Narendra Modi - One year later

Vikram Sood  Not everything that is right these days is because the BJP is doing it right. Nor is everything wrong because the BJP has not got it right. Both are also parts of a legacy from the previous government and both are equally also doings of the present government. That is the reality we must learn to accept. For over 60 years we have functioned or been dysfunctional in a particular way. Correcting systems takes time as too rapid a U-turn can derail the train.

Too much is expected in one year. Partly because Narendra Modi's original sin was that he was actually successful in the elections and that too in a manner that left the government of the day gasping for breath. UPA-II had long been high on slogans and rhetoric, low on performance and generally out of depth. Removed from reality they presumed that the Family held the keys to the kingdom. Maybe it still does for the hapless Congressmen and women but the nation may have found an alternative leader. If Modi succeeds then the Congress might well be history.

So he must be opposed on every issue. The old story of being pro-poor and pro-minority was no longer selling. India became a country where we were tempted with newer rights but never our concomitant duties. We became a country where progress was defined only by declaring oneself backward and claiming some rights. Earlier governments had the comfort when they controlled the radio waves without any competition, or 24-hour private news channels and the social media explosion.

PM Narendra Modi speaks at an event in Paris, France. When he began wooing the world, the argument was that he was a novice and did not understand international relations and strategy. Surprise of surprises, the man actually made a success of his moves. File pic
PM Narendra Modi speaks at an event in Paris, France. When he began wooing the world, the argument was that he was a novice and did not understand international relations and strategy. Surprise of surprises, the man actually made a success of his moves. File Pic

The problem with Narendra Modi is mainly with his critics, who did not wish him to win the elections in the first place and having succeeded much against their wishes, he now actually threatens to make a success of it. This too was not expected of him, according to this lot. So when he began wooing the world, the argument was that he was a novice and did not understand international relations and strategy. Only “we” knew how this was done. Surprise of surprises, the man actually made a success of his moves. Obviously he understands international power play and India's possible role and interests.

Modi’s Cabinet has talent but little experience. There is over-centralisation in New Delhi. He has to contend with a bunch of loudmouths who seem to revel in scoring own goals and create apprehension among the rest. Are they out of control? Or are their statements a reflection of the party line? At times it seems the BJP rank and file has not yet got used to the idea that they are actually the government. Perhaps they should stop behaving as if they are in the opposition that requires them to oppose the government, even if it is their own party Reforms are slow and painful, partly because most of us fear change and are comfortable with the existing situation if it gives us advantage.

We all become non-performing assets in the bargain and have a vested interest in preserving this. The Opposition parties — the Congress, the Left and the motley groups — fear reforms. These parties fear redundancy if these reforms are successful. It is thus in their interest to scuttle them but of course the argument has the usual pro-poor, pro-equality and pro-justice refrain. In actual fact they do not want reforms to succeed. They merely want the country to wallow and perpetuate want and hunger. This may be a political compulsion, but why are the rest of us not willing to give this process a chance? We are the ones who will benefit from judicious reforms while some political parties will lose from this.

Genuine and considered criticism, as distinct from mere carping, which unfortunately is more the case, should not be ignored. The people must remember that after decades of coalition governments working under various compulsions, we are today fortunate to have a government with a comfortable majority, something we need if we want to progress rapidly.
The BJP’s 282 tally in the current Lok Sabha should provide the much needed stability that India has not had in decades.
But at this crucial juncture, the NDA needs to bring on board the others who did not vote for them. At the same time, injection of excessive politics in economics will hurt the Opposition as well because the people are unlikely to forgive efforts to keep them poor.

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