By: M.R. Lalu
Narendra Modi’s premiership once again topped the list of the most popular leaders across the globe. This time it was a US-based consulting firm ‘Morning Consult’ which came out with its approval ratings. The firm has firmly estimated 78 per cent approval rating for the Indian Prime Minister among the 22 global leaders it enlisted. Among those leaders who followed Modi in the popularity ranking are Mexican President Andres Manuel, Swiss President Alain Berset and American President Joe Biden. For an average Indian, this success status of his Prime Minister is a subject of great jubilation. Modi could consistently maintain his popularity among the Indian populace since the very first day he began to hold the top office. But the fact that all his opponents in India need to seriously focus on is the reason behind such a frequent ascent by a leader in a complicated democracy. India’s history seldom witnessed such a resounding recognition enjoyed by a leader for almost a decade from outside the Nehru-Gandhi clan. The immense popularity enjoyed by Jawaharlal Nehru is worth remembering. So was the fame of Indira Gandhi though her policies, in a later period, got her bad reputation. Nehru was the product of India’s independence struggle but Indira came with the baggage of dynasty pride.
Nehru continued to enjoy popularity with nobody in Indian politics to counter his fame for more than a decade. But the political situation in the country in a later period became a total mishmash with coalition governments grabbing power. Political compulsion was the deciding factor behind choosing a leader and many Prime Ministers appeared with the quickness of clouds in India’s political sky and disappeared without casting much impression. Modi’s regime brought a transition with a single party holding the reign with no credible opposition capable of challenging its power. All those consolidations surfacing in the horizon seem to be feeble and a regime change is an unfeasible reality for 2024. As of now, the saffron regime led by Modi has numerous eye-catching achievements to bank on; which means, the ruling party does not have to use its Hindutva plank for detonating its regime renewal. Despite the desperation and accusation ranging from its principal opposition the Congress to all those regional satraps who nurture dreams for their national emergence, Modi is seen singlehandedly depleting their acrimony, both personal as well as political. The latest to the array of condemnation came from the BBC which, with its agenda of vilification, threw the whole episode of Godhra riots with scripted narratives once again. The whole dubious agenda was to defame the most popular leader of the world’s largest democracy.
The dangerous trend in this vilification drive is the contribution of Modi’s opposition who relentlessly play into the hands of a western agenda. Re-scripting the western catchphrases, this home-grown opposition is once again out with complete hostility and the parliament being frequently paralysed. The parties in the opposition began to blabbermouth on the Adani meltdown and their accusation levelling against Modi’s closeness with the business tycoon kept the parliament procedures languish. The forces aligned against a potential ascent of the Modi phenomenon in 2024 are playing from different corners of the globe. The BBC’s misadventure was evidential for such a calamitous well-structured agenda being popularised. Modi’s premiership has put many leaders in an awkward situation and the Prime Minister without any PR blitz is comfortable about the chiselling of a stronger regime and its ability to move beyond 2024. However, Modi’s political opposition foretells a serious setback for him in the upcoming state elections.
Indira Gandhi’s long premiership witnessed strong national leaders stalling her personal ambitions. A string of capable opposition leaders rooted in their political ideology stood against her authoritarian administration. Leaders like A.B. Vajpayee, A.K. Goplan, Piloo Modi and a towering Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan and many others stood power-fencing the Indira ascent. But for Modi the situation is different. No leaders with resounding national fame and incorruptible personality are visible credibly posing him a challenge. Modi’s clean image itself is a weapon that can easily disarm the whole fighting spirit of the parties opposing him; the opposition gets further disarmed when a constellation of bright welfare programmes launched for the common man gets huge reception all over the country. The PM Jan Dhan Yojana, Make in India, Swachh Bharat Mission, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, PM Mudra Yojana, PM Ujjwala Yojana, Digital India Mission, Start-up India and many more uncountable initiatives by his government keep pouring goodwill in abundance into his casket. Above all, see his earth shattering decisions such as the Triple Talaq Bill, the abrogation of Article 370, Surgical Strike, Balakot Air Strike, Demonetisation, to name a few. All these are sure to go down in history of Indian politics and his regime would be remembered as a gratifying period. Irrespective of the criticisms hammered by the opposition, Modi has been nonchalant and articulative throughout his tenure.
The Ram Temple in Ayodhya has always been a venerated subject for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Modi’s premiership is all set to witness the grand temple becoming a reality. A poll promise of his party for decades and the agenda that helped it capture political fortunes since the demolition of the controversial structure in 1992; the inauguration of the temple is sure to intensify the mood of the nation favouring a third regime for him. India’s G20 presidency with Narendra Modi’s diplomatic conquest over a world scenario would further stimulate his stride. He has a pack of success cards to display as he approaches the General Election. A vast gamut of the organisational machinery of the Sangh would mobilize door to door electoral campaigns for him. For the Congress, its nationwide Yatra could have been a game changer. But its endeavours to defame Modi might land it in more disadvantageous positions. Modi’s charisma with his global glow growing enormously, the Congress is still far from posing a threat to his party in 2024.
(Freelance Journalist/Author of “India @ 75- A Contemporary Approach”)
Perennial Ascent with Political Accuracy
By: M.R. Lalu