Bottom Line: Never before in the history of India a Prime Minister with over dose of rhetoric and over-projected charisma looked so empty handed and crestfallen as Narendra Modi.
It is hard to believe that the man whom a nation of 1.3 billion India looked up to for turnaround of the nation’s fortunes four years back is today seen as a man of hollow promises. Narendra Modi, who single handedly broke the jinx of coalition government in India and got a decisive mandate after 30 years will go down the history as a case study of promise over performance.
It is hence imperative to understand what went wrong for the man who claimed to have an answer to every problems that confronted the nation. Remember his high decibel election campaign of “56 inch chest”, “10 heads for one soldier to Pak”, “Red eyes to China”, “2 crore jobs to youths” and the mother of all promises “Bring back black money” and transfer “15 lakh to every Indian”.
Was all that a hoax, Jumlaas described by his second-in-command, Amit Shah? Or the man was biting more than he could chew in the course of time? Well, one thing that could be vouchsafed, whether one is admirer or critic of Modi, is the fact that he raised the bar of expectations too high; something that no opposition leader was able to match in 2014.
The empirical evidence of electoral politics world over suggests that larger the mandate even mo0re larger are the expectations. And it is here that Modi had been under the burden of expectations right from the Day 1. But it was not his “Accidental Undoing” but something that he “Craftily Masterminded” to stump his opponents.
His every move till the time of entering the Indian Parliament was well calculated and rehearsed. Remember his prostrate before the Lok Sabha stairs. It is a different matter that post that media show-off the man is better known for lesser attendance from the House, even during the serious discussions and allegation against him personally.
Modi definitely doesn’t have answer to many of the questions being raised today. Isn’t it ironic for the man who had answer to anything and everything in the country? Critics and opposition may call it his over-promise to the electorates, but the fact lies that beyond the over-promise it was his trademark (and now exposed) “Ignorance with Arrogance” that made him commit mistakes one after the other.
Smriti Irani as Minister: Okay, Modi needed a fire-brand leader, preferably a lady, who could take on his opponent in Rahul Gandhi. But to assume that Smriti has the mantle to take on Rahul (who smartly ignores her jibes and never spends a word on her) was preposterous.
But it was the mindset of “Whatever I touch will turn Gold” that elevated Smriti Irani to HRD Ministry. Her education, or rather lack of it, was soon exposed. Added to it, her even larger ego to take on JNU students resulted in huge embarrassment and face loss for the Modi Government. With already stigma of “Anti-Intellectuals” attached to Modi Government, Smriti Irani had her stamp of approval with her theatrics.
No Leader of Opposition: In his over zeal and arrogance to give a call of “Congress Mukt Bharat” Modi forgot the basic element of democracy. He also conveniently forgot the fact that he is a result of opposition only and in this age voters like soft politics and not arrogance by any stretch of imagination. .
Modi Government didn’t give Leader of opposition status to any party since Congress doesn’t have the required numbers in Lok Sabha. A smart leader should have rather shown big heart and appointed someone from Congress as Leader of Opposition as they are still the single largest opposition party. It would have elevated his stature as a man who respects dialogue, dissent and democracy.
Pakistan Visit: Modi was fooled by no one else but his own assessment about his abilities. He thought the way his personal charisma has worked for him in the elections, it will work with Pakistan too. So, while nothing had changed on the Indo-Pak borders Modi reached uninvited to Pakistan while returning from Afghanistan. This visit should have not only been avoided at that time but also official protocol maintained. Pakistan later also billed India 1.49 lakh rupees for Modi’s Lahore stopover.
Moreover, Modi’s allowing Pakistan to come & investigate its own hands in Pathankot air base proved to be even bigger blunder; something that did not go well even with his die-hard fans, who otherwise swear by anti-Pak sentiments.
Surgical Strike:Surgical strike is nothing new on part of the Indian army. But the way Modi politicised it to counter the “Meek with Pakistan” narrative did not go down well with the defence forces or other sections of elite class that had voted Modi assuming to be a decisive leader and not blow hot & blow cold kind of confused leadership.
Demonetisation:While demonetisation proved to be a case of “Defending the Indefensible” for the BJP, with lakhs of jobs & businesses lost, introducing the even higher value currency of INR 2000 was double disaster. How could a government defend it when one of the stated objective of demonetisation was to stop high value currency of INR 1000 and 500 as source of stacked black money?
It left people questioning the motive of government behind it. Even if one takes a view that it was done to ease out the cash vacuum from the economy, the question still stands about the government’s unpreparedness, and in essence mindless move, in announcing the demonetisation.
GST:What Modi resisted in opposition became his “Midnight Grand Event” of “Economic Independence”. But wait! Devil always like in the detailing. After having dismissed (and rather ridiculed as Grand Stupid Thought) the Congress suggestion of two GST slabs with lower taxation, Modi finally realised that Congress has better thinktank of economy than his own whims & fancies that is creating tax terrorism and killing the small businesses that are spines of Indian economy.
Resistance to Lokpal:One of the critical reasons behind the electoral success of Modi was the indecisiveness, seen in the collective consciousness as resistance, of Congress to appoint Lokpal. But once taking over the seat of power, Modi not only parroted the lines of Congress but went ahead with the conviction that Lokpal is not tenable under the given framework of constitution.
Silence to Corruption:Corruption has been central to Modi’s high voltage & high decibel election campaign. But when it was his moment to walk the talk, the man turned cold feet. Forget bringing back black money from Swiss Bank and handing over INR 15 lakh to each Indians, he resisted sharing information of black money holders with the courts as well.
And then came the Panama Papers which cost even a rogue nation like Pakistan its top head in Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharief. However, in Modi Government there had been no investigation and the government machinery rather got into action mode to defend the crony.
It is this soft gloves to corrupt crony that is today lending credence to the allegations of his personal involvement in Rafale Deal. Had Modi Government appointed Lokpal and acted on Panama papers, his stature would have been positioned higher than these corruption allegations.
Over reliance on media management:It is true that media has been instrumental in elevating the larger than life image of Modi. But democracy demands that once in power the government has to be accountable. Instead he preferred not to accept the fault lines and ducked the arguments with his own counter narrative, often changing the goal posts & objectives of his own policies. Beyond a point it became clear to the masses that it is not only Modi but also media that relies on histrionics and theatrics.
Reservation Rescue:In a country where income exceeding INR 2.5 lakh annually warrants income tax, it is indeed preposterous that the upper caste poor earn INR 8 lakhs in a year. It just gives the impression of a weak & desperate Prime Minister to please as wider section of the society as possible. In the absence of jobs and livelihood, the youths of the country, many supposed to be beneficiaries, are mocking it as “Modi’s Election Reservation for Self” in the upcoming General Elections.
These are just some of the mistakes that didn’t go down well in the collective consciousness. Added to it, his mistaken and ill-timed policy implementations that cost the Indian economy with farm stress, job losses and overall slowdown, has exposed him as a man of rhetoric only. Many of these mistakes are now irreversible with General Elections four months down the line.
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