In the run up to the 2014 General Elections, almost all national TV channels were showing waves of people chanting, after the call of Narendra modi, then BJP’s prime ministerial candidate “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”. It was a phenomenon the likes of which was seldom seen after the end of the era of Indira Gandhi. The fact of the matter is in the last few decades India could not claim to have a national leader who commands such seeming popularity as Narendra Modi did, at least in the Hindi belt.
Modern India had produced Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Shubash Chandra Bose, Indira Gandhi, Jaya Prakash Narayan whom the people of India naturally took them as their own leaders.
At the beginning of his taking over the reins of the country Narendra Modi for a brief period apparently neared to the league of these national leaders before Hindutva had taken over his apparent national image. His oratory did not match the delivery of his promises of Vikas and employment; and the cry of Hindutva has taken over Vikas in the national debate.
The chant of Hindu Rastra by the Sanghivadis to which BJP and Narendra Modi are loyal to, have divided the Hindus. The cow vigilantes – the Gau Rakshaks have resorted to violence against the Muslims and Dalits in the name of protecting Hinduism exemplified by the horrific scenes of lynching happening across the country. People of other faiths specially Muslims and Christians felt insecure due to the rising trends of intolerance across the country.
What markedly differentiates the Modi rule from all other governments since independence is the dangerously sharp rise of communal politics. Ministers and responsible party leaders of the BJP have blatantly made extremely inflammatory statements against non-Hindus without any qualm even when there was horrific instances of mob lynching by the cow vigilantes.
The fact of the matter is there is alleged political patronage of the lynching across the country by the Gau Rakshaks; that raises serious questions on the credibility and credence to Narendra Modi of being a national leader of this pluralistic nation.
On the economic front – Modi’s decision to demonetize Rs 500 & Rs 1000 currency notes in Nov. 2016 had miserably failed. The govt. had claimed that the objective for demonetization is to curtail the shadow economy and check its domino effects. However according to RBI report, 99% of the demonetized notes had returned. And what turned out was the prolonged cash shortages in the months that followed that led to utter chaos. The exercise was futile and it had made the common man suffer immensely and had cost quite a few lives.
Coming to Modi’s policy towards the farmers, it may safely be said that his farmers policy raises serious question. The rural distress in many states in the last two consecutive years had led to terrible cases of suicides by many farmers unable to repay loans. When Modi can waive off loans for the industrialists running into thousands of crores, why not for the poor farmers ? This is the question.
However in the first week of July, 2018, Modi had announced his ‘Historic’ MSP hike which is undoubtedly an attempt to woo the farmers ahead of 2019 elections. But it could be difficult for Modi to defend his earlier apathy towards the farmers.
Now, the defense deal that Modi had made with the French for the fighter jet – Rafale has become a major issue. It is alleged that the deal involves a huge kickback to the tune of thousands of crores. This controversy has let Modi open to attacks on his “na kha-oongya aur na khane dung-ga” image. However the Rafale is reported to have the potential of becoming another Bofors.
What is most intimidating of Modi’s rule is his attack on people’s right to privacy through Aadhar telling, people don’t have the right to privacy, even as the Supreme Court had struck it down.
Now, Modi’s strong-arm fascist like tactics on individual liberty and the Rafale deal and the rising temperature of communal atmosphere in the society since his taking over the reins of power the general public have got the taste of what his Savka Saath, Savka Vikas !
Now, all these factors coupled with the disillusionment of the youths would certainly have a great impact on the perception of the general Indian public. This is going to influence the voter’s mind when they go to the polling stations in the polls of 2019 General Elections.
William Gurumayum, Sub-Editor of Imphal Times is a resident of Sagolband Salam Leikai. He has been with Imphal Times since beginning. A avid adventure lover, writes mostly travelogue.
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