Government on the right path
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi completes two years in office, various media reports have an underlining feature that his government has to be judged on the issues of progressive governance and development. The hectoring by the Opposition to undermine the process of development especially through non-cooperation in Rajya Sabha clearly has borne little fruit as the Prime Minister is committed to delivering despite the overwhelming odds.
Ordinarily, in political parlance, development means building roads, ports, GDP growth, stock markets, agriculture, exports and international trade, among other issues. To the BJP these are important issues. But the notion of development means much more to the Narendra Modi government. In the past two years. It has shown that progress means opportunities to utilise potential to the hilt, which can only be achieved through overall improvement in daily life and well-being. The incorruptible and progressive leadership provided by the Prime Minister has put India firmly on the path to becoming a global power.
A recent survey brought out on the occasion of the Modi Government completing two years in office said the regime has been rated by 62 percent of metropolitan Indians as having done a good or very good job. The survey said that Modi himself has been perceived by nearly half the respondents in the survey (47 percent) as being a strong leader who wants to deliver. The survey was conducted by a global market research company in India’s eight biggest cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, and Ahmedabad. The 1,348 people polled were aged 18 to 45.
Being a practicing politician in the national capital for the past three decades I can say with some certainty that it’s very difficult to get the approval of the Indian urban middle-class. One of the decisive findings of this survey is that just 17 percent of the respondents did not approve of the Narendra Modi government.
In fact even in cities like Kolkata and Chennai, where the BJP has a marginal presence, the performance has not been rated abysmally, though the residents of these cities do not have the first-hand experience of Modi Governance. This is a very big achievement for the leader, who for the larger part of his career, has been harassed by a biased Indian intelligentsia, ever eager to draw a negative picture about his initiatives. These figures clearly show that the Prime Minister, in the past two years, has definitley emerged as a pan-India leader with no match to his personality existing in any political party.
While development of the infrastructure and financial sector is there for everybody to see, the Narendra Modi government’s biggest achievement is that it has not added to corrupt goverance practices. Rather, there is a very visible percentage (about 30) which feels that it has brought corruption down. It’s not a mean achievement given the deep roots that corruption has made in public life over several decades.
Despite the Opposition hitting out at the government repeatedly on the issue of battling black money, the majority of Indians do not mistrust the government on having taken the initiatives on this front. It’s not easy to track money siphoned off abroad and parked in tax havens. But certainly Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has been at it from day one and has successfully made inroads too. I see that day is not far when the Opposition will have to eat crow on the issue.
The hallmark of Narendra Modi’s governance is that people continue to be expectant about him. His personal initiatives and Spartan lifestyle have strengthened people’s hope in his ability to deliver. This is no mean achievement for a leader who has risen from the ranks and come from a state to head the government in the national capital. Despite holding the office of the Prime Minister, his adversaries have cared little for his office and have tried besmirching his personal image with baseless allegations. But to his credit none of these have stuck with him.
Using cricket symbolism, the Narendra Modi government has effectively played out the opening overs and will now only build on the strong foundation it has laid for good governance.
(The writer is general secretary, Delhi BJP. Views expressed are strictly personal.)