Beginning of Modi Era--I

By Prabhakar Timble
20 May 2014 06:17 IST

A different Narendra Modi is seen after the polls with jargon changed to “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” as compared to the arrogant, conceited and Maa-Beta-Beti-Damaad mumbo-jumbo certainly not befitting a PM designate.   Narendra Modi has got the mandate to make a difference and a free hand to deliver without any pressures of coalition politics. The NDA has received support in all the states with exception of the Southern block. Despite historic outcome, the minorities and the marginalised will view the dispensation with discomfort and perceived threats to their rights and security. People passionate about freedom and liberal outlook will ponder with creases on their face.  If Team Narendra Modi answers with empathy, compassion and holding to the constitutional ethics and values not just in letter but in spirit, the innings of this RSS pracharak and swayamsevak turned Prime Minister of the world’s largest Republic and populous democracy would be celebrated for years to come.

Positive Modi-wave

The poll outcome goes beyond anti-Congress mandate. It was expected that NDA would emerge as the single largest coalition fully qualified to form the new government. BJP getting complete majority on its own accompanied by total rout of the Congress and the failure of BSP, JDU, RJD, SP, NCP to put up rock minimum figures is the indication of a positive Narendra Modi wave. The only exception to this wave has been Tamil Nadu and West Bengal wherein the mass appeal of Jayalalitha and Mamata is very strong. BJP has mustered votes from both rural-urban segments and mopped up a reasonably high vote share in many states. However, as a national average, the BJP vote share is 31% which is the lowest for any party which has so far secured such a majority.  Four factors can be identified in these extraordinary results.

First, the polarisation of the Hindu vote cutting across castes for the first time. It was assumed that the caste equations would arrest Modi in UP, Bihar, Maharashtra and would provide to the respective political parties their share of seats in other States. This did not happen this time. The minority vote too got polarised against Modi-led BJP but obviously could not muster electoral gains as the same got split amongst more than one political party. Secondly, the aspirational middle class and the youth reposing confidence that Modi would fire the clouds of opportunities through development and giving thumbs up to this dream. Thirdly, the anti-Congress environment worked and the BJP made the most of it. Fourthly, the RSS field work and the manure provided by corporates made the Modi grass to sprout fast and stay green till the date of polling. The water never dried in the resource wells of the BJP. A value judgement on these factors serves no purpose as it is the collective voice of the people which is final and of value in parliamentary democracy.

The family factor described by opposition as ‘family raj’ in the Congress could be one of the issues but that does not mean that the Congress party would be on the path of recovery if instantly divorced from the Nehru-Gandhi family. The family is the core strength of the Congress party and this dynasty element should be used to advantage. This family espouses modern values and never rejoice in narrow views on culture. The family tolerates political ‘indiscipline” and dissent. The discriminatory social and gender values of the past are not given the sacred pedestal of India’s glory by this “parivar” leading the Congress. The alliance partners of the BJP are dynasty political outfits and so are the caste-factored regional political parties. BJP itself is a political child of the ‘sangh parivar’ enjoying semi-independence on achieving adulthood. Asking Sonia-Rahul to resign at this stage taking accountability for the decimation of the Congress is falling for the BJP- media bait for the Congress to further wither away. Introspection, learning from defeat, empowering new blood in the States, staying politically alert throughout the country and working towards assertive presence in media should be the Congress priorities. The ‘family’ within the Congress needs to redraw its role rather than withdraw.

Mahashakti banayenge!

A nation becomes great not by inhaling the opium of nationalism but through empowerment of people. The channels of progress are economic growth, equity, social cohesion, democracy and modern scientific values.  All this together could be regarded as ‘development’. It would be wrong to consider development as a growth model which should propel only investment to generate employment and create infrastructure and products.

The Hindutva forces feel that for the first time after 67 years since independence, the government is “bharatiya” which to them means Hindu. Hence, these years will see emotions on river Ganga, Bhagwan Ram, and bharatiya dharm-sanskriti being harnessed to keep the ‘hindutva brigade’ in good humour. If the government allows the fundamental duties enshrined in the Constitution to go for a toss by state patronage and recognition to faith extremism, ‘vaastu’, astrology etc. it would be a heaven for the aspirational ‘hindutva’ forces to build their commercial fortunes. Similar forces in minority communities would in fact welcome this trend of benefaction of the archaic and unscientific past tradition. The challenge to progressive forces will multiply and odds against social reformers would increase with “babas & swamis” taking charge of values, culture and ‘swabhiman’ with blessings of the government.

It is needless to say that the new government would work all out for economic growth and price stability. Industry has responded even before the new ministry is installed. The Sensex touched the highest ever record on getting signals of a stable government. What is expected from the new government is administrative reforms to fast-track approvals and pro-active programmes for the rural sector and the new emerging semi- urban centres. Narendra Modi has been admired for his commitment to growth goals. At the same time, threats to democracy on account of over-centralisation of governance and packing of yes-men or ideology blind cadre persons on constitutional authorities and autonomous bodies are also expressed with equal concern. As a Prime Minister with such a mandate, team Modi could be different, though the recent past does not give any credence to this.

The lesson learnt by the BJP through its election campaign would form part of the communication strategy of the new government. Propaganda would precede and follow policy initiatives.  BJP has the fresh first-hand experience. The media needs fodder continuously as they are hungry on 12 hour basis. If the ruling government does not provide it on a platter, the media would dig to manufacture. With a clear, clean and confident majority; Corporate India burning the fireworks heralding the new dawn; the onus is on the opposition parties, the media, the intelligentsia and the NGOs to sharpen their implements and guard against the abuse of power.

Narendra Modi described himself as the ‘chaukidar’ (security-guard) during the campaign. After the poll results, he prefers to be known as the ‘pehala Mazdoor’. (First Labourer) A big change in attitude indeed. If it translates in action, definitely it would be Narendra Modi with a revised DNA

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Prabhakar Timble

Mr Prabhakar Timble is an educationist and a legal expert. He has served several educational institutions, especially as the Principal of Government College at Quepem, Kare College of Law in Madgao as well as couple of Management Institutes. He was also the State Election Commissioner of Goa.

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