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Underestimating the Change

The stagnation in politics had heralded a new Messiah. Narendra Modi brings hope in the absence of a strong opposition, writes G. Palanithurai.

Underestimating the Change

Change is an eternal phenomenon and the speed of change is the growing phenomenon, especially with the advent of technology. To achieve anything, one has to act according to the speed and direction of change. While working fast one should also account for the role of professionalism. One must orient himself to work effectively and professionally in whichever field to secure an intended outcome.

For a long time, people lamented that the field of politics did not display the kind of change that was reflective in other fields, such as say, the market. The market is dynamic, in constant motion, and people who are not dynamic will be kept out of it. Politicians are also in the market as consumers but they could not imbibe anything from the market to alter the narrative of politics except perhaps learning the trick of treating or converting their voters into tradable commodities. They have been using the same old retrograde parochial political tools and strategies to manage electoral politics. Over a period of time, people have acquired awareness and knowledge through socialisation and political mobilisation. As a result, people have come to the conclusion that political establishments are essentially backward looking with vested self-interests. Their agenda is rooted in making money for themselves, for their party and their politics. Since the cost of politics has escalated, the political parties have to mobilise huge resources unethically. This perception has been created and strengthened in the era of globalisation as corruption in public life is in a geometric proportion, damaging the whole body of politics, public life, and public service. People were thus fed up with this trend and started searching for an alternative. There was a time when national politics met its dead end with complete stagnation.

Narendra Modi emerging from this backdrop carefully carved out a framework of political action to change the course of politics. By taking a risky path, he ventured into the platform of political action to transform both his party and his image. He brought about a 360-degree change through a difficult process. In this process, he has enhanced his skill, capacity and capability to reach out to the masses, the real opinion makers. His careful design and activities regenerated the party to secure a complete electoral victory to the surprise of many political pundits. Both BJP and Narendra Modi have come with a new outlook and a fresh approach. Every act of Modi is fuelled by determination, direction, and hard work which are totally absent in the Opposition ranks. Narendra Modi exhibited his conviction and determination and for the people who were in despair and desperation, turned every challenge into an opportunity.
His track record of governance and achievement in economic growth achieved in Gujarat made the right wing intellectuals extend their support towards him through their writings. His contrast and competition is against Rahul Gandhi, who has had ten years both in the government and the party to reform the governance of the respected Congress. Neither could he cleanse his party of corruption nor could he voraciously support Manmohan Singh to positively alter the course of politics in India. Despite the entire setback they have not prepared themselves to reposition the party. Even now the party has not taken any visible preparatory work for the next election. The party looks like the last days of Mughal Empire. Contrarily the Narendra Modi team has moved far ahead. He demonstrates through his decisions the determinations to act without wavering. Whether we like it or not, he has provided sense and direction by putting an end to institutions and practices which are historic in nature while having far reaching consequences.
All his decisions have not yet started yielding results. He sensed that people have lost their hope in many institutions and practices. Beyond that, he has the conviction that these institutions have lost their spirit and the practices were reduced to mere rituals. He convinced people that what is going on in India is chaos in the name of politics, governance, and administration. This is being manipulated and used by self-seekers, corrupt politicians, and administrators. This has to be stopped now and a new direction has to be given. He also informed the people that he will make brutal decisions which should be tolerated for the sake of this country. Thus, he dismantled great institutions like the Planning Commission and took difficult decisions like demonetisation and GST. His constant contact with masses and his continuous mobilisation of people bewildered everyone in the opposition camp. Anna Hazare's anti corruption movement and Abdul Kalam's speeches on development consciousness among the educated youth in this country helped garner Modi's campaign for a new consciousness as essential in the development of a new India. When a new class of people were aspiring to engage themselves in the country's development and were looking for a new framework of engagement, Narendra Modi emerged as a messiah to cater to the needs of this class.
In this context, the opposition parties have indulged in attacking only Modi without evolving an alternative approach or developing new narratives. This trend provides enough scope for BJP to continue to sweep the next election as well. The opposition parties have not even shaped themselves as the real opposition. This is the plight of Indian politics today.
(The author is Rajiv Gandhi Chair, Panchayati Raj Studies, Gandhigram Rural Institute. Views are strictly personal.)

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