Dear Prime Minister:
Under normal circumstances, I would have addressed this letter to Shri Narendra Modi, and not to the office he holds. But the events of 29th August force me to address it to you as I feel you have forgotten that you have been elected to this office by an India that was fed up with and sick of the political architecture that the Congress and its Left cabal had erected over the past 70 years. The decisive mandate you won after 35 years of minority-coalition rule, was not an accident but a deliberate choice made by the people. Whatever may be the merit in the opposition’s allegation that you won with only 31% vote share, it does not take anything away from the fact that, under the prevalent first-past-the-post system of electoral arithmetic, you were decisively elected as the best of the alternatives before the people. One does not have to feel apologetic about it; nor is there any need to give long explanations backed by data that no one really cares about.
The past four-plus years have been the best on many fronts. The economy is upbeat despite the devaluation of the rupee; foreign policy is proactive; most of the schemes to uplift the weaker sections are delivering desirable results; there is greater socio-political integration of the different parts of the country (the North-Easterner is no longer looked upon as a Chinese); the BJP is ruling in 15 states that account for nearly 70% of the population; large-scale communal riots have been controlled; corruption has been brought down due to DBT, digitalization of financial transactions, and a reduced interface between government and public; emphasis on cleanliness and sanitation is yielding health benefits to the poorest sections, etc. etc.
But where your government has lost is in the battle of perceptions. The entrenched cabal that had taken it for granted that it would be able to control the narrative even if it lost power is still calling most of the shots. This cabal has infiltrated the Academia, the Judiciary, and the Media. There is a whole industry that nurtures these people. Perhaps it is a wrong term to label them as Communists, Marxists, or Leftists. In fact, they are happy with these labels as they consider them as badges of honour. In truth, they are just Anarchists, who use the universities, the courts and the media to promote themselves much more than any ideology.
They are to be found everywhere in the free world, where they have established an incestuous network that feeds on one another. They fly first or business class, stay in 5-star hotels, charge enormous fees for lectures, and globetrot from seminar to seminar, holding forth on how to improve the lives of the poor. They plant seeds of discontent wherever they go, teach indiscipline and rouse the people to take up arms against inconvenient (to them) governments. The Media, with which they are deeply embedded, gives maximum exposure to their agendas, shouting or shutting down contrary opinions. In the last few years social media has come up to counter this narrative, but it is an unequal battle between an entrenched army of individuals holding demonic weapons against a ragtag company of people with small paper pins. Social Media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have also been infiltrated by their foot-soldiers, and before long we may find ourselves banished from there too.
This cabal is financed not only by external entities inimical to India, prominent among who are the Christian missionary organizations in the West (who are hell-bent upon replacing Hinduism with their faith all across the country); the hostile ISI of Pakistan that is equally hell-bent upon wresting Kashmir from us; but also by our own governments through the universities and other academic institutions. Universities and many academic institutions are increasingly coming under the control of these elements, and it is our public money that funds them.
The judiciary has made a mockery of the rule of law. It is jungle law that has been prevailing ever since India became free in the name. Powerful criminals are rarely touched and their battery of lawyers either browbeat the judiciary or greases its wheels to safeguard the interests of their clients.
The Supreme Court opens at midnight to hear frivolous petitions on behalf of convicted terrorists, while other orders to stay the arrest of criminals are passed on phone calls received from members of this cabal. Crores of cases are languishing for decades in the courts across the country, but the Lordships have no hesitation in hearing petitions of criminals who are endangering the very security of the country. The alacrity with which the Supreme Court took upon itself the case of the arrested Naxal masterminds on 29th August, ordering that they are kept under house arrest instead of being taken into judicial custody, points to the amount of rot that has seeped into the system.
The cabal has activated the NHRC to question the action of the Maharashtra police, and soon many other anti-India NGO’s like Amnesty will jump on the bandwagon. A known, convicted criminal, Lalu is pontificating from hospital beds, or while in transit from one marriage reception to another because a porous legal system gives him that space to feign illness and get hospitalized, and then hold forth to the Media.
In June this year, on this platform, I had published an open letter to the BJP President Shri Amit Shah, in which I had listed the areas where the party and the government needed to focus to ensure another five-year term for you as the Prime Minister. If this country has to emerge as a dynamic whole, where every citizen becomes empowered, then it is imperative that the BJP returns to power with you as the Prime Minister in 2019. While your core constituency is ready to support you without any reservations, there is a vast number of new and old voters who are not very sure if they would like to vote back the BJP and Narendra Modi. Goebbelsian propaganda by the vested interests within and enemies abroad has given rise to doubts about your model of governance. Resort to outright lies and distortion by these elements has peaked with the recent interaction of the Congress President with the media abroad. Even the floods in Kerala that have wreaked havoc in that state are being blamed on the Central government and there is a constituency that is willing to believe such nonsense.
I think you require a quick reassessment of the situation and if remedial action is not initiated immediately, you may find yourself on the opposition benches in 2019, to the utter dismay of Nationalists and the delight of criminals.
What are the areas of priority that I think need immediate attention?
Communication: You must wrest the narrative from the opposition who are currently calling all the shots. Mann ki Baat is fine, but you need to come more often before the people on Television. You don’t have to give interviews to media anchors. Every week you can appear at prime time (say 9 PM) on DD TV and address the nation through this medium. You can tell the people about all the new things the government has done during the week while giving the lie to opposition canards. This communication will inculcate trust while removing any doubts that the people would have.
There is no need for BJP spokespersons to participate in fake debates on TV channels. Instead, apart from you, senior ministers of your cabinet could regularly address the people on DD TV every evening at 9 PM and talk about important initiatives and policy matters concerning that ministry. Capturing the 9 PM slot will deprive all these fake media channels of a powerful propaganda tool.
Overhaul in Defence Ministry: The perception in the armed forces and among the public is that our Defence procurements are inadequate, and there is a lot of opacity in the procurement of equipment. It is because, in the MOD, a clique of bureaucrats is given much more authority than the armed forces personnel. There is a lot of resentment among the officers who have to kowtow to civilian babus who have not the foggiest idea about modern weaponry or warfare. At the same time, despite OROP, a lot remains to be done to give just monetary compensation to the fighting arms. Babus are controlling the budgets and deciding who gets what. Representation of armed forces personnel on committees that decide defence matters is negligible. You also need to seriously put into action the idea of appointing a Joint Chief of Services so that you get a unity of command that eliminates confusion and delay in decision-making. Shekhar Gupta may start rumours of a military takeover, but these are best ignored and the rumormonger punished.
I have nothing against Ms Nirmala Seetharaman, but she could have been more useful in a portfolio other than Defence. With a perpetually hostile Pakistan on our West, a belligerent China in the North, and an unfriendly Islamic state in the East, we need a DM who has a complete knowledge of the borderlands, their history, geography, and military capability. If you do not wish to appoint a retired military officer to this sensitive portfolio, it would be better to look for a scientist, preferably from ISRO, who could be inducted as a cabinet minister. At the same time the Secretary, MOD is best not from the usual IAS cadre but someone with a scientific background in military technology.
Controlling Judicial Overreach: Of late the judiciary has become a law unto itself. The cavalier manner in which the SC has intervened in the arrests of people who were allegedly conspiring to assassinate you and Mr Amit Shah is nothing but scandalous. To order that these people should not be held in police or judicial custody but kept under house arrest is a new low in Indian practice of law. I am not a lawyer, but I do not think there is any provision in the Indian Constitution that permits a conspirator to be kept under “house arrest.” To further illustrate this complete contempt for the people by the judicial officers comes the news that two judges of the Madras High Court want the NHAI to provide separate lanes and toll booths for judges on highways. Not that they actually pay for their use like other ordinary citizens. They have threatened your government with “contempt of court” if these directions are not implemented forthwith. Their Lordships cannot be made to wait in line or show their ID’s at tollbooths, as their time is immensely precious. What they do with their time is best illustrated by the following statistics of pending cases in different courts:
Supreme Court: 60,000+
24 High Courts: 4,00,000+
Lower Courts: 2,75,00,000+
People are waiting for decades for verdicts while many of them become destitute paying lawyers and court fees. Col. Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya are examples of victims of a draconian system under which any person can be held and tortured for indefinite periods, on suspicion alone, and without framing of charges. Why no “house arrest” for them?
I don’t know how the Constitution empowers you to deal with this menace of judicial overreach, but I am sure there are enough experts in the government who can suggest remedial methods. But, what I do know is that you can appoint competent law officers in the government’s judicial offices of ED, CBI, Attorney General, and Solicitor General etc. To represent the government in the courts you need sharp, experienced advocates, not fixers. There are many such people whom one encounters on Social Media, but somehow the government does not seem to think of them. In the Urban Naxals case, I am sure, a competent lawyer would not have let the matter of “house arrest” go meekly and unchallenged.
Mr Prime Minister, time is one commodity that we, as a nation, cannot afford to lose any more of. Four-and-a-half years have passed since you entered the Parliament as a newly elected PM. All the good work done in this period will come to nought if you lose control of the narrative when it matters most. Maybe you are tired and feel that you have had enough. You are perfectly within your rights to say, “Enough is enough” and retire to a Himalayan abode to spend the rest of your days in contemplation. But, think of the people whom you have led to believe that “achhe din” is around the corner. Can you let them down when they are prepared to follow you unconditionally? Remember how they supported the Demonetization scheme despite so many hardships.
Even today they are willing to accept higher fuel and gas prices, devaluation of the Rupee, and other such inconveniences because they have implicit trust in your intentions and personal incorruptibility. Today you cannot withdraw from the battle. In fact, you don’t have that choice. So, winning the next General Election with an absolute majority must become an article of faith with you and your party.