Beginning of Modi Era-II

By Prabhakar Timble
27 May 2014 06:21 IST

Despite the BJP vote share at 31%, it’s a grand victory in terms of the number of parliamentary seats and the waves of new expectations it has created. Change is always qualitative in a democracy and it energises the systems and institutions as well as makes it compulsory for the political parties which were earlier in power to introspect and re-invent themselves. Such a striking poll performance led by Narendra Modi deserved a majestic installation ceremony. The PM designate made it magnificent by inviting the leaders of SAARC nations, thereby sending a delicate message that a new chapter has begun. The major issue facing the Indian Parliament which is the apex democratic body is the lack of a strong united opposition to the ruling combination. This unnerves the 69% electorate whose choice is not the Narendra Modi led BJP. Hence, for the nation as a whole it is a mixture of excitement and shock. For the democratic balance, the political leaders should forge a new alliance or front of opposition parties with a common minimum working chart.

“Modified” strokes

Immediately after the poll results, a welcome attempt to present a different Narendra Modi other than what one perceived in the campaign is seen. Media has successfully created the desired hype particularly on the visit of Pak premier Nawaz Sharif. Except for Arnab Goswami led Times Now which went on the rampage ridiculing Pakistan and their Prime Minister for not having the freedom of choice to accept the invitation and made their political commentators to appear like a bunch of fools, the other TV channels played responsibly. It was an excellent “Modified” stroke. Whichever way the countries respond, it would be a win situation for the Prime Minister scheduled to take the oath of office. If Nawaz Sharif conveys inability, he is perceived as a weak PM and a subject of remote-control by Pakistan’s army and ISI. If he clinches and makes it for the coronation, it adds a diplomatic feather to Narendra Modi.

If any other political leader had taken this step, BJP would have ensured state-wise protests with burning of effigies.  They would have returned to their basics of considering all others as traitors and enemies of Bharat desh and themselves as the only patriots of mother India. Take the Goa case as an instance. When the self-acclaimed nationalists and culture zealots are in power casinos are safe. The Durga Vahinis stay silent with extended timings of bars and liquor shops spilling beyond mid-night. The Rashtriya Bhasha ‘rakshaks’ (protectors) stay indoors with mouths sealed, ears shut and eyes closed. The anger against corruption cools down instantaneously.


BJP through Narendra Modi is also making the best of the opportunity to change the gear.  This is because BJP can not only afford to take risks for the qualitative shift, they are prepared to do so. Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and the 70 plus are kept out of the cabinet. The bells were sounded when their electoral constituencies were altered. Rewards and recognitions are rightly won by those who stood involved and committed during the campaign.  The tainted BJP leader and former Chief Minister of Karnataka, B. S. Yedurappa is kept out of the cabinet. The size of the cabinet is presently pegged at 45 which is almost 50% of the otherwise permissible strength. The approved strength is 15% of the strength of Lok Sabha. Though pruning of the political executive is a small aspect of less government, with the downsizing and clubbing of ministries it could result in pruning down of administrative executive at a subsequent stage.  These are good pointers for a political party to stay vibrant in future. Staying in the past cannot be the mantra for earning dividends. Modi has started the process of trimming and weeding from day one. Of course, there are gubernatorial positions available for the party elders and seniors.

Political statements

Each of the political party is using the occasion to make a statement to their voters. BJP makes it with a 3000 show of men from all walks of life at the installation. Narendra Modi pulls a diplomatic card by inviting leaders of SAARC. Shiv Sena keeps its cadre and support base contented by speaking of the nuclear button and the language of lack of trust in Pakistan without disturbing their equations with Modi. Mamata Banerjee (TMC) and Jayalalithaa (AIADMK) do their communication by staying off to hold strongly to their space. Naveen Patnaik keeps options close to the chest by not remaining present in person. Even Ally Vaiko makes his statement through a protest.

It is only the Congress party which continues not to understand political communication, otherwise Rahul Gandhi who supposedly led the Congress party to the battle of the ballot would not sulk into pin drop silence. Though Sonia Gandhi acknowledged the knowledge about the anger of voters and the failure to gauge the public mood, there is absolutely no attempt to change the gear. It is not only anger against Congress corruption but also the mounting frustration on account of failure to rise up to the occasion. This is the time to search answers for criticism rather than hitting at the critics. The critics are either loyal Congressmen or sympathisers. They are not anti-Congress elements or those who have exploited the Congress banner for their selfish interests. If the President of the Congress party has understood the pulse of Congress supporters, Sonia Gandhi would not have elevated herself to the post of Chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party. Congress is going through a no-risk zone and would do better if the baton of the party leadership in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha is given to vocal and experienced leaders from the Congress. Congress party cries for fresh and young leadership to take up the mantle of political communication and perform the role of assertive and sensitive opposition. Sonia Gandhi whilst continuing to lead the party organisation should immediately facilitate this change at other levels. Narendra Modi has put himself on fast-track. He took to twitter reciprocating the wishes an hour before he was sworn in. Under such a political environment procrastination will further maximise losses for the Congress.

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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