Narendra Modi completes one more year of good governance in India on May 30, 2020 in his second term as Prime Minister.
In this one year he has corrected a great historical blunder by abrogating Article 370/35A inserted in the Constitution of India unconstitutionally and unwisely. It was such a huge strategic blunder that the country has paid a very heavy price for it. Narendra Modi’s name will be written in Golden Letters as a statesman of extra-ordinary qualities for this act of political sagacity.
Narendra Modi has devoted the year for introducing structural changes in many areas like finance, economy, agriculture.
Unfortunately, the Congress and other political parties once against lost the year in foul-mouthing the prime minister. Their vision is so short that they continued to play the political games of the last century and failed. They displayed only hatred for the prime minister personally and his admirers generally, calling them “Bhaktas”, though they only set new standards of sycophancy on a daily basis. They ridiculed patriotism liberally, spoofed corruption where there was none because they are unable to accept the reality of a transparent and honest government working in India.
The Opposition, especially the Congress Party and the Leftists, tried to develop an anti-Modi narrative in COVID-19 too. They spared no occasion to attack the Prime Minister for the lockdown and tried to incite the masses to disobey the government orders. The people rejected the opposition and supported the government wholeheartedly. During lockdown 4.0 they heightened their assault in the name of the economy, jobs and employment as workers were laid off in large numbers. Millions of the workers started moving to their native place, braving all difficulties by whatever mode of transport was available or on foot. It saddened the whole country to see the workers with their families and children undertake the journey on foot without getting food or water.
The opposition has been looking for such a scenario to validate their hate campaign against Narendra Modi and the government. However, no political party showed any love or care by serving food or water to these walking workers, whom they call “majdoor”, a word equivalent of labour but highly derogatory coming from feudal glossary of the manor born. They only used their misery to attack the government, demanding opening of transport and the economy.
They imagined that the government was caught in a bind and will never be able to extricate itself from it, at least in the next few months and by that time they will arouse enough public anger to dislodge Narendra Modi.
The misfortune of the opposition is that they are led by people who refuse to acknowledge the taller stature of Narendra Modi.
The prime minister held more than one video conference with the Chief Ministers, some of them from the opposition parties, to brief them on the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic induced medical emergency and steps needed to contain its spread in the country. Similar conferences were held with the leaders of the opposition parties. The need was to work together to fight the disease. The prime minister tried to take everyone on board but the opposition carried on as usual creating unrest in the name of the labour, though they had party workers, Youth Wings and Student Wings in every nook and corner of India and could have exhibited a bit of social responsibility, if not charity/philanthropy, by helping the needy workers traversing to their homes. This presented a very difficult situation before the government.
Left with no scope for any further sacrifice from the people affected by nearly two-month long lockdown, the Government of India decided to run special trains to ferry the workers. The flexibility shown by the government un-nerved the opposition and many state governments expressed unwillingness to allow the trains. The government also declared opening of air travel from 25th May 2020, and again many (opposition run) state governments expressed unwillingness for it. The political parties found themselves unprepared for this sudden turn of events.
Used to the jargon of communal politics played by them, the opposition lost the narrative as it became their responsibility now rather than that of the government of India or Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The work done by Narendra Modi is bound to bring a positive change in the attitude and functioning of the opposition parties in India post COVID-19. The politics overloaded style of working of these parties will change to economic and development ideology dominated approach and language. COVID-19 has taught many lessons to the world and India too. Politics in India will not be the same anymore.
States will need to develop local livelihood for their people rather than exporting them to industrially developed states. The migrant workers are not majdoor but skilled, trained and experienced hands capable of producing goods and services making valuable contribution to the economy and GDP.
The states which have driven them away in the first place to distant places for employment and now the states that have pushed them back to their native places, both will suffer unless intelligent correctives are employed to create local opportunities and labour is treated with respect for its contribution instead of pitying them and throwing crumbs at them in lieu of their labour.
The effects of COVID-19 will affect the world for many more months. Even if a drug to treat it or a vaccine is produced, the world economy will take years to recover. Added to it is the way technology is bound to reduce opportunities of employment. Reorganisation and restructuring of work as WFH will become another norm to cut expenses and AI will further cut in to prospects of employment worldwide.