Saturday, 25 January 2020

Modi can and need to be trusted, again

Updated: April 15, 2019 3:42 pm

Since day one of attaining Independence in 1947, the people’s aspirations, dreams and desires have been oscillating like a pendulum from hope and despair. Similarly, from 1977 onwards, India’s polity too has been oscillating like a pendulum from single-party stagnation to multi-party instability at different point in time.

Going by the remarkable performance of the BJP-led NDA government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the last five years and also going by the dignified conduct & exemplary behaviour of the ministers in the government, it can be safely and surely said that Modi continues to remain a point of hope for National Renaissance & Economic Transformation and can be or rather need to be trusted for another term.

The victory of the Congress party with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru at the helm of affairs immediately after attaining freedom from the political yoke of the British rule in August 1947 was a point of hope for the people; they hoped that with the end of British rule and advent of self-rule, all the problems of unemployment, economic mess etc, etc will vanish and there will be prosperity all around – the pain and agony of the partition of India and assassination of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and sudden death of Sardar Patel notwithstanding.

For near-two decades from 1947 till his death in 1964, Nehru dominated all walks of life – political, social, spiritual, religion, academics, intelligentsia, foreign affairs etc. That was a point of hope that here is a leader who we can pin our hopes for our peace and prosperity. But the humiliating defeat of India at the hands of Chinese in October 1962, growing corruption, beginning of economic mess and degeneration of moral values was a point of despair – from hope in 1947 to despair in 1964.

Lal Bahadur Shastri, who succeeded Nehru, had a very span of time and hence nothing much could be said though his tenure is remembered for rekindling the spirit of nationalism and patriotism besides giving boost to the agricultural sector; overall it was a small but significant beginning towards the arrest of degeneration. But his death at Tashkent in 1966 under mysterious circumstances was a point of despair.

Smt Indira Gandhi’s ascendence to the throne; her strategy to step out of her father’s shadow in the aftermath of India’s marvellous military victory against Pakistan over Bangladesh; her victory in 1972 elections in the flush of that victory – the pendulum oscillated from despair in 1966 to hope in 1972. However, the hopes were dashed to ground when Indira clamped emergency in 1975. The pendulum had clocked back from hope in 1972 to despair in 1975.

The victory of the Janata Party in 1977 was a point of hope but it soon crumbled under the weight of its own contradictions, more due to the ego and personality clash between the leaders – the pendulum had clocked from point of hope in 1977 to despair in 1980.

The emergence of Rajiv Gandhi in 1984 – in the aftermath of Indira’s assassination – was yet another point of hope, what with Rajiv Gandhi talking of 21century, computers etc, etc. But his alleged involvement in Bofors scandal, his government’s capitulation to the Muslim Lobby on the issue of Shah Bano case and his amateurish handling of the Sri Lankan crisis – that took his own toll – all proved to be a point of despair.

Less said the better about the regimes of V.P. Singh and Chandrashekar. But the emergency of P.V. Narasimha Rao in 1991 was a point of hope. He took some bold and drastic steps to turnaround the economy. Had he got another term, perhaps, India would have been on the path of economic super power. The defeat of the Congress in 1996 was a point of despair.

There is nothing to be written about the two rickety governments headed by H.D. Deve Gowda and I.K. Gujral.

The emergency of BJP-led NDA in 1998 under Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a point of hope. Economy started to recover; there was tremendous infrastructure development. But its unexpected and shocking defeat in 2004 – more due to over-confidenc of the minsters and cadre – was a point of despair. The BJP failed to read the meaning of the message – “the only way to ensure the destruction of an organisation is to make the leaders status-conscious and cadre comfort-loving”.  The BJP leadership turned a blind eye to this fundamental and crucial principle.  In that way, the BJP let down the people very badly by its arrogant conduct and undignified behaviour, though the government’s performance was brilliant and remarkable.

The despair of 2004 with Vajpayee’s exi was also a point of hope with Dr Manmohan Singh taking over as the Prime Minister. However, the one-decade rule of the Congress-led UPA with multiple and multi-crore scams was a point of despair.

Wholesome and comprehensive rejection of the Congress – 44 seats in the house of 542 – and Narendra Modi’s ascendence to power in 2014 with BJP getting absolute majority was a point of hope.  This was the first Non-Congress government in the real-and-true sense of the word. Though the Janata Party government was Non-Congress, there were, however, Congress-minded elements in the party as well as in the government.

Going by the priorities set by Modi; his ability to go ahead steadfast inspite of repeated criticism and bombardments, his ability to connect with the world-leaders, the long-range he has exhibited in forging ties with foreign countries; the grit and determination; meticulousness; clarity and courage of conviction; his genuine concern for the personnel of the Defence and Para-Military forces; versatility to deal with multi-dimensional crisis with agility and by being patience-incarnate, all these have reinforced people’s hope, confidence, trust and faith in him.

Going by the performance of the Narendra Modi-led government in almost all sectors, it can be safely and surely said that he deserves yet another chance. Apart from ensuring the performance of the government being brilliant, Modi has also ensured that none of the ministers behave badly and in undignified manner. Not once the ministers in the Union government were seen contradicting each other or bad-mouthing each other.

Perhaps without explicitly using the word “Hindutva” Modi has been implementing the Hindutva agenda, albeit, subtly; look at his success in persuading the UN to declare June 21 as International Yoga Day; the whole world now bends and stretches with ancient Bharat’s Yoga. Modi’s call for a common satellite for all the SAARC countries is nothing but a clever attempt to bring Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Burma – all part of erstwhile Cultural Bharat – under one umbrella!

India’s polity has been oscillating like a pendulum not only from hope and despair but also from single-party stagnation to multi-party instability.

For first three decades from 1947 to 1977, polity, no doubt, was stable but the kind of stability that the Congress gave led to stagnation that stinked. The political stability that does not trigger economic transformation stinks; that is what the Congress gave to the country – stagnation that stinked. The same was with the regime of Dr Manmohan Singh.

Modi regime – a single-party government – has not only seen political stability but it has also witnessed massive economic regeneration and transformation at the grass-root level. MUDRA scheme has ensured that a silent economic revolution takes places with Modi being the harbinger of that revolution. There is hope all around – the hope Modi generated in 2014. At the end of five year rule, Narendra Modi has not allowed the pendulum to oscillate from hope of 2014 to despair. People’s hope and confidence have doubled in Modi. Narendra Modi can be and need to be trusted as a point of hope for National Renaissance.

By S. A. Hemantha Kumar

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