Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Past of Modi Should Not be dimmed To Look for Future


In the dazzle of his "landslide victory"( BJP securing 31% votes) should we dim the legacy of Narendra Modi as chief minister of Gujarat during the past over ten years.

If so, it would be a suppression of our perception and sensibility that in this celebration of near eclipse of dynastic and corrupt Congress regime, and dawn of promised economic prosperity under Modi's premiership that we simply think no more of the massacre in Gujarat.

And that we turn back on serious human rights violation, the rule of intimidation, false police encounters and killings, protection and rehabilitation of convicted genocide criminals.

And that we notice almost dismissal registry of human development as laid out by Noble laureate Amartya Sen and adopted by the United Nations in our obsessiveness on ambiguous "Gujarat Model" of economic growth which has not trickled down to underprivileged and poor.

Under his absolute and authoritative command Modi's downright refusal of giving his party's zero representation to Muslims in the Gujarat state legislature is also part of his legacy.

Fast-forward, Modi is now the prime minister of India after a grueling fight whereby the issues of Gujarat riots and the poor human development records in the state got lost in the hot and often ludicrous personal barbs among the campaign leaders of all the parties. Perhaps the BJP leader steered it that.

As well he strategically put the Hindutva agenda on the back burner and saffron card close to his chest.

However, his entire election drive was more focused on the terse maxim "it's the economy, stupid". All through out the poll operation Modi asked for votes in the name of development, jobs and economic opportunity and stability. In return he promised less government and more governance, decisive leadership as compared to a decade of dithering, and economic growth as against stagnation.

 “The government should hear from the poor and work for the poor. My government will be dedicated to the poor, youth and women. It will be a government of villages, farmers, Dalits and deprived sections. All efforts will be aimed to live up to their hopes and expectations,” Modi said as he stepped in first time the Indian parliament.

In the "temple of democracy",as he epitomized the institution of parliament, "humbled and grateful" Modi seems to be in the process to attain a new avatar.

In all fairness, after winning a mammoth, clean and fair election with a promise of strong leadership, India's new democratically elected prime minister has certainly "given wings to the hope, aspirations and dreams of millions", and that includes the 69 percent who did not vote for him.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

India Election: Modi, Congress & Third Front

By Promod Puri

It is Narendra Modi of Bharatiya Janata Party vs the rest.

Vote for the BJP is not a vote for the party but for Modi himself as he prefers it that way during the current India election campaigns.

Even the party he belongs to BJP, including its veteran leaders and founders, and the party's motherboard RSS, are ducked under his fortifying stronghold.

So Modi is the BJP and the BJP is Modi. All in one.

And among the rest of the political outfits, though there are opposing candidates, their individual target has been Modi.

This is the Modi cult. If he becomes prime minister it can be alarming and even terrifying for the following reasons:

1. Modi carries an indelible tattoo of being anti minorities particularly Muslims, and to some extent being anti Dalits and Schedule Caste. He is silent on the issue of violence against women and their rights.

2. His model of development is based on crony capitalism whereby dirt cheap loans and agricultural lands are given away to industrial houses in the name of economic development (benefisheries Tatas, Ambanis and Adanis; losers poor and helpless farmers and farm workers).

3. His claims of economic headway in Gujarat are logically and reasonably challenged; and his record of human development as chief minister is dismissal.

Despite all that Modi is projected as the next prime minister mainly because the ruling Congress Party under the twin leadership of Sonia Gandhi and prime minister Manmohan Singh is furiously despised for the following reasons:

1. The two continuing terms leaves the Congress with a legacy of mega scandals and corruption.

2. The dynastic control of power from Nehru down to Rahul

3. Indecisiveness to tackle issues.

4. Frequent breakdown of law and order resulting in miseries and deaths. The latest being in Assam.

5. Environmental degradation and persistently stinky garbage and sanitation problem.

And the list goes on.

In this tainted scenario the BJP and the Congress are the only two national parties dominating the Indian political space. The Communists seem to have migrated to Cuba.

An average Indian voter is in dilemma. The choice is limited either to select stigmatic Modi led  BJP or the dynastic run and scandal-wrapped Congress.

But still there is the Aam Aadmi Party factor, and the vehement role being played by the influential regional parties.The latter can emerge to undertake the role of a king maker, either from its own ranks or from any of the two national parties.

And if that happens, despite its hotchpotch outlook, the democracy in India will be more rooted with better regional representation and autonomy. Moreover, this coalition beside boosting secularism in democracy can curb  the racist emergence in the Indian political formations.

In the next several days we will see if India will sit in Modi's godi (lap) or opt for the so-called third front. Keep fingers crossed till May 16.