At this point in time, India does not have an able leader to be an alternative to Narendra Modi.
PANAJI: I am not a blind fan of Narendra Modi, but I am certainly inspired by his tenacity and single-minded dedication to India. There is Narendra Modi and then there is the rudderless Opposition, with no one leader but several leaders, who want to be the supreme leader. I come from a school of thought that in a democracy, Opposition is more important than the ruling dispensation because for a democracy to be vibrant, we need checks and balances.
Unfortunately for us in India, we have been cursed with a weak Opposition. Our leaders in the Opposition are displaying a “Jack in the Box” syndrome. The essential characteristic of the “Jack in the Box” toy is to scare a child when the lid of the toy is opened and a joker pops out. After the momentary fear subsides, the child realises that it is a joker that has popped out.
The Opposition is behaving like Glenn Close from the popular movie “Fatal Attraction”. It has one obsession—Prime Minister Modi. They want Modi to bend to the demands of their regional and global partners. They want Modi to toe international powerhouses as a submissive nation and not become a geopolitical force.
The evolution of Narendra Modi is the evolution of a new India. It is giving the people of India hope. It is giving the people confidence. It is a phenomenon where we are no longer behaving like insignificant frogs in a well; some have jumped out of the well to brave the world outside and some are ensuring that the well is clean enough for others to draw water from.
The only strategy that the Opposition has to deal with Narendra Modi is to create a fear psychosis in the people of India. People must fear for the present and future of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi. The Opposition wants the people of our nation to live in the past. It wants the people of India to be divided on the basis of religion and caste. It wants Indians to still see India as a third-world nation.
Prime Minister Modi is not only the leader of India. He has evolved in the last eight years to be a visionary global leader and a statesman of Indic virtues. He has worked efficiently to gradually change the perception of India on the global geopolitical stage. In fact, he is redefining India’s role in global relations with a stealth-like strategy.
Prime Minister Modi has only one opposition in the run up to the General Elections 2024. That opposition is Narendra Modi himself.
People love Modi. Of course, there are some people who do not like him too; but it cannot be denied that at this point in time, the Opposition has not been able to put forth a meritorious political leader to fight Narendra Modi and be a well-intentioned adversary.
The more Narendra Modi evolves into a global leader the more conflict will arise among some people who idolise him. There is growing concern among some, especially Hindus, that with Narendra Modi growing as a global political leader, Prime Minister Modi is overlooking the core issues that matter to Hindus. They say that it is Hindus that put Modi into the Prime Ministerial position and not the minorities. There is no doubt that many Hindus have hopes in Narendra Modi to fight for Hindu causes and some feel that in keeping with his global political image, he is pandering more to the minorities. The simple but hard truth is that Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister of India and not the Prime Minister of Hindus. And while the Hindu causes cannot be ignored because after all Hindus are a majority in India, causes of Indians belonging to other religious faiths also cannot be ignored.
Narendra Modi is building bridges with the minorities because as a political leader, he understands that for India to rise globally, we need to take people of all religious and caste-based communities with us. After all, our common binding force is that we are all Indians.
Following the unfortunate Nupur Sharma incident, some strong believers of Hindu Rashtra have been critical of Narendra Modi and have been mooting the idea of a new Hindu political party. I find it amusing. In fact, I stand completely with the BJP in its decision to suspend Nupur Sharma because, in my personal opinion, one did not need to get drawn into the slugfest because of provocation from an insipid and rabid individual when representing the political party that is leading the Indian government.
And I know many right-wingers might not agree with me, but to me India is more important than trying to highlight the anomalies of the other person’s faith, even if that person is mocking mine. BJP has not turned into a Congress and will not turn into a Congress, for the simple reason it is not a family-controlled party, it is a democratic political party governed by political leaders bound by the core ideologies of the party.
That does not mean BJP as a political party will not make mistakes. It will make its own share of mistakes when driving its political agenda of stamping its footprint across India. BJP has come a long way over the years because of its cadre and dedicated karyakartas. It will grow in the coming years because of the dedication and devotion of its karyakartas. Modi was one such karyakarta.
PM Modi, to the best of my understanding of him, is very much driven by his Indic values. He is “Hindutva” personified. Sometimes to score a goal in football you must kick the ball away from the goal post. His outreach with the Indian community outside of India and global community looking into India is to me one of the most strategic moves that will groom India to become a global force of respectability and fear by 2030.
The strategy to build bridges with the minorities is not about pulling a rabbit out of the hat, expecting the minorities to go weak in their knees and rushing to polling booths to vote for BJP. That’s not going to happen, at least not immediately. But it will happen. It is also about allowing for BJP to evolve beyond being a Hindu-majority party to a truly Indic political party. The mistake Narendra Modi and BJP would make is to not take all Indians with them and they will not make that mistake. Narendra Modi is not perfect. There are several decisions of the Prime Minister I do not agree with and not every decision is a masterstroke. In fact, his stoic silence on growing crimes against Hindus baffles me, especially when he comments on foreign terror attacks or barbaric stabbings.
At this point in time, India does not have an able leader to be an alternative to Narendra Modi. The real challenge to Narendra Modi is going to be Narendra Modi. There is a section of Indians who want Narendra Modi to be a Prime Minister who leads the renaissance of Hindutva in India. And then there is a section of Indians who want Narendra Modi to be a Prime Minister who leads the resurgence of India globally. The balance is going to be the real challenge for Narendra Modi in the run-up to 2024. It is going to be Modi vs Modi in 2024.