For almost a decade, everyone had heard about this one man — a ten-headed monster from a western state that media talked about every day since 2002. Everyone had got conditioned to despise and hate him over years. Not much was known about his side of the story, especially since the monster had seemingly gone into a shell. His shunning the media had created an awareness vacuum for long while, at least for people outside Gujarat. Definitely till 2013 for most.
I was probably skeptical, a fence-sitter for long — if not a hater.
Then I became a “Bhakt” – in 2011. Yes, 2011 – when watched him on TV, speaking at India Today Conclave 2011. (If you haven’t – I would still urge you to hear this speech from 2011… all eight parts of it here, including Q&A)
Yes, we all have heard him scores of times, but this was way before all of that.
Here you had a much maligned CM of Gujarat, talking of his vision for a developed India. Rock solid and unperturbed by the political venom being showered on him, untouched by negativity of the media and ‘liberal intelligentsia’ had towards him. Some of that scorn was directed at him even at this event by some media persons – almost mocking at the thought of him ever moving to Delhi.
And here, for the first time ever, I was seeing a politician with a vision, mission and clarity – and a plan for execution.
I was left wondering – why is this man not in Delhi, running my country?
In 2014, when I wore that Namo T-Shirt and distributed pamphlets near traffic signals & malls in parts of east Bangalore, it was with that hope, that dream in mind. Wearing your belief on your t-shirt and distributing flyers outside a mall was probably easier than speaking your belief in midst of friends/colleagues. The imagery by media over years of a “Modi supporter” was that of a rabid religious hate monger – bound to make many cringe. An image that needed to change – for people to see behind the smoke-screen. It wasn’t very encouraging to see silent response from friends. For the dream to come true, conversations were a must. Numerous discussions with friends, neighbours and just anyone – people, known and unknown. I don’t know how many – if any, were fruitful.
In that midst, lots of heated ones with people of contrarian views.
I had an open offer. Show me a politician with half his vision or clarity, efficiency of execution or just clean track-record and I will change my vote. Only one neighbour, a hard-core leftist prof offered a name – Jyoti Basu. I didn’t know whether to laugh, mourn or demolish the suggestion, for this die-hard fan seemed to have missed the news of his senior comrades demise for many years. I chose, only to inform her. Needless to add, she unfriended me on social media soon after. So have many others over years.
To be honest, “Bhakt” is not really a term most Modi supporters would be comfortable with. It is a label that liberal media started using as a ‘slur’; trying to make us cringe at the Hindu connotation and suggest that we think Modi is God. Modi is human, with human limitations and also a politician – with political ambitions and constraints. Neither is my support blind. I do differ and protest on many things he has done or not done – about Kashmir, education, RTE, beef…
Nor does this support transfer implicitly to BJP. His team has a lot of potential stars today… but that doesn’t mean the whole party.
Today, when I look at the chain of events – first creating 25 crore Jan-dhan accounts and 19 crore RuPay cards, spread of e-Naam e-Mandis, Benami property law, full declaration of cash/accounts in ITR & AIRs, Income Disclosure Scheme (IDS) and then Demonetisation – I am heartened and energised to see my bet for CEO of India was on the right man. A man, who didn’t dither even when a bold move of such magnitude was bound to demolish his traditional voter base and brew massive discontent even within the other rungs of own party.
True to his words of “Nation First”!
My offer remains open – and now with a discount too. Just show me a leader with one-fourth his vision, zeal, energy and execution prowess.