Spurring on governance with skill and alacrity

After the return from his so called ‘sabbatical’, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has been trying to make up for wasted time by making vicious personal attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He has all the right to make ad-hominem attacks on political rivals. However, to regain lost ground he must also show the basic political intelligence of not giving any credit to his adversary.

The Congress leader has called the prime minister a leader in a “suit-boot”. By making this comment, is he criticising the prime minister or accepting the fact that Modi is in a state of readiness and has his hands on the pulse of the government. Gandhi, on the other hand, had to rush to the streets to tear his hair; I think that would actually be sheets of paper, to make himself heard by the Congress party government on the issue of convicted politicians. Unlike Gandhi, Modi makes his own decisions and does not waste time by delaying key decisions.

There are two case studies in the recent past which succinctly show Modi’s calibre as an effective leader. The first case was the prompt evacuation of Indian and foreign nationals from the civil war hit Yemen. The second case showcasing the Prime Minister’s leadership skills would be the speedy relief operations in quake-hit Nepal. In both these cases, the prime minister projected India’s speed, dexterity and skill in handling natural and man-made disasters. If I remember correctly, the Congress had not displayed much energy and pro-activeness during the unfortunate Uttarakhand catastrophe. Given this, I am not sure how much street credibility Rahul Gandhi possesses.

On April 25, returning after inaugurating the Intelligence Bureau’s National Intelligence Academy (NIA), the Prime Minister had taken a ride on the Delhi Metro with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. It was during this trip that he felt that the earth trembling. He immediately asked to find out whether an earthquake was taking place. 

As soon as he was informed of it being located in Nepal, he put the government into lightning fast action. From his experience of handling the 2001 Bhuj quake, Modi immediately gauged that the resultant damages could be huge. In no time, the Foreign, Home and Defence ministries were summoned to a 3 pm meeting. In Kathmandu, the embassy carried a quick check on the condition of the runway at Tribhuwan International Airport.

While the Indian Air Force got its craft ready, the Prime Minister called his Nepalese counterpart Sushil Koirala to take him onboard. With the diplomatic decks cleared, the first Indian C-17 Globemaster aircraft with skilled National Disaster Response Force teams and medical equipment landed in Kathmandu within five hours of the calamity, 24 hours well ahead of the first Chinese aircraft. Through speed and skill, the prime minister insured that India didn’t lose its position of diplomatic primacy in Nepal.

On the other hand, the lack of quick decisions, lethargy in implementation and non-accountability of the political leadership made the country incur heavy losses during the regime of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi may not have a foreign degree to flaunt but his application on issues which matter to the nation and keeping politics aside in matters of national interest is gradually seeing him emerge as a very skilled statesman. We have been able to rekindle the fruitful relationship with all our neighbours in the past one year. This has happened because the prime minister has made a personal intervention on complex issues and tried to resolve matters through his personal equations with his counterparts in other nations.

However, he has achieved all this by never compromising on the interest of the nation. Whenever, the prime minister travels abroad, he has a job at hand, unlike Rahul Gandhi, who goes into hiding for two months, leaving his party in a state of absolute disarray. We are glad that we have a Prime Minister, who has his boots on, ready to lead his government on a roadmap, which he has thoughtfully drawn.

(The author is general secretary, Delhi BJP and Member, Standing Committee, South MCD. The views expressed here are personal)
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