The fortune-teller and the forecaster, each indignant at being clubbed with the other, rarely get it right in Bharat. The world, for example, hasn’t ended yet, though some might believe we’ve tried hard enough. And the dollar, like an errant child, always goes the other way. And yet here I am taking a call on the future of Bharat’s PM. Truly, as modern bards have said, we are like that only.
Dates of the carnival of democracy have been announced, and the speculations about the result have already begun. A consensus has emerged on MSM that BJP is on the downhill, and even if the party comes as the front runner, it is unlikely to be anywhere near its 2014 performance.
Until the results of elections in the three states of Hindi heartland were out, victory to BJP seemed like an appointment kept than a journey into the uncharted. Great men do that, reaching out to things that others cannot spot and Modi was like that only. His longevity has been staggering and I often wonder if others deny themselves that option because they stifle the child within, draining out the enthusiasm that an untroubled childhood possesses.
The successive victories of Modi since 2014 until recent state elections in the Hindi heartland reflect the acknowledgement of the people for his policies and work. It is as much a tribute to his innate ability and extraordinary intelligence as it is to his youthful exuberance. It also shows the quality of Shah’s booth management and social engineering.
You can’t deny any of these facts, but then that was the time when there was a weak opposition and lack of visible leadership on the other side. But now the equations have changed somewhat. Somebody broke Rahul’s defensive mindset. May be he did it himself, may be he listened to his coaches and agreed, but the end result was that he drove past his own barriers. Some would say he has gone to the other extreme. He is not shying away from saying, “Mera PM Chor Hai,” albeit with no real evidence to back up his allegation. The aggression, bordering on arrogance, is now hard to miss.
During the assembly elections Modi was good, but not quite himself.
It happens to the best. The mind is made up and instinct is buried. We seek to become conformists, from making the rules we bow to them. Sometimes we grow weary with battle, the next conquest becomes daunting and it was pretty evident during the campaign. Modi was looking defensive in his approach. He seemed afraid of taking names of his own state governments and thus was talking about the “double engine”.
One big allegation which is always associated with Modi government is that democracy is in peril in Modi Raj, but I believe it is merely undergoing change. Some people equate the two, but that happens every time a comfortable world order is disturbed. Remember, it happened during Indira Gandhi’s rule in the form of Banks Nationalization and abolition of privy purses, and also during Rajiv Gandhi’s reign in the form of Postal Bill and Shah Bano, but the thing is, in Bharat, we have not been used to such a powerful central Government for a long time. In fact, the only time democracy was really in peril was when Indira Gandhi imposed a draconian almost two-year long emergency on the country.
And so, in spite of being on a lower row for a while, Modi Raj gave us many happy moments. And, given its resilience, it would be fair to expect a few more. And so my answer to those people who say there is a sense of fear among the public in Modi Raj is, “If Modi was a pill, he would never come sugar-coated. No sugar coating, but the man is worth its salt”.
And so Modi Raj has not been the years of doom his opponents desperately want us to believe, merely one of change.
But, at the time of election people tends to forget all these things and the main driving force is perception among the people. And without an inch of doubt I must confess that this is not going to be the same perception which BJP created in 2014, this time it will be more of a vector than scalar form of perception building , it will be more of an arithmetic than chemistry and many more dimensions will be added.
This time it will not be Right vs Left but a kind of “Right lower class” vs “Left upper class”. When the going is good almost everyone can swim with the tide, but it is when confronted by adversity that character emerges; or, as Warren Buffett says, when the tide goes out you know who has been swimming naked. 2019 will be a bigger election than it seems.
Apart from all the political equations and alliances, at the end of the day it will be the voters who will decide the fate of the political parties and so voters need to remember while casting their votes in 2019 that Modi is a leader, not a messiah.
Like in cricket, coaches don’t win matches. Players do and they always have. Likewise, the development of the country is not merely done by any government or leader but by the citizens themselves. Coaches might tinker or straighten the player’s game, play a benevolent uncle or a stern elder brother, show a little window of opportunity, may be even a door, but they can’t win matches on their own. Same is with the leader of any country. And so while it’s important to get a good man or woman to lead, we can’t look upon him as a messiah.
Any person who believes so is diverting his responsibility elsewhere. Otherwise it is no different from a rich parent appointing an expensive tutor and believing that both his and his child’s responsibility is over and therefore, we must not equate the presence of Modi with say, an ambulance or a fire engine.
The appointment of Modi in 2014 was a bit like appointing someone to fix a house that has a dodgy foundation. We can’t expect Modi to be a hero who rides in from nowhere and takes Bharat to the top. Those messiahs exist only in movies, and therefore people must choose their PM wisely.
Lastly, it is very pertinent to note that neither is this the Vajpayee-led BJP of 2004 nor is this that Congress party which played the role of opposition in 2004. So, equating this election with 2004 election will be completely false. Therefore, no variables are going to give a consistent and correct equation as of now. Magar jitega kaun? Only time will tell.
-by VAIDUSHYA PARTH (law student at NMIMS School of Law, Mumbai)
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