Recently, I came across two articles. One by Chetan Bhagat and the other by Tavleen Singh. Both Bhagat and Singh are neither blind supporters nor are they ideologically opposed critics of Narendra Modi lead BJP government at the center. Thus, opinion they express carries weight. According to both of them, Narendra Modi is becoming unpopular in the country and there is a widespread discontent among small and mid size businessmen and common people. More importantly, the gap between Mr. Modi and his chief opponent Mr. Rahul Gandhi has reduced to a considerable extent.
It is true Modi had received a massive support of voters. Many has lamented that government has frittered away the mandate. One has to understand that many ministers in government probably are not in tune with Modi’s idea of India. They would rather win election by giving short term subsidies and move on. Besides, though government had majority in Lok Sabha, in the upper house government did not have numbers. Thus many proposals of government faced opposition in the upper house.
There are several key efforts that government has tied to make. They include:
- Modi government has tried to alter social behaviour of Indians. Ideas like clean India and protection and education of a girl child were not new. Uniqueness was never before such admission made by any prime minister from the ramparts of red fort.
- Based on the ideology of his party, government has tried to reach the bottom of the pyramid. Zero balance bank account, direct transfer of benefits, supply of gas connection, universal healthcare benefits are testimony to this effort.
- Government has also made investment in creating road connectivity, improve rail services, remove corruption in government purchases etc.
Yet, I think one of the greatest negatives of Modi is his silence when innocent muslims were killed by cow vigilantes. And, many perpetrators of crime were not even brought to book. Even if we argue that law and order is a state subject, as a prime minister of India, Modi should have expressed his grief and shared his pain with victims of lynching. Many sensible development oriented Hindus shudder at the events and statements that emerged thereafter.
The question of re-election of Modi has been discussed many a time and probably many more projections will be made till 2019. Modi was elected in 2014 because of the vision he shared with Indian electorate. Election after election, post 2014, has seen that voters seem to buy into Modi’s dream of a new and different India. Thus, despite high unemployment, high fuel price, erratic implementation of GST, and inconvenience during months of demonitisation, we cannot count Modi out.
Will Modi win a second term, only time and electoral arithmatic may tell. There is no doubt, India is divided on her opinion on Modi and his performance. While a large section believes, Modi is dedicated, honest and an ideal person to bring some sense in unruly polity. On the other an equally large number believes Modi is dictatorial and must be removed. It is upto our increasingly aware Indian people, young and old, male and female, to ask who or what will they replace Modi with? Yes Modi has his faults, yet is it bigger than advantage his replacements will offer?
Does this mean we may see Mr. Rahul Gandhi as prime minister of India in 2019? Given the quirks of Indian politics, one cannot rule the possibility out. Who knows, it could be behenji Mayawati or Mamata didi. May be Mr. Deve Gowda will come out of his retirement to save India. Compulsion of coalition politics is a great term used to defeat a common enemy in the name of saving democracy. The result would be weakest person may become prime minister, because every constituent of the coalition may have an opportunity to flex his muscle and get his demand met.