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Is Narendra Modi the answer?

March 21, 2012

Let me begin by assuring the readers that this is not influenced by the Time cover page or the article therein on Narendra Modi. In fact, I have not seen the issue nor have I read the write up. I understand, however that the article is based on assessment by the Brookings Institute. I write this purely as post assembly elections fallouts and the reactions of political parties post results.

The Congress Party is surviving from crisis to crisis. That it is managing to stay in power is its only achievement. Apologists for the Congress admire this as a huge achievement and call this ‘stability’. I wonder what kind of stability they are talking about when Maoists are taking the nation to ransom – kidnapping two Italian tourists in the forests of Kandhamal. I wonder what kind of stability this UPA II government is giving when the Railway Minister presents the budget in the Parliament only to be booted out unceremoniously the very next day. The charade goes on for 5 days and what the nation knew soon after the budget inevitably takes place after a lot of drama and a loss of face for the government – Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi resigns nevertheless. What kind of stability does the Congress led UPA provides when three of its former CM’s are named in the Adarsh Housing scam known as the Kargil for profit scam! What kind of stability does this government provide when it cannot win seats in the most populous state of the nation – Uttar Pradesh. What kind of stability does the government provide when its own allies vote against the much touted NCTC Bill that gives sweeping rights to intelligence agencies to search and arrest suspects – as a anti-terror mechanism, the powers of the states substantially marginalized by this draconian bill. What kind of stability does this government provide when the economy is hurtling as never before and confidence in India as an investment destination under a cloud when this government introduces taxation laws retrospectively! This government does not know what is going on. This is a government which has a prime minister complaining out aloud that their allies are creating trouble only for one of the main ally slamming the prime minister. This is a government that is not working. This is a government that has stopped functioning. This is a government that is standing on the sideline watching the aviation sector going to seed. This is an absolutely incompetent government that has lost its credibility.

The world is watching what is going on in India. The much celebrated Indo-US Civilian Nuclear deal has not materialized as it should have. While India and the West have certainly come closer, there is yet a lot that should have been done and has not been done. The ball is firmly in India’s court. We have failed to take the relationship to its logical conclusion. The government gives coalition politics as the alibi. But that is not entirely true. The UPA has been influenced by forces that find India and the West coming closer as a threat to their interests.  Remarkably these are the same forces that have made it their mission to target the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. These are the same forces whose shrill campaign against Narendra Modi was heard in Washington DC and the man was refused visa by the US government to attend a Gujarati conclave there. The US has come around to realizing that Narendra Modi is not quite as bad as is being made out. In fact he being virtually exonerated in the 2002 Gujarat riots by a largely impartial Indian judiciary speaks volumes about the integrity of the man. His developmental work surely one to be emulated not only in India but also in other emerging economies. The West has slowly but surely come around to realize that the probable ascendance of Narendra Modi to the highest office in the land may not be a disaster after all, in all probability it may be the best news from Western point of view. I may hasten to add that even from the Indian national perspective Narendra Modi as the prime minister may just be the medicine the doctor ordered for an India unable to achieve its huge potential.

I find that in present political situation someone like Narendra Modi is perhaps the one who has answers to the problems faced by the nation. I hate to say this when we have an economist in Manmohan Singh as the prime minister but it is the economics that enthuses me most when I think of Narendra Modi as the prime minister. He will be not be bogged down by the socialistic rhetoric and would hasten development and industrialization across the nation leading to higher growth and therefore a more equitable society. While the Socialists and the Liberals mouth slogans a Modi government will ensure more equitable society by following a tumultuous growth trajectory. The only way UPA II has fought poverty is by lowering the poverty line to a laughable Rs 28 per person per day. This is an embarrassment.  India is a miracle waiting to happen and Narendra Modi could be the man who could be the catalyst to realization of the economic potential of this land of immense possibilities. The economic unshackling is what makes me most excited about Narendra Modi as the prime minister.

A booming economy will lead to a more equitable society and therefore the artificial divide between the majority and the minority will be bridged. I foresee a more cohesive India and an India thinking as one. The huge energy of the youth needs to be channelized. Narendra Modi will waste no time in opening the education sector especially in higher education, something that this government has been dithering on.  Opportunities will abound in an economy that has a double digit growth and inflation well within manageable limits. This fountain of energy of the Young India will usher in a new confidence in the nation. We as a society will become more stable and calm. Crime rate will go down as the youth will be busy in more meaningful pursuits. Innovation will be the inevitable result from a largely young population that has insatiable hunger for knowledge.  Such outfits as the Maoists will begin to look foolish. If they still insist on wreaking havoc on an India moving forward they will be dealt with decisively.

Unburdened by the rhetorical majority-minority divide a Naredra Modi government will not hesitate to take decisions in international forums that no previous government dare take in the name of phony secularism.  India and the West have interests that are almost identical. We have been taking postures pro-West almost apologetically and indeed sometimes surreptitiously. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth and our friends across the world sometimes cannot understand why we do what we do. This doing things in a roundabout manner will cease and India will have a more forthright foreign policy. India will be respected more. India will take its rightful place in world polity. We will be more upfront on Middle Eastern issue and other such issues that come up from time to time. India will walk in step with her friends and allies as indeed we should. India will be taken seriously and our stand on issues will be sought and quoted. There will be more harmony in the region east of the Persian Gulf and India will make sure her interests are not marginalized. This forthrightness will be a relief for the West – it will be reassuring to the ordinary Indian. India and Israel – the two pillars of stability in the region, will come closer and a prime ministerial visit might well happen.

Narendra Modi government will mean a rewriting of the political agenda. For Narendra Modi to become the prime minister the BJP will have to allow the man space on national politics. Old war horses must give way to the young. A tottering Congress led UPA must be given a decisive blow for the BJP and the NDA to give a viable alternative. Narendra Modi faces challenges more from within BJP than from political adversaries that are obvious. I have never understood the need for RSS to make organizational decisions for the BJP but for once I hope the Sangh prevails over the BJP leadership and insists that Narendra Modi be made the PM once the NDA wins. For that BJP will have to revamp its regional and national politics and Narendra Modi and other such ‘political untouchables’ be allowed to  campaign unhindered across the length and breadth of the country.

Narendra Modi is an idea whose time has come. I hope BJP understands the writing on the wall.

Disclaimer: As I write there is news that Congress has won the Mansa by-polls in Gujarat and BJP has lost. I hope this is not a trend but a one-off result. If it is indeed a harbinger of the things to come then this article  is nothing but an uninhibited flight of fancy.

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