab is admirable. They have saved the state from another spell of militancy of the decade of the 1980s. Amrinder Singh alone could have shouldered that responsibility at this critical juncture. The voters exercised their mind with great responsibility.
Punjab is one of the border states of India and the ISI of Pakistan has invested very heavily in capturing it through the ballot by promoting an irresponsible bunch of fellows to deliver it to them.
The paid media even predicted their victory in the exit polls. But the Punjab voter rejected them.
The Akali Dal under Badal took them for granted for ever, mixed business with politics and lost power, creating the right climate for ISI of Pakistan to take advantage of the situation.
The BJP of the Prime Minister never had majority of its own in Punjab and was only the junior partner of the Badal led Akali Dal coalition. They had no popular or dependable chief ministerial face for Punjab. So they were not even in the reckoning.
Amrinder Singh is a known face in Punjab. He is former Chief Minister of Punjab and has a spotless reputation. He is the scion of the former Royal Family of Patiala and unlike others in his party, is not petty minded. The people of Punjab have entrusted him the reins of power in the state, which should not be mistaken for a vote for the Congress even for a moment.
The High Command (euphemism for Sonia/Rahul/Priyanka) in Delhi should not interfere in the functioning of the Amrinder singh government in Punjab.
Since it is asking too much of the high command, which is easily overwhelmed by courtiers and conspirators (men & women), the people of Punjab have kept the power in their own hands, in case the Captain, as Amrinder Singh is called, is commandeered to toe the diktats of the high command.
They have elected enough number of guards to watch the Captain. The AAP members in the assembly and the state and Delhi, are always ready to fire at anybody in the name of corruption, real or imaginary. They have invested heavily in Punjab and lost it all, which has frustrated them to such an extent that they will not allow the Captain even a goodnight’s sleep. They will keep the government on tenterhooks and the people will get a government a shade better than the Badal government.
Elections in Goa are a warning for the BJP, which snatched its popular chief minister and brought him to the center. The party will need to develop local leadership to guard another sensitive border state.
It should pay greater attention to small states and nurture potential leadership in Goa as also Delhi.
It made a huge tactical mistake in Delhi by ignoring the claims of the existing leadership, which nursed the Party in Delhi with their blood and sweat and had capable leaders, who were ignored. It is making another mistake by banking on petty parochialism. In adopting deplorable politics of parochialism, communalism or corruption, it can’t beat its rivals, who possess decades of valuable experience in these games. Its advantage remains ethics, honesty, transparency and public service.
Delhi and Goa are important from strategic point of view. The ugly spat of an anarchist outfit with central government is leading to wastage of tax payers’ money and mal-governance of the city government. Fortunately, the Goa voter has also rejected them, in spite of the media created tsunami in their favour.
Goa, Delhi, Punjab, UP, Uttarakhand and Manipur are so important from all angles of governance that they rightly deserve healthy and strong government functioning according to the directives of the constitution in the letter and spirit rather than in its violation.
In Manipur, change was overdue. The entire north east of India has a genuine grievance of too much neglect for too long.
The government of India has an obligation to the people in that part of the country to accelerate development in the region. As it is, even all India service officers avoid serving faithfully the people.
Lack of development in states like Manipur has given rise to insurgency, which is always born of backwardness, poverty, lack of education, employment, livelihood and consequential poverty.
If the appeal of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reached these distant lands, it is a testimony to his leadership qualities which have apparently impressed the people far and wide.
It needs to be observed as to what kind of “Leadership” qualities the people of India look for. My book “Narendra Modi: Changing Direction of the Wind And Challenges Ahead“ gives vivid account of the leadership qualities required in an Indian national or regional Leader. It will help all those interested in understanding the Indian political developments and the leadership of Narendra Modi better. Superficial approach to elections in India like outsourcing or employing so called strategists or buying the media are likely to fail before, during and after the elections. India is a highly complex political country covered in confounding simplicity. It is one of the few living ancient civilizations in the world and should be treated with some care. The Leadership role here is different from elsewhere. We make an attempt to understand it a bit in the following paragraphs.
Basically, Indian masses are terribly Marxist in spirit. They have no interest in who rules them. But such indifference comes with a few riders. These riders are the qualities of the ruler. And they are very stringent. Here even the last man or the last woman in the ladder can publicly question the ruler and seek explanation for his actions. Ordinarily, it is difficult to fulfill these demands. Rarely a person qualifies to be entrusted the reins of the state. The reason is that such a person is a rare individual. Take the first requirement: s/he should be a person of the highest moral caliber.
Most power seekers can get impeded at this point itself. Human beings suffer frailties due to weaknesses of the flesh or acquisitions. A strict moral code of personal life style is not normal in a world of inequitable distribution of assets and liabilities. In that case, the person(s) pursuing a path of moral living becomes an ascetic of sorts and soon attracts epithets of a saint (or Rishi/Muni/Tapaswavi).
Then the ruler is expected to be honest to the core and should never misuse the rajkosh (treasury) for his personal use, misuse power for personal financial gain or allow his family members to do so.
It is difficult to control family members for a ruler. Beside the real family members, crooks can always fleece the system or public by posing as the family member. How many family persons can pass muster on this stringent measure?
Does it mean the ruler should be a non-family person- to be specific, an unmarried person?
The people say nothing; it could be a married person only if he can protect his reputation and public interest. Unmarried rulers seem to score over married persons. It demands Tyag or sacrifice, which is the opposite of accumulations or Sangrah. If a ruler gets nothing in return for his services, why should he wear the burden of the crown?
Answer to this question depends on the expectations of the person aspiring to be the ruler, whether his goal is power, pelf and wealth or love & respect of the masses.
It is an essential condition of a ruler to be ready to give up everything to the country without expecting any rewards at all.
Such Leadership props up at the opportune time to take on the responsibility of a ruler. Actually, it is a people’s “Servant” and not a “Ruler”. That is the meaning of minimum government. The people of India don’t want a government that hoots around its presence 24×7. Here the ruler and the ruled are equal. Where else in the world does one get another example of Marxian dream of society without a government?
While Indians demand a very strict regimen from its ruler, they are least bothered about who becomes the ruler (Koyi nrup hoye hamein kaa haani which means it harms me not whoever may become the ruler). But this apparent indifference is subject to the unspoken requirements. It only means the contestants make no difference so long as they demonstrate the required qualifications.
It is human weakness to accumulate first and give in charity later. The Indian ethics does not view such charity kindly. The reason for it is that incomes are to be shared and equitably distributed rather than accumulated for the benefit of one person or his progeny. Wealth is only a means to good living but no end in itself (it is called Maya or illusion).
The wealth creators are in trusteeship relationship with the people as regards assets, as Mahatma Gandhi had emphasized. Anybody who takes only as much as he needs and shares the rest with others can qualify this test. In the case of UP and Punjab, the ruling leaders suffered on ground of accumulation of enormous movable and liquid assets.
That brings us to another requirement: honesty. Indian mind demands honesty in matters of finance, public commitments, policy and goals. Democracy’s biggest drawback is that elections turn even the most honest person into a dishonest one. Even in such a precarious situation, honest accounting of the donations received and expenditure made can establish comparative levels of honesty. The people are better judges of inter se honesty.
The honest speak with firmness while the dishonest advance excuses through which the people can easily see.
The Indian mind places great value on firmness, determination and boldness. It makes a strong leader. Decision making demands great understanding of the pros and cons of everything. Populist decisions can win votes for a leader but only well thought well considered decisions alone make for correct decisions. Decisions can bring happiness to some and misery to others. While populist decisions hardly are sustainable, even painful but well thought decisions get people’s approval and endure electoral battles.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation of high value Indian currency notes of rupees 500 & 1000 on 8th November 2016. It got public support, but the Congress Party, CPI, CPM, RJD, TMC and others criticized it. They attacked the PM day in and day out. They were joined by some international rating agencies and IMF kind agencies, painting a gloomy picture of economic growth in the country. How wrong they are and how wise the Indian electorate is, has been proved beyond an iota of doubt by results of the elections in the states where demonetisation was the major issue in elections.
In criticizing the Prime Minister personally, politicians forgot even minimum courtesies and fell to deplorably low level of public discourse. The united opposition succeeded only in paralyzing the parliamentary working but failed to hoodwink the people, whose verdict the opposition had converted into a referendum on demonetisation. In the referendum the Congress, SP, RJD, TMC, CPI, CPM and their allies were defeated; they failed and Modi passed!
Because the people were with him, they trusted him and they understood the pain of opposition which had accumulated huge assets through corrupt means and methods. Corruption has debased democratic governance in the country. It is one of the prime drawbacks of democracy that it has created a few classes of people and entities, who have over exploited the system for their own benefit and helped corruption to grow enormously.
The press and electronic media is one of them- instead of fulfilling its responsibilities as the Fourth Pillar of Democracy, it has become the foot soldier of the corrupt regimes abusing the trust of the masses in the intellectual class. They have emerged worse than the ambulance chasing lawyers, misconstruing facts and misreporting information, extracting their fee for advocating untruth and post-truth and turning the profession into paid lobbying or advocacy.
These guards of democracy have turned out to be smarter than the corrupt politicians but the people have proved to be smarter. Today, whether in America or France or India, the people have discarded newspapers & TV channels along with their columnists, reporters, journalists, editors, anchors and hosts. Universal education has empowered the people to make their own judgment instead of getting fooled by the Fourth Estate (read Fourth Empire).
Indians don’t expect the leader to get them the moon. Yet they want their leader to spell out in concrete terms his mission and vision for the next few years (one or two tenures of 5 years each). States like UP have suffered too long from foul governance and consequential corruption. The roadmap laid down by the BJP under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to strike the much needed harmony in the functioning of the state and central governments. The results will be visible from tomorrow when the first cabinet meeting takes place. The development agenda is ready and known to the people.
Its implementation is the personal responsibility of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
Fortunately, the BJP has groomed several high quality leaders in the recent past to fill the vacuum of required first rate leadership. Inspired by the functioning of the Prime Minister, the party functionaries are learning the ropes.
The maximum drag on Narendra Modi was coming from UP leaders, who made public statements instantly making the breaking news for the media. They have learnt their lessons and fallen in line and followed the rules of democratic discipline, which is a good sign.
It gives hope for faithful implementation of the laid down roadmap for development with full devotion, dedication and sincerity. These were some of the challenges before Narendra Modi to which I had referred in my book, particularly its title.
The next 5 years are going to change everything in India.