Pitfalls to watch for & pareto principle for Modi sarkar

By Indranil Banerjea

Let us accept that the mandate for the Modi Sarkar has not just stunned the Congress, it has even shocked the BJP leaders. They did talk of mission 272+ and forming the government on their own, but that was more like a mission statement.

Or else they would not have been issuing statements that they are open to post poll alliances, and the campaign rhetoric should not be seen as a barrier to such power sharing deals. In private they did not expect to touch the target of 220+, and this too was the most optimistic assessment. From the body language of the days that preceded the counting, it can be safely inferred that even the winner was also getting ready for the eventuality of notching up a figure that did not allow him the free hand that he now has. Or else, the new BJP core group — Modi, Rajnath, Jaitley and Gadkari — that has caused so much heartburn in the higher echelons of the party would not have rushed to and fro between Delhi and Ahmedabad. We need not question the other charitable explanations that are forthcoming on these parleys, but let us not be oblivious to these realities.

Narendra Modi would not be the first swayamsewak prime minister of India. We did have Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a prime minister swayamsewak. But then let us not forget the crucial difference — Modi is a full time pracharak, Vajpayee was a mere swayamsewak. For the uninitiated ones it is needless to explain the difference, and the knowledgeable ones can fully digest its import.

Considering that in real terms, the RSS had to actually push the decision to anoint Modi as prime ministerial aspirant down the throat of the BJP, it would not be an inexactitude to say that this is the first RSS government.

In fact, now comes the real test of a secular India. Is it just a fancy idea born out of Jawaharlal Nehru’s fascination with western ideas or is it something woven into the Indian civilisational culture? Remember Gandhi had famously said: “Jawahar wants Englishmen to go, and Angreziat to stay, I want Angreziat to go, and Englishmen to stay as friends.” So, now when someone who campaigned against the Nehruvian ideals and won a mandate is firmly in saddle, unfettered by the compulsions of coalition politics, will Angreziat vanish? Does it also mean that three issues that were left in cold storage the last time the BJP headed a coalition at the Centre would be back to the front stage? Will there be movement on the Ram temple at Ayodhya, the abolition of Article 370, and the common civil code? We shall hear wiser counsels arguing that this is not the time to discuss such divisive issues, and there are other urgent items of concern that require the attention of the new dispensation. Surely, the business of governing the nation has to get the much advertised Modi touch, and one of its key features is being corporate friendly. The corporates have been waiting for the advent of this day with heightened expectations, and the booming Sensex is their way of celebrating the arrival of the Modi Sarkar. In fact they would be the happiest ones at this scenario that liberates Modi from the tantrums of coalition partners.

Indeed, if Modi would have had sleepless nights managing the contradictions of a coalition, the corporate honchos would have been forced to continuously pop pills for keeping their fluctuating blood pressure under control. But does this also have a dividend for the man on the street, and not just on the Dalal Street? Is something that is good for corporate India also equally good for its citizens? After all the corporates get their millions from the ordinary customers who have to pay for everything.

Since the voter has decided to dump the Congress and the Gandhi family, it is best they should leave alone to lick their wounds. Besides, it is bad manners to kick someone when he is down. But there is one caveat. This is the time when the strength of the Congress would be really tested. Can it really protect the ideals of secularism and the diversity of the country when it is divested of its authority of governance? Does it really have the organisational strength, leadership and the grit to fight this battle? Or will it also crumble just as it lost this electoral battle? In fighting this battle successfully lies redemption both for the Congress and the much maligned Gandhi dynasty.

The right wing intellectuals all deride the leftists to their heart’s pleasure. This is quite natural. But now the power equation has altered in their favour. They have the power to set the agenda, and reshape the entire landscape. There is a large contingent of Bollywood personalities — Shatrughan Sinha, Vinod Khanna, Hema Malini — among the saffron winners, and surely they can make a beginning in giving the right wing slant to Bollywood movies that have an impact on the nation’s cultural consciousness. Remember that in the 50s, it was the Hindi filmi era of left wing activists like K.A. Abbas and Balraj Sahni that gave the classics that set the nation’s post partition mood.

But then the movies were not just communist style propaganda and you can still enjoy the themes, the music and the entire milieu. The pre- election slogan was Ab ki baar, Modi Sarkar and followed up by “Acche Din Aane wale hain”. The people have done their bit, Modi Sarkar aa gayi, and now they are waiting anxiously for the second part — “acche din”. INAV

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