As India enters into the fourth of the seven phase elections, Indian electorate are at cross roads, not because they have two different viewpoints to choose from, but the lack of an alternative vision for India apart from what Modi offers. In a flourishing democracy, the need to present a strong, powerful and sustainable choices to the electorate is extremely crucial.
On his part, Narendra Modi has from the last 19 years, presented his model of development in front of the people. By the democratic scale of measurement, his model seems to have gained wide acceptability, given that he has been consistently voted to power. His tenure as a Prime Minister, saw a strong emphasis on Infrastructure as the foundation principle for a strong economic development. Expansion of tax base, transitioning into a more mature taxation system seemed to be the way forward on the economic front. Social Development saw a burgeoning thrust with schemes like Ujwala Yojana (LPG for poor), Home for all, Healthcare for poor to name a few. The government’s approach was that of enabling versus spoon feeding read distributing subsidies. The government had arguably a more clear and articulated posture on National Security than the previous dispensations.
Modi’s critics may have hundred reasons to berate him, lack of strong vision and clarity is surely not one of them. Whether critics, agree or disagree with Modi, the fact that he has an approach to offer to the people is irrefutable.
An alternative vision, which is mature, pragmatic, has a realistic roadmap and strong leadership, a choice, that Indian public can compare to that of Modi’s vision is what is missing today. A vibrant democracy should offer at least two irresistible flavours of progress to its electorate — a dilemma that is more desirable than the current state of affairs.
Schemes and doles are not vision, they are at most part of a vision. The Nyay scheme that Congress announced is as shallow as the “gaddas” dug through MNREGA. After reducing to their worst ever total in Lok Sabha, instead of using the 5 years to rejuvenate the party, connect with masses, reenergise their cadre, infuse their viewpoints into the public through various forums, attract young talent into the leadership, Congress wasted their precious time in abusing Modi. They channelled their entire might in pursuing narratives like Award Warsi, Intolerance etc. Throwing muck at Modi was a failed approach. It only helped Modi to consolidate his position. Instead, Congress should have done a course correction in 2014 to present an alternative which is more acceptable to people as an option.
Instead of using Karnataka to develop as a model state of Congress’ vision, they thrived on corruption, incompetence and vote bank politics. A sincere effort to define and implement their vision in Karnataka would have helped them not just retain the state in 2018, but a strong resistance to Narendra Modi’s juggernaut in 2019.
While people are happy with Modi and it is amply clear that a Modi led NDA at the centre is imminent, the fact that Indian democracy has had no real alternative in 2 consecutive elections is not good for a healthy democracy. The opposition crying wolf that democracy is in danger may actually come true in 2024, but not because of Modi as they say, but because of lack of a credible opposition, which is themselves. The need of the hour is that the recently formed government in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to leverage the opportunity given to them by the people develop alternate model of sustainable development that can match the competence of Modi’s Model. So that at least when India goes to election in 2024 again, the Indian electorate has two flavours of development paradigm to choose from.
Can congress see beyond the Nehru Parivar? Can they break away from the infamy of corruption and dynastic politics? Can young blood like Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia rise up and challenge the oligarchy of Nehru Parivar? Most importantly, can they liberate themselves from the Leftist eclipse and carve a niche identity for themselves? No other opposition part has a chance to attempt this, except for a new emergent congress.
Remember, Congress Mukt Bharath is not about destroying Congress, the party, but the infamy that it represents today.The real danger to democracy is definitely not Narendra Modi, but the fact that the opposition is running around like headless chickens. In 2024 when Congress and other opposition parties don’t have an alternative to offer to Indian Electorate, that is a sure signal of democracy going to docks.