The fortune-teller and the forecaster, each indignant at being clubbed with the other, rarely get it right in India. The world, for example, hasn’t ended yet, though some might believe we’ve tried hard enough. And the dollar, like an errant child, always goes the other way. And yet here I am taking a call on the future of India’s PM. Truly, as modern bards have said, we are like that only!
Dates of carnival of democracy have been announced, and the speculations about the result have already begun. A consensus has emerged that BJP is on the downhill, and even if the party comes as the frontrunner, it is unlikely to be anywhere near its 2014 performance.
Until the results of election in the three states of Hindi heartland were out, the victory to BJP seem like an appointment kept. Great men do that; reaching out to things that others cannot spot and Modi was like that only. His longevity has been staggering and I often wonder if others deny themselves that option because they stifle the child within, draining out the enthusiasm that an untroubled childhood possesses.
The successive victories of Modi since 2014 until recent elections in Hindi heartland reflects the acknowledgement of the people to his policies and work. It is as much a tribute to his innate ability and extraordinary intelligence as it is to his youthful exuberance. It also shows the quality of Shah’s booth management and social engineering. You can’t deny any of the fact but then that was the time when there was a weak opposition and lack of leadership on the other side. But now the equations have been changed. Somebody broke Rahul’s defensive mind-set. May be he did it himself, may be he listened and agreed but the end result was that he drove past his own barriers. He was confident. He was not shying away from saying, “Mera PM Chor Hai”. Indeed he made a handsome contribution himself, being positive and aggressive throughout and taking the big decisions.
During the assembly elections Modi was like Shah Rukh Khan of DDLJ playing the Shah Rukh of Zero. He was good at it, but it wasn’t him.
It happens to the best. The mind is made up and instinct is buried. We seek to become conformists, from making the rules we bow to them. Sometimes we grow weary with battle, the next conquest becomes daunting and it was pretty evident during the campaign. Modi was looking defensive in his approach. He was afraid of taking names of his own state governments and thus was talking about the “double engine”.
One big allegation which is always associated with Modi govt is that democracy was in peril in Modi Raj but I believe it is merely undergoing change. Some people equate the two, but that happens every time a comfortable world order is disturbed. Remember it happened during the Indira Gandhi’s rule in the form of Banks Nationalization and abolition of privy purses and also during the Rajeev Gandhi’s reign in the form of Postal Bill and Shah Bano but the thing is, in India we are not used to such a powerful central. But that has also happened with the way we communicate, with the way our families are structured and with the kind of medicines we take.
And so, in spite of being on a lower row for a while, Modi Raj gave us many happy moments. And, given its resilience, it would be fair to expect a few more. And so my answer to those people who say there is a sense of fear among the public in Modi Raj is, “If Modi was a pill, he would never come sugar-coated. No sugar coating but the man is worth its salt”.
And so Modi Raj has not been the years of doom, merely one of change.
But, at the time of election people tends to forget all these things and the main driving force is perception among the people. And without an inch of doubt I must confess that this is not going to be the same perception which BJP created in 2014, this time it will be more of a vector than scalar form of perception building , it will be more of an arithmetic than chemistry and many more dimensions will be added. This time it will not be Right vs Left but a kind of “Right lower class” vs “Left upper class”. But when the going is good almost everyone can swim with the tide but it is when confronted by adversity that character emerges; or, as Warren Buffett says, when the tide goes out you know who has been swimming naked. Also remember in the movie of Salman Khan the pressure is on Salman Khan. 2019 will be a bigger election than it seems.
Apart from all the political equations, alliances at the end of the day it will be the voters who will decide the fate of the political parties and so voters need to remember while casting their votes in 2019 that Modi is a leader, not a messiah.
Like in cricket coaches don’t win matches. Players do and they always have. Likewise the development of the country is not merely done by any govt. or leader but by the citizens themselves. Coaches might tinker or straighten the player’s game, play a benevolent uncle or a stern elder brother, show a little window of opportunity, may be even a door, but they can’t win matches on their own. Same is with the leader of any country. And so while it’s important to get a good man, we can’t look upon him as a messiah.
Any person who believes so is diverting his responsibility elsewhere. Otherwise it is no different from a rich parent appointing an expensive tutor and believing that both his and his child’s responsibility is over and therefore we must not equate the presence of Modi with say, an ambulance or a fire engine and he too must not boast himself of being it. The appointment of Modi in 2014 was a bit like appointing an interior decorator to work on a flat that has a dodgy foundation. We can’t expect Modi a hero who ride in from nowhere and take India to the top. Those messiahs exist only in the movies therefore people must choose their PM wisely.
Lastly, it is very pertinent to note that neither this is the Vajpayee led BJP of 2004 nor this is that Congress party which played the role of opposition in 2004. So, equating this election with 2004 election will be completely false. Therefore, no variables are going to give consistent and correct equation as of now. Magar jitega kaun? Only time (whatever that may be) will tell!