As 2021 saw students, farmers, bankers and even doctors protesting, here's a New Year wish for Prime Minister

Another year spent on fixing elections, his image and his party would do little justice to his legacy. So, dear Prime Minister, here is wishing you good health, mental peace and equanimity in 2022

 Representative (File Photo)
Representative (File Photo)

Herald View

As we ring in another new year with hope, the new year wish of many Indians would be for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to act more wisely, like a statesman rather than an ‘electionjeevi’. Many would wish for the Prime Minister to live up to his own words and show his commitment to democracy, people and Parliament. That is because he has built a cult around himself and conducts statecraft more befitting an emperor than an elected leader. His ‘visionary leadership’ has been lauded by some of the Justices of the Supreme Court of India and to his followers, his word is law.

His action and words carry disproportionate weight and, as we have seen time and again during the last seven years, they can often be disastrous. It is therefore important that he remains in good physical and mental health. But there is a growing dissonance between his words and deeds that does not augur well for the country.

He gave the winter session of Parliament a miss, attending it on the first day and stayed away for the next 18 days. He has been silent on the hubris of hate emanating from a group of self-proclaimed saints. His fascination for glitz and glamour, for events and spectacles on a grand scale at public expense show no sign of ebbing. Nor does the Prime Minister see anything odd in the conflicting self-image of a ‘fakeer’, a mystic mendicant, and the opulence associated with his grand vision.

Despite past experience, most notably with the farm laws that triggered the farmers’ protest and which he was forced to repeal, the Prime Minister does not seem to be wiser. The government went after protesting farmers and denied Parliament a chance to discuss the use of spyware Pegasus. His government pushed through ten or more legislations during the winter session of Parliament with discussions on each taking up as little as 10 or 15 minutes.

His government shows no willingness to consult or indeed any interest in building a consensus. It appears to be needlessly stubborn and insensitive, with the result that 2021 witnessed students, youth, farmers, bankers and even doctors protesting on the street.

At the beginning of 2021 the Prime Minister boasted to the world that India had defeated the Covid pandemic. At the end of the year, the spectre of travel restrictions and lockdowns loomed over cities, causing fear and uncertainties. Two Indians out of five are yet to be fully vaccinated. Even while the second wave raged, the PM campaigned, some would say recklessly, in West Bengal and other poll-bound states. Now that people are being warned of an impending third wave, the Prime Minister is busy campaigning in the state of Uttar Pradesh. During the last two months or so, he is said to have visited the state 10 times, turning official functions into political rallies. Government departments were instructed to arrange for people, their transportation, food and lodging to enable them to attend the rallies. The country has far more important concerns.

Even as the government seems bent on ‘privatising profit’ and ‘nationalising losses’, inflation and unemployment have crippled the economy. In less than a month the government will have another opportunity to present its annual budget and signal the road ahead. At this critical juncture, it is important for Prime Minister Modi to focus on the task and act wisely. Another year spent on fixing elections, his image and his party would do little justice to his legacy. So, dear Prime Minister, here is wishing you good health, mental peace and equanimity in 2022.

(This article was first published in National Herald on Sunday.)

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines