Touché Modi! You have your chance
The result of a high decibel election campaign, the kinds India has never witnessed before, will be announced today. This campaign will go down in history as the most audacious endeavour, fuelled by one man’s single minded ambition to be the Prime minister of the world’s largest democracy. The otherwise indifferent western political observers and their media stood up to take notice of this amazing tango of democracy being unfolded right before their eyes.
It was indeed a little amusing at the beginning of this campaign to note that the western, especially the American media didn’t pay much attention to the impending results of these elections. But soon enough, they were taken aback by the mass opinion swinging to the right, inspired by the sheer energy, charisma and chutzpah displayed by the man they loved to hate by the dozen – Narendra Modi! It was indeed interesting to see that when they did realise the rising power of Modi, they huddled together in writing obituaries to Indian democracy and forecasting doom for the nation, comparing Modi to Hitler and reducing the BJP-RSS to a fascist Right wing conglomerate!
Well, what else can be said about a society who threw an Oscar at an-at best-average movie like Slumdog Millionaire just because it graphically depicted the dirty underbelly of an other wise fast growing economy. They regaled in our poverty and chided us for being over optimistic for our future. ‘That’s your reality ,India’ they said, ‘take this effing Oscar and go back to your god damn slums.’ Did they really like the other side of Slumdog? The rags to riches story of a chaiwalah becoming a millionaire. I hardly think so. Because if they did, then that is the first thing they would have noticed about Narendra Modi! As we wait for the result, a large section of the country is looking forward to Narendra Modi indeed taking oath as the next prime minister of India. It is indeed an unprecedented series of events that Indians of our day and age are witnessing. It is after a longtime that we would not have a prime minister thrust upon us. There are several of such category like Manmohan Singh, I K Gujaral, Charan Singh, Morarji Desai and H D Devegowda (remember his yawns and naps in parliament and public meetings? Gives me the heebi jeebies even today!), that we have suffered
Modi and not to forget Arun Jaitley (whom I call the Chanakya to Modi’s Chandragupta – the description is apt in many ways when you think about it, isn’t it?) sensed the mood of the nation very early on, as early as two years ago. This is when they started the groundwork of connecting with the people of India - the youngsters on Facebook and twitter , the middle aged and rural ones through their small but significant meetings throughout the country and later sending emissaries like Amit shah to drive home their agenda.
They gave gravity currents to what transformed into a full fledged , self engineered Modi wave. I say self engineered because in a country like India, no politician can dream of a wave all on his own merits. The duo, responsible for masterminding and executing this groundswell will soon emerge as the two most powerful men in India. They connected with the public at large in a very Presidential style of campaigning usually seen in the USA. A vote for the local MP was a vote directly for Modi. I must stop for a moment here and discuss this last sentence threadbare.
It takes a lot of conviction and supreme confidence in oneself to be saying something like that. While we can go on about the advantages of this ‘your vote is a vote for me directly’ line, did someone realise what an astute risk it was, had the results gone awry? Modi realised this more than anyone else. He went all out in this elections, fully aware that a defeat not only meant unending political ignominy but also his terminal decline from Indian politics. As he aptly said in one of his rallies, ‘I’m willing to go back and sell tea again if I lose,’ he wouldn’t have been far from it had the results been the other way round. It was this do or die situation that saw Modi showcasing an enviable burst of energy, something which was never displayed by Indian politicians.
The guys at Red Bull would have surely sprung up in their seats and taken notice of this man who accomplished this implausible feat without the support of their energy drinks. Logging 3,00,000 km of campaign travel , non stop speeches without a tele prompter – sometimes four in a day, 1200+ rallies, (480+ in real and the rest in 3D) 3D holograms (America, are you even listening to this?), unfailing updates on social media, and a ‘selfie’ at the end of it – Modi displayed his most superhuman and simple-human form to the public the way it had never witnessed in any of its leaders before.
It is this energy and connect with the roots that inspires me to have faith in this man. It is this faith that sees me rooting for him even after this election hype and hoopla is over and he takes over as the PM. ‘What is beyond Modi for PM and mission 272+?’ I ask. I have many questions and hope from Modi. Will you indeed lay the foundations of the 100 satellite cities? Will you pave the bullet train corridors? Will you link the rivers? Will you indeed have real time food-grain index? Will you indeed create the Farmers contingency fund? Will you scuttle around the red-tapism and clear the pending mega billion dollar projects but also use discretion to consider environmental concerns? Will there be IITs and AIIMS and specific skill based institutions in each state?
Will you indeed stand up to Pakistan and the Bangladeshi infiltrators with that ‘56 inch chest’ dare and send their sympathisers packing from Indian soil? Will you finally dare to discuss the flaring issues of Article 370 and the uniform civil code? Will the entire eastern part of India finally see a light of development?
I don’t think all the above questions will get their answers in the 60 months that Modi has requested us to give him. But having followed his politics since over seven years now, I’m very sure that he is here to stay for the longer haul and I am very glad to have him over Rahul Gandhi, who , I am sure, would always rue that interview he gave to Arnab Goswami. If there were any lingering doubts in anyone’s minds about his leadership capabilities, they were laid to rest after that interview. I mean , what kind of a man would stand up to international bullies like America, China or Putin for that matter, if he manages to get bullied by a TV journalist?
Congress can bid goodbye to its dream of coming to power for sometime now. But in years of wilderness, instead of being over enthusiastic or optimistic I would rather opt for a pragmatic view in which I would be more than happy, even if Modi and Jaitley do as much as move towards the direction of accomplishing what they have promised. 100 cities and bullet trains may take decades to build, but is that really the point? Look at the brighter light at the end of this tunnel. The sheer amount of investments, infrastructure and employment just these two projects would create is enough to propel India out of the poverty orbit.
At least someone is talking about building this metaphorical tunnel, instead of talking Reservations, food bills etc and squandering tax payers money and national resources. So what does it mean for an average Indian? It basically means that if you are a job aspirant then your probability of landing a respectable job will increase significantly, if you are an investor, start investing in stocks of cement complains , infrastructure and steel companies. If you are into real estate, buy land at the outskirts of the major cities and 2, 3 and 4 tier cities. If you are into education, brace up for more educational institutions and jobs and better education facilities.
The leaders of the West would like for us to have the above mentioned set of possibilities. They would rather we remain in that poverty limbo forever so that they can continue to dump their shit over us, while facing no opposition whatsoever from the timid Indian leadership. MM Singh was more happy being praised by Obama and Bush at state dinners thrown in his honour, rather than caring about the flaying economy or the suicidal farmers. What happened to the Nuclear deal by the way? Did Kalawati finally get electricity in her home? No. Did MM or RAGA even bothered to find out why it went into cold storage? You signed a multi billion dollar nuclear deal in the USA and auctioned off the coal blocks in your own country for dimes? Even a class 7th student will see through your policy Economist!
Speaking of The Economist, the international magazine of high repute, wrote a highly critical and in some places, derogatory editorial on Modi and how his being elected the PM would spell doom over India’s future. It was more of a essay , albeit a poorly researched one. The Economist, which usually backs it’s opinions with bare facts, failed to support their forecast about Modi with any logic or reasoning, leave aside any facts. Much to the dismay of the war mongers, who want India and China to take each other head on, that Modi enjoys an enviable relationship with the Chinese politburo. It is a well known fact that while the US and Europe continued to chastise and block Modi for his alleged role in 2002 Godhra riots, China welcomed him with open arms. Chinese investments in Gujarat surged significantly in the last decade while Modi was at its helm and Modi was invited to visit china on more than one occasion. It is a speculated view that Modi, in a bid to establish India as a ‘low cost manufacturing hub’ , which he has repeatedly said in his rallies and interviews, may prefer to deal with China than the US in terms of trade and may rely on Israel in terms of technology. As is also quite evident from his interviews, he doesn’t wish to leave out or block the US and Europe and is open to a free and fair economy.
Now, Modi is a firm believer in the Bhagwad Gita and the teachings of Vivekananda. ‘No man is your permanent enemy, and none is your permanent friend. It is the circumstances that make either’ the Gita says. Modi seems to be willing to follow it. He may opt for a similar approach internationally too. But there is this small little thing about Modi not many know of – he may choose to forgive but he never forgets! I remember in one of his interviews in 2006 when a journalist asked him how he felt about being denied a visa by the US. His reply was a classic, which given the circumstances then sounded like a bare dare, but becomes very relevant today on the eve of his becoming the prime minister of India . He said, ‘One day, I will transform India into such a country that this same America will stand in line to take a visa from us!’