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Millennium Post

PM’s vision for global India

Having won over large sections of people for his action-oriented government, assigning priority tasks to his senior colleagues to accomplish in the coming weeks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also turning to his larger vision of a strong and united India, for which he wants first to galvanise his party to consolidate itself all over the country.

Now, ungrudgingly perhaps, Modi has emerged as the supreme leader of the ruling party, with hardly any rivals left in contention and energetic seniors having been absorbed into his Cabinet. He has asked his party associates, karya kartas in particular, to continue to work for the success of BJP in all the states going to polls over the next year, as they did in the national elections.

This certainly for the BJP is a historic turn of the tide, as the party’s spiritual guide, RSS, notes and expects a pan-Indian consolidation.  Modi, the architect of a magnificent national victory, has been enthusiastically embraced by RSS, which gloats over the fact that for the first time since independence, there is ‘culmination’ of the party’s slogan over three decades for a United India.

Ram Madhav, Member of RSS National Executive, noted that the election outcome has led to ‘decimating the politics of caste, religion and vote-banks. Today that idea has become pan-Indian, encompassing all regions and all sections of society, with justice for all and appeasement of none’. That, according to him, is the central message of elections and ‘therein lies the future of India’.

But Modi, with his breadth of vision and political sagacity, would not be hustled into any rash moves, however committed he remains to the ideology that RSS propagates. Governance of India effectively comes first to him and Modi wants to see an economically strong India firmly secures a place of honour in the comity of nations. He would at the same time strengthen the domestic capacity and capabilities of India both in economic and security realms.

Also, it is inconceivable that BJP will not outperform all other parties in the forthcoming elections in Maharashtra or Haryana or even possibly in Bihar, over the next eighteen months. As these elections get closer, the Modi government would have had sufficient time to show up solid results within. Its current noisy reform agenda, if followed with a path-breaking Budget in July, would also earn international approbation.

For the immediate, Modi would seek the cooperation of all states for getting through his reform agenda and for some of the tough economic measures that his government would need to come up with to improve the state of public finance and enforce fiscal discipline.

A number of pre-budget decisions would have to be taken on sectoral issues relating to coal and power and fuel prices.

Powerful regional leaders, who bettered Modi with their own records of victory like Chief Ministers Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu, Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal, who also routed the Left, and Naveen Patnaik in Odisha, are not antagonistic in any way to Modi’s supremacy at the Centre so long as their states’ rights and interests are fully safeguarded. Patnaik said he would extend his co-operation to the Centre on a reciprocal basis. He would be receptive to new ideas and act on them on merits, if judged to be in the state’s interests. Mamata Banerjee has voiced some concerns and her demands on the Centre include the alleviation of the heavy debt burden of West Bengal.

Jayalalithaa, more friendly toward Modi, has been sounded by BJP leaders on support to the Modi Government.  In her meeting with the prime minister on 3 June, she was expected to raise certain issues of concern to Tamil Nadu and also demand that UPA’s oil pricing mechanism of raising diesel prices should be revised as frequent revision of prices was hurting the consumer and the economy. This certainly is a major policy issue in the context of energy and fiscal discipline policies. BJP appears to be more interested in having Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK as a major ally of NDA. This may be for securing her support especially in the Rajya Sabha where BJP lacks majority for enacting important legislation. Secondly, BJP would also like to be aligned to AIADMK for the Tamil Nadu elections in 2016 as it would help the party to improve its base. Tamil Nadu has now a BJP MP Pon Radhakrishnan, who is a Minister of State.
Modi himself is too willing to accommodate the states as much as possible in his scheme of things and likely he may agree to a greater devolution of policies and programmes which could be determined at the state levels and this would also encourage healthy competition among them.  At the same time, with his concept of a strong and united India, he would be keen to keep powerful chief ministers on his side.

Now, here in India and abroad there are apprehensions of how Modi would use his
unchallenged supremacy in the Party and dominance in the polity. While he has been praised as a decisive administrator and a reformer who would produce results, the concerns highlighted, especially in foreign media, are that Modi may turn out to be ‘more of a Hindu nationalist’ and also that he could become authoritarian in exercising his power.

Also, the fears are expressed that Modi may come under pressure from RSS at a later stage, once the polity becomes increasingly unipolar, in the pursuit of a goal to which Modi himself is committed. The recent references to Article 370 on Jammu and Kashmir by a BJP Minister Jitendra Singh immediately after being sworn in, and the heated controversy it has triggered has added to those concerns.

Though Modi did not feel called upon to react to this development, his Ministers have given indications that there would be some structured discussion on the Article 370 within the government. What is wrong with a debate? one of the RSS leaders asked.

But such a discussion at an early stage of the Modi sarkar would not be politically prudent, given the type of reactions coming out from other parties like the Congress which sees the statement from government side on the Article as ‘deliberate and intended to politics and polarise’.

In the BJP manifesto, construction of Ram Temple and uniform civil code have been listed as areas of action, and liberals in the country view these together with Article 370 abrogation forming the crux of ‘Hindutva agenda’ which could get promoted in the unique opportunity that the 2014 elections have placed in the hands of BJP.
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