Monday, April 6, 2020
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Modi seems to have changed gears – Politically!

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One of the pet peeves of any Modi supporter in past 20 months has been… while the developmental efforts are fine, whatever happened to the Accountability Commission Modi ji promised in his pre-election promises.  To be more precise,  when is he going to go after the Bee-Hive and the Queen Bee? Recent developments give a hint to the strategy.

The sudden spat of exposes of Ishrat Jahan witnesses and whistle blowers, the ED finding all of PC son’s ill-gotten wealth right during the Parliament session just shows Modi was accumulating these facts for a long time, waiting to strike at the right moment.

Parliament wasn’t allowed to function again as expected.  It is Rahul’s brain wave to hold the government to ransom and not allow it to do any constructive legislative work , hence, in his mind, discrediting the government. Especially since expectations are high from Modi and people are getting restive. Acche Din, Pappu thinks, can be beaten by “Jumla sarkar” type of slogans. That governments aren’t limited to slogans may be beyond his capabilities to comprehend. Messaging is not the whole and soul, but just the final wrap on substantive governance.

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Modi has given a teaser to the opposition by initiating accountability actions against PC… a direct hint to $onia that no one is beyond reach. This “Damocles sword” on her head is the latest attempt at getting some much-needed cooperation from opposition. Sources have confirmed that the expectation of the party from the by polls to Rajya Sabha due in July, given the current equation of electoral mathematics, is expected to push Congress down to less than 60 seats. This should be enough for Government to conduct legislative business with the help of friendly parties like AIADMK, BJD or even SP.

Given the threat hanging on PC, we can expect parliament to start cooperating a bit from now on too. Financial bills will probably go through. The very top legislation business may slide through. Obviously the optics of confrontation, Rahul Gandhi brand of politics, will continue. Albeit with the right prodding at the right time at the right places, government may succeed to buy temporary peace. I have a suspicion that GST is just a tool to discredit the opposition. They quickly fell to Modi’s trap in vociferously opposing false flags like Land Acquisition and GST, not half as necessary as it is made out to be. If the opposition now support GST, they’ll have to eat humble pie. If not, Modi will play victim, and further turn the screws.

Modi has also got JNU as his second Godhra moment. Opposition has gifted Modi deep polarisation along nationalistic lines. This is vintage chess minds at play here (Amit Shah has long been an avid chess player). It is evident that govt is changing gears. “Take no prisoners” is the strategy.

The opposition has two choices currently. It may think it is wise to surrender on the governance agenda. The situation is good for the economic agenda in my opinion. But if the economy succeeds in creating the new rural demand as it’s engine, as budget 2016 focuses, Sonia and her Suit-Boot opposition will be history.

The alternative for the opposition is to dig it out for the end game. Sonia isn’t going to take things lightly either, if she realises the downsides of a performing government. After a temporary ceasefire to buy reprieve from government action, more identity based politics may be in the offing to break the nationalistic narrative. Will it create enough disturbance in country to trip the economy and hence Modi? Will Modi use his Brahmastra of action against his rival? Will it be too late to needle the Queen?

Interesting times can be promised ahead!

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