Before 2014 elections I had vigorously campaigned for Modi as PM among my friends and family. I was able to convince some of them and some had even voted for Modi apparently for me, on my insistence. After 4.5 years I think I vow all these people an explanation.
Do I regret recommending people to vote for Modi? Would I still campaign for Modi again in 2019 among my friends and family? And importantly would I again vote for him in 2019?
At the outset let me make it clear. I belong to the salaried class, living in Tamil Nadu belonging to a group that doesn’t deserve any reservation in education or in jobs. So I didn’t get anything much from this government or for that matter, from any government before this.
But still I would vote for Modi in 2019, I would again recommend people to vote for him and no, I absolutely don’t regret campaigning for him in 2014 among my friends and family.
Here are my reasons.
I always feel that being a good person with good intent isn’t sufficient to become a good leader or to run a government. It’s just a necessary condition not a sufficient condition. So does this government satisfy this necessary condition? Yes, it does.
After 10 years of corrupt non-governance by UPA anybody who ran a non-corrupt government with minimal work on ground would be voted back in 2019. But that didn’t stop PM Modi from taking unpopular decisions like Demonetization and GST. A whole lot of infrastructure related work, like an all weather road in Kashmir, 4.5 KM rail cum road bridge in Assam which were started during Vajpayee era or even before that during Cong times were taken out of oblivion and were completed in record time. Even after 4.5 years of running the govt Modi does a monthly meeting called Pragati to check the status of central govt projects and central govt sponsored projects in states. The results for the same is evident from the fact that most of the projects started by this govt has been completed on time within its tenure, a sort of first in our country.
Similarly despite Aadhar being a Congress proposed scheme, the govt went ahead with it because they realized it was useful for the people. Aadhar implementation has helped the govt weed out scores of ghost employees in various govt departments and fake beneficiaries of various govt schemes.
Now let’s look at some of the achievements
2. Rural electrification
Isn’t it a shame that even after 67 years of independence we had 18,500 villages with no access to electricity in 2014? Electrification of these villages were completed by April 2018. When the news was announced Congress and its supporters shamelessly started claiming that the pace of the electrification was much slower than before. But what they safely didn’t mention is that most of the 18,500 villages were those which the previous governments had given up on due to its terrain and a lot of it being in naxal strongholds.
The work started with solving the mess in coal mine allocation and making it transparent through e-auction. This took care of easy availability of coal. The power ministry then came up with a mobile app to track the status of electrification of every state internally to drive people to achieve their target by the due date. The app was then opened up to public as well.
My personal experience: Even till 2014-2015 there were times when I had to arrange for temporary power back up in my home in my village whenever I visited as the power was sporadic. But now power cuts even in remote villages are thing of the past.
3. Financial inclusion:
There was a time when I used to have a very high regard for Mr. Manmohan Singh. Then I realised that he was overrated economist and an underrated politician. Why do I say that? Despite being a FM for 5 years and PM for 10 years and being a bureaucrat in the finance ministry for even longer he couldn’t ensure every Indian family had at least 1 bank account. It’s a simple first step to bring people into formal economy. On being a underrated politician, I would think why would MMS tolerate all the insults and continue as PM when he could have quit respectably at any point in the 10 years? How different was he to O. Pannerselvam, the rubber stamp CM of Tamilnadu? Probably despite all the insults he wanted to be in Power.
It took a Narendra Modi to bring people into formal economy by having zero balance accounts opened for at least 1 person in every family. This has led to the govt being able to directly deposit the subsidies of various schemes into the beneficiary accounts and avoid any middle man and reducing chances of any cuts taken by anybody in between to a major extent. Also I have scores of people in my village who are so happy to finally have access to a bank account and an ATM card that they can’t stop talking about it.
4. Improvements in railways:
Anybody who has traveled in trains in the last 2-3 years would vouch for the fact that there has been a remarkable improvement in Indian Railways starting from the level of cleanliness of the trains and station to the services offered in the trains. The most impactful change being the speed of the IRCTC portal. A minster in the previous govt had remarked that they had intentionally left IRCTC portal to be slow because people will be disappointed if they are able to login and find that they got only waitlisted tickets. Genius!
- Now you pay only on MRP for the things you buy on stations.
- Lots of high speed trains have been introduced consistently reducing the travel time in lot of the routes.
- Lots of stations have been upgraded and you get high speed internet in a lot of them now.
- Number of unmanned railway crossing is now almost eliminated and you get to hear a lot less about train accidents now.
There is an aggressive debate on whether DeMo is good or bad. But something that’s given and even BJP supporters accept is that it could have been implemented better. How much better, that’s again debatable. But in the long term it definitely has its benefits.
By the government’s own claim almost more than 90% of the demonetized notes have come back, which is seen as a sign of failure of DeMo. But what’s never mentioned is that along with the demonetized notes government also got information about all the hoarders. This has lead the government being able to crack down on 2.1 lakh shell companies and swoop down on hoarders.
I know what’s on your mind now. You want to ask me “So do you mean there is no black money in circulation today and there is no shell companies”.
No. Obviously I don’t mean that. No one can achieve that. But the number of shell companies have gone down considerably and hoarding black money has become very difficult. Given time it would come down even more.
One of the clear indications of this is the real estate market. As all of us know real estate used to be a place where black money used to be involved in almost all transactions. But real estate market has taken a considerable hit and level of black money involved in it has considerably come down.
6. Food price inflation:
There is lots of hue and cry over petrol prices. It has to be there, especially after BJP made lots of noise over raising fuel prices during the congress govt. But what also has to be kept in mind is that food price inflation has been consistently negative in the last 2-3 years. The prices of pulses and vegetables have been in control. I always go grocery shopping with my wife, sometimes I do it myself. So I can personally vouch for this.
I don’t know much on GST. So wouldn’t be able to comment much. Like DeMo there have been complaints of bad implementation of GST. Learnt from couple of my family members who are auditors that the implementation is very bad. They say it’s bordering on “Tax Terrorism”. It’s that bad it seems. But to be frank the fact that BJP went ahead with implementing GST impacting one of thier core voter base (Traders) is itself commendable. A shrewd politician wouldn’t have done this. Only somebody with intent of doing something good would do this.
Most important. You can have roads, railways and electricity. But what if you don’t have food to eat. What has this government done for agriculture.
8.1 Fasal Bima Yojana
One of the ways of teaching people fishing rather than feed them a fish on a daily basis in the name of farm loan waiver.
8.2 Neem coating for Urea
Urea is one of the primary fertilizers which the government gives to the farmers on subsidy. But as usual it was being looted and diverted to chemical industry. Now the urea is being Neem coated at the source. It has 2 fold benefits
a. No more looting as Neem coated urea can’t be used in industries
b. Urea quality improves
8.3 Soil health cards
Information on soil sample collected and tested and subsequently Soil Health Card issues under the Soil Health Card scheme. Read here how it has benefited.
Coming to where they have failed or could have done better.
1. Chest thumping:
BJP sometimes doesn’t seem to know when to talk and when to keep quiet. There are lots of achievements for which they can take credit, but chest thumping on surgical strike is one of the worst things a government could have done. When Modi govt took over they changed the policy towards Pak from defense to offensive defense. It was a great decision. But rightly so nobody from the govt talked much about it. Army talked about it much later on how it has helped it deal with Pak. The same should have happened with surgical strike.
After what happened with Kamaraj every politician is bound to be a little paranoid about losing an election even after doing good work. So it’s ok to exaggerate a little. You can do 50% and claim credit for 75%, but not good to claim credit for 200%. Even if you are the next best thing after sliced bread you don’t claim to be that. Ironically if you don’t claim that people will start saying you are the next best thing after sliced bread.
2. Ignoring middle class:
The working class and marginalized class needs the govt’s help and also is their core vote bank. The businesses help the govt generate employment and also donates them the money to run election campaign. So it’s understandable that the govt would focus on these 2 groups. But you can’t ignore the middle class for that. They too contribute by paying upto 30% of their income as tax and also pay indirect tax on every product they buy using their already taxed income. The govt could have come up with some income tax rebates for them or some kind of incentives.
3. Alleged religious intolerance:
Congress is corrupt.
BJP is communal.
Everybody “knows” this. Or at least the general perception is that. Cong is definitely more communal than they seem to be.
Liberals and the Luytens media batting for Cong want us to believe that communal tension in the country had gone out of proportion between 1999 and 2004 and now after 2014 because of the BJP govt at the center.
But a simple internet search will show the list of communal clashes during Cong rule and it runs into triple digits. By saying this I am not justifying any communal clash in any era. I personally feel if people are still fighting in the name of religion and caste we can’t claim to be the superior race. Only people with cow dung for their brains would fight in the name of religion and caste. But to claim that it’s only during BJP era we have seen communal clashes is not even a little bit true.
It’s not that BJP is communal, it’s just that Cong follows the principle of minority appeasement. No less than a Cong PM declares in a public forum that “minorities have the first right to out country’s resources” and no journalist worth their salt was ready to question Manmohan Singh then. But then BJP is communal.
Cong’s performance review committee after 2014 election came up with the finding that Cong is perceived to be a minority appeasement party. The result of which is that Rahul Gandhi goes temple hopping, declares himself Janue Dhari Brahmin and is seen in saffron clothes doing Hawan during MP elections. To the Cong minorities are just a vote bank. When they figure there might a majority vote consolidation Rahul Gandhi becomes a Janue Dhari B rahmin. But still they are secular. As per me anybody who thinks Cong is secular is intellectually challenged. If you still think Cong is secular Modi himself has the answer for you in the video below.
Another word that’s thrown around a lot is intolerance. Pretty much everybody knows Gauri Lankesh. She was shot dead by Hindu fanatics because she wrote against Modi. Or so is claimed. Now just a week after that incident 2 journalists were shot dead in Bihar. If anybody can name at least 1 of them without doing a internet search now, I will accept the claim that BJP is intolerant.
A mentally challenged guy was lynched in Kerala for stealing food. I don’t believe in caste but for the purpose of the argument he happened to be a dalit. But CPM or Kerala is not intolerant. But when Akhlaq is lynched entire country becomes intolerant. No one even cared to mention that law and order is a state subject and it was the responsibility of Akhilesh Yadav as the CM to have prevented it. We are all shamed as a society by Cong, media and the liberals. You might hate me for doing this comparison. You might think I am a Modi bhakt, but I don’t care. Truth doesn’t always fit into everybody’s agenda.
Media today is not reporting news they are trying to fit things in to their agenda. Let me state something that’s obvious
NO COUNTRY AS DIVERSE AS INDIA IS AS TOLERANT OR AS PEACEFUL AS INDIA.
If you have not realized this yet I pity your intelligence. And this is not because of Cong or Nehru. We have been like this for generations.
I have not given too much numbers here. I have gone purely by the changes on ground that has actually impacted people’s life. If you are looking for numbers I have something better a dashboard. Here it is.
Let me wrap this up by stating something that’s again obvious. If Modi is not able to develop India or reform the economy nobody can do it for at least the next 20 years. Because no one in the current set of politicians has even 10% of his intent or capacity to change the country.