Aided by the largely corporate-owned or agenda-driven media which misleadingly painted him as development-oriented, overlooking his divisive instincts and cheap jibes at the Opposition during his much publicised Lok Sabha poll campaign, Narendra Modi had bulldozed his way through to the highest office in the country in 2014 with astonishing ease.
But such is his urge to rule the country single-handedly that right since May 2014, he has been in election mode. As a result, his words are beginning to tire audiences even though he tries to package his ‘message’ with words that will be apt headlines in a lowbrow tabloid.
Obsessed with an uncontrollable desire to ‘rule for life’, Modi seems to have been shaken by the show of strength by over 20 Opposition parties. He and his coterie have gone into overdrive to mock the Kolkata rally of the Opposition parties. His ministers spend more time berating the Opposition — even from their hospital beds — than talking about problems like unemployment, farmers’ distress, social unrest and inflation that people face every day.
A lot of people worry that institutions that safeguard democracy are being taken over by the government. A reign of fear and terror has spread across the country, but Modi plays the ‘bechara’ (helpless man) card to ward off challenge from the Opposition even when he does not like a ‘bechara’ image with his self-proclaimed ‘56-inch chest’.
Modi is not a man who believes in introspection; nor does he believe in expressing regret over his mistakes. He scoffs at the Opposition grouping as ‘immoral’ and ‘opportunistic’. Somebody has to jog his memory to point out many instances from the past when the Opposition parties had come on one platform to oppose the then ruling party, the Congress. Modi’s BJP was part of nearly all such alliances.
Modi needs to be reminded that the first collective effort of Opposition parties to defeat the Congress government was made in the 1970s just after Emergency was lifted. The Janata Party was formed with great expectations but if it fell apart; much of the blame must go to the ‘dual’ membership and personality of the Jana Sangh which later rechristened itself as Bharatiya Janata Party.
Unless he is unapologetic about advocating dictatorship and one-party rule, Modi ought to know that political parties in democracies all over the world enter into alliances - even the mutually ‘inimical’ ones. Circumstances may be different in each case but there is nothing ‘immoral’ about it.
Not to stretch the point too much, Modi’s BJP has long been in alliance with the Shiv Sena which is often more trenchant in criticising the BJP than any Opposition party. Another long partner of the BJP, the Akali Dal in Punjab, does not seem to share BJP’s strong view on the Khalistanis.
The BJP alliance (since broken) with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir was a patently ‘opportunistic’ alliance where the BJP went back on its assurance to reconcile its views on many important issues with the PDP. The already troubled state is nearly devastated because of BJP’s lack of foresight and spirit of accommodation.
When his mask of ‘development’ started to slip rapidly within a year of coming to the much reviled ‘Lutyens’ Delhi’, Modi asserted his genius for acronyms and for resorting to unabashed falsehood when not talking of voodoo science. That did not prevent decline in his popularity. So, he started playing the victim card.
He uses it as his trump card. Thus, he has spoken of a plot to ‘murder’ him; his rivals working in collaboration with Pakistan to oust him; thieves crowd the entire lot of Opposition while he is the shining armour of honesty and probity who alone can prevent theft and loot by the Opposition; the rivals have ganged up against one individual, that is him, so that they can indulge in loot and so on and so forth.
The gravamen of his victimhood litany is designed to impress upon the people that he alone is fit to rule the country and make it a land of milk and honey, and of cow worshippers. To press the point, he resorts to quixotic claims like India appeared on the world map only after he took over as the Prime Minister in May 2014.
In an unabashed display of sycophancy, it is claimed that Modi is the first internationally known Indian leader. The dozens of welfare scheme that he launched have all achieved their goals! Such boasts were often heard in the former Soviet Union. And where is the USSR? He makes a virtue out of ‘pain’ that some of his measures inflicted upon the people — Demonetisation being a case in point. The people suffered pain smilingly for the good of the country, says he. That ‘pain’ that people suffered including over 100 deaths and loss of livelihood of millions of people. No commiseration from Modi.
Surrounded by a world of self-adulation and ‘wah wah’ from his Bhakts, Modi cannot see something which is becoming as clear as daylight: more and more people are questioning his leadership and his wild claims of putting the country on a fast track of prosperity. There is genuine anxiety about peace and harmony in the society.
While there is no dearth of economists who have shown with government statistics that Modi, as Prime Minister, has failed to live up to his promise of leading the country to all-round, accelerated development, he now wants more time to fulfil his promises!
At the time he was campaigning in 2013-14, Modi had set a timeline for achieving various goals and also pledged ‘minimum government and maximum governance’. Will anyone seriously believe that he is capable of keeping his words and do what he says? His words sound too hollow and repetitive to have any credibility.