The list of achievements of his Government that PM Modi would like to remember
It is a long list. From the economy to international relations, from health and education to managing the economy, the destructive and disruptive genius of this Government has been unparalleled
Failure of leadership, failure of democratic governance, total failure of public institutions, failure of judiciary, concentration of power in one man, failure of collective responsibility of the Union Ministers with all of them reduced to sycophants, gross mismanagement of the Covid-19 are some of the ‘achievements’ of the BJP government at the Centre as it completes seven years in office.
One may add to the list the failed lockdown in 2020, which left people in the lurch, and the public health crisis in 2021 which led people to die for lack of oxygen, shortages of hospital beds, shortages of medicines, non-availability of ambulances, black marketing of medicine etc. which saw patients to collapse on pavements outside hospitals, on roads, in vehicles and in homes.
Images of floating of corpses in the Ganga, loved ones buried in shallow sand along the rivers, the dead bodies surfacing and being eaten by carnivorous animals, the serpentine line of dead bodies at crematoriums have shocked the world but have been condemned at home as attempts to defame the country and the government.
Suppression of data on number of deaths and shortage of vaccines, massive loss of lives and livelihood, allowing police and other law enforcement agencies to run berserk against citizens and the opposition etc. have also been noted as part of this ‘golden chapter’ in our history.
The Modi Government can also take the credit for arbitrary exercise of power without consensus, turning India into a majoritarian Hindu Rashtra, castration of the Constitution without formal amendments, emasculation of the Election Commission into a subordinate government department and allowing the unwarranted Central Vista redevelopment on a war footing. All out efforts to spread positivity amidst the encircling darkness now mark the culmination of the second year of the second term of the NDA Union Government on May 30, 2021, in all, the last seven years.
The Prime Minister has burnt every bridge, antagonized every section of people and decapitated every institution that could have helped him cross the troubled waters he now has to negotiate.
He destroyed India in four ways. In the first, he played communal and divisive politics targeting violence against minorities, dalits and women. In the second, he knocked the bottom out of the economy with demonetization in 2016, the GST in 2017 and intimidated the media into a subservient silence. In the third after winning the second term in 2019, he demolished federalism by pulling down nine elected state governments, re-wrote our relationships with Kashmir, put the goal of majoritarian Hindu Rashtra on the forefront with the CAA and NRC and extracted the Ram Mandir judgment from the Supreme Court.
In the fourth, the PM put Parliament in the freezer along with the vaccines, upgraded Hindu Rashtra to a corporate status, rammed through the three black farm laws and amendments to the labour laws, quietly acquiesced in to Chinese occupation of Indian territory and made a horrendous mess of the pandemic management.
Subjugation of constitutional and regulatory institutions, gross misuse of enforcement agencies and police forces, undermining of the judiciary, politicisation of the armed forces, overbearing arrogance and insensitivity to public opinion, ruthless crushing of dissent, terming voices against the government anti-national aided by false propaganda and image building on a Goebbelsian scale are some other milestones of his government he can be proud of.
He benefited corporate houses to the detriment of the people at large. He also disrupted the public sector banking systems with privatization, disrupted the working class through labour laws amendments, disrupted the modern medical fraternity by allowing Ayurveda healers to do operations and surgery and allowed privatization of public sector companies, which no government in the past did. Before nationalization of banks by Indira Gandhi, the Central Government used to borrow money from General Insurance Corporation and the LIC to pay its employees with little resources left for development. The PM has succeeded in ensuring that his Government goes back to similar exercises in future.
India’s foreign policy reached its lowest ebb during the last seven years with the country’s rankings falling in human development indices including health care, freedom of press, educational standards, transparency, GDP, democratic governance, treatment of minorities, Dalits, women, freedom of religion and so on, considered far below many countries including neighboring ones. Country’s foreign policy is now in tatters as it has lost its bargaining edge in the comity of nations. The international media have been reporting on the gross mismanagement of the pandemic and loss of countless lives and failure of democratic norms. And for the first time in almost 75 years India is accepting aid from countries like Nigeria, Kenya and Bangladesh.
The Prime Minister has lost the plot for democratic governance. He has systematically blunted the tools of democratic governance. Now he finds he has no arrow left in his quiver to confront the apocalypse that he has pushed the nation in.
The PM and his government have failed us so comprehensively that the nation has been left grieving. This is not a seventh anniversary that the Prime Minister or Indians would like to remember.
(The writer is a retired civil servant. Views are personal)