The Narendra Modi government is being singed from several quarters. There is sullenness everywhere. That the situation was allowed to boil to this an extent is benumbing. Agreed that “Achche Din aaney mey waqt lagega hi” (takes time for good tidings). But not “Swachh din.” Honest politics is what the country is looking forward to.
Language must not lose its sense of referentiality. Nor, silence, its credibility. One has to keep the word. More so, if one promises to be a harbinger of change. Reports already indicate that the ‘Mann ki Baat” is not that “pasandi da” (likeable) thing for the public any more. The images of people huddling around a radio are dwindling
Nearly 15 months ago, a good section of the Indians believed that if the country was a great machine, the Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, was its divine mechanic. His rival Rahul Gandhi threw up his hands even before the battle began, declaring that he had no magic wand in his hand and the ills won’t go away – Modi was perhaps the only choice.
In the lopsided contest, the references to ‘Chappan inch ki chaati and Achche Din’ sounded almost surrealistic and the voters took the bait. That feeling of ‘Achche Din Ane Wale Hain’ seems to have evaporated too soon. The Narendra Modi government is being singed from several quarters. Image does not take a beating all of a sudden or in one single go. Even a landslip does not occur all of a sudden.
Slowly, one by one, the smaller stones keep tumbling down. As days progress, the bond between the face of the mountain and the rubble gets weakened. Then, one day you have it. The whole face of it comes down. Unless one arrests this at the first sign of the trickle, the landslip becomes inevitable. If Modi were to read the signals properly, he would understand that the disenchantment with his governance is growing.
There is none to blame for this, except the style and manner in which the Modi way of governance is being administered in the country. The first big test to the government came in the form of elections to the Delhi Assembly. It is not the result that hurt Modi more. No one would have taken it too seriously, had he not taken it personally. But, the manner in which he let the Delhi Lt Governor fight his battle, post-elections, made him look silly.
Right from appointments to day-to-day administration, Delhi citizens were left wondering whether there was any governance at all. When the municipal staff had gone on strike leaving mounds of garbage on the streets of the capital, it looked as though Modi was not bothered. Petty politics were more important to him, people thought. Then came the Vyaapam controversy and the subsequent Lalit Modi issue.
As the Opposition put up a brave front in demanding the resignations of Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje, what was outstanding was the silence and reluctance of Modi. Not everyone might have agreed with what the Opposition said, but Modi’s not saying something puzzled the people further. This episode also exposed the fault lines within the party. When it came to the much-touted Land Bill, the charge that the Modi-led BJP was attempting to bulldoze the Opposition gained currency.
The feeling that Modi does not like to address certain irritants is only growing among the commoners. The not so matured way in which the issue of border talks with Pakistan had been handled has come as yet another incident that made the ‘Chappan Inch ki Chaati” shrink a bit. The joke about Pakistan – as is often explained by any journalist working there – is that what matters to the country is not general knowledge, but General’s knowledge.
Was not Modi aware of this basic factor in declaring his Ufa declaration a victory?
Add to this the “Mu thod jawab dene wali” baat vis-a-vis border violations by Pakistan. Far from giving such a befitting reply, the BJP is left red-faced often by the pro-hardliner policy of its own ally in Jammu and Kashmir, the PDP. The publicity that the pro-Pakistani elements gained in their “few seconds of detention” and their swift release and the refusal of the State government to arrest them subsequently on the soil of Kashmir were not what even the right wing Hindutva forces wanted to see or hear.
The pro-soldier image of the government suffered a far more serious blow in the OROP issue. The Modi government may finally settle it in favour of the veterans, but the credit due to it will not go to it. It is too late for the same. The way the senior citizens, who gave their yesterdays’ for our tomorrows’, had been handled by the local police was simply shocking. The latest Patidar Aarakshan Andolan issue rocking Gujarat comes as a mega failure of Modi. That the situation was allowed to boil to this an extent is benumbing. Images of 2002 are streaming back.
The needle of suspicion is already pointing to an internal hand already. Whether this hand has the support of the powers-that-be in Delhi is not yet being speculated but there are rumours gaining currency now. After all Gujarat is Narendra Modi’s model and module of development even in his overseas speeches in which he touts his Gujarat as his big achievement. His own Gujaratis are now challenging him on his own turf. Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar are like Union Territories now-a-days with the strings of power keyed into a socket in 7 RCR, the Prime Minister’s official residence.
The day-to-day administration is handled from the Gujarat Bhavan directly. Who will buy the theory that Modi was not aware of the trouble brewing? The only question is why has he kept silent or done nothing to prevent the carnage?
All these days when the sadhvis and sants of the BJP were airing their brilliant opinion on various issues right from population to Pakistan, no one gave credence to it. It was not Modi who was speaking, after all! But, having established that silence is more eloquent than speech, Modi has lent a certain legitimacy to the claim that truth is somewhat being misinterpreted. Is there a falsification yet, we don’t know.
The previous government, or those who led it, lost because of mistrust, more than any. Yes, it was reeking of corruption, no doubt. But, how long would it take for the stench of the same to emanate from the present one? All the parametres are in place, or so it seems. A government simply does not mean what the general public perceives it to be – an office, an officer and his attitude towards their immediate problems. This is just one aspect. A government means work done at various levels. The proposals, the clearances and the implementation and their impact on the economy.
It means jobs, hope and acceleration. Not deceleration and hopelessness. The perception of people matters. Here is the real trouble for Modi. The charge that he lies may not be acceptable to all now. That he is not being very truthful, somewhat is. It is just hardly more than a year that people have kicked out the previous regime. That chapter is over and out. Completely forgotten. Modi’s was a new beginning. The image he projected was different.
There is sullenness in some quarters. There is suspicion among others. Still some more, are confused. Agreed that “Achche Din aaney mey waqt lagega hi” (takes time for good tidings). But not “Swachh din”. Honest politics is what the country is looking forward to. Language must not lose its sense of referentiality. Nor, silence, its credibility. One has to keep the word. More so, if one promises to be a harbinger of change. Reports already indicate that the ‘Mann ki Baat” is not that “pasandi da” (likeable) thing for the public any more.
The images of people huddling around a radio are dwindling. To put it straight, speaking a language and a dialect are two different things. The whole nation understands the first. The second, only individuals or a class or region. The choice is the prerogative of the Speaker before the discourse slips into dull and drab lecture. The essence of democracy is dialogue and argument. Not silence or deflection. Someone should make Modi realise that even the humble onion is laughing at him.
Article taken from Hans India.