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Modi’s dynamic decadeand politics

opinionColumnistsModi’s dynamic decadeand politics

On the 59th death anniversary of India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Narendra Modi, the current head of the government, commenced his decade of political domination. He is now the fourth longest serving PM, who is poised to get ahead of Dr Manmohan Singh next year, if his party gets past the majority mark in the Parliamentary polls.
Many political analysts have attempted to draw similarities between Modi and Indira Gandhi, who was, in the last century, arguably the greatest mass leader. However, the comparisons need to be seen in the context of the eras they belong to. Yes, it is difficult for any leader to replicate Indira Gandhi’s popularity throughout the length and breadth of the country, but Modi has attained what no leader of the Sangh Parivar could have ever imagined.
Therefore, it is extremely important to understand that as a political leader, Modi has left all his opponents within his own party and outside, far behind, and controls the reins of power like not many Prime Ministers before him have done. His ascendancy coincides with the decline and fall of the Congress, which has performed miserably in the last two Parliamentary polls and is still struggling to rediscover its relevance and importance in national affairs.
The principal reason for the diminishment of the Congress influence is the inability of its leaders to strengthen the organization, which at least in North India, leaves much to be desired. Yes, the Congress may have won a few Assembly polls but that has been largely because of the contribution of some strong regional satraps, who unfortunately have had to suffer humiliation from time to time.
Modi’s USP has been his understanding of politics and he has outmanoeuvred his rivals, both by controlling the political narrative and by his mass connect. His critics believe that his magic would wear off, and the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls in 2024 could be a turning point in politics. But that is for time to tell.
Modi has complete grip over the political situation and so much so that even in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which has been considered as the controlling authority of the BJP, the Prime Minister has a very strong following, which perhaps is greater than many other top functionaries of this organization.
In Amit Shah, Modi has found a perfect foil to carry forward his agenda, and both of them have executed their plans and strategy that have so far proved successful. In doing so, the duo has put all the opposition parties on the defensive.
There are serious charges made against the current political dispensation that it has used government agencies such as the CBI and Enforcement Directorate to suppress opposition and to intimidate many leaders. However, those who have done nothing wrong should have nothing to fear. Despite the tactics of the current regime, they can easily survive, and allow people to decide when election time comes. West Bengal and now Karnataka are examples of this resolve to take on the Sangh Parivar politically.
Modi is also the first Prime Minister who has made the large Indian diaspora participate in the evolution of this country. After Israel successfully utilized the services of its diaspora, Modi is the only one who has acquired a very popular image amongst people of Indian origin and is considered a rock star by many of them.
Several Prime Ministers and Presidents of other countries acknowledge his popular appeal and have made it a point to attend hugely attended receptions in his honour at various places he has visited—from the United States, Britain to Australia. For these alien political leaders, their attendance is one way of endearing themselves politically to the strong vote bank comprising people of Indian origin, who are now voters in their respective countries. The recent visit of Modi to Australia where the present Prime Minister as well as the past PMs also attended bears testimony to this fact.
In 1976 when Indira Gandhi completed 10 years in office, celebrations were held throughout the country with the late Yashpal Kapoor coordinating various functions which included a film star evening at the Ram Lila grounds where Dilip Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar were the most prominent participants.
Therefore, if the BJP is celebrating Modi’s nine years in government and the commencement of his dynamic decade, there is nothing unusual or wrong in it. At present, all politics revolves around Modi and if he is creating his own symbols in Lutyens Delhi and beyond it, he has the political legitimacy to do so. Many may argue that it amounted to tinkering with history and even if correct, it is something they are in no position to do anything about.
The inauguration of the new Parliament by the Prime Minister has already kicked off a political slugfest with 20 Opposition parties deciding to stay away from the ceremony. Their political argument is that it should have been the President and not the PM, who should have been the chief guest for the occasion.
The re-structuring of the Central Vista in the Lutyens’ zone also represents Modi’s total domination of politics and his determination to create his own symbols to mark the metamorphosis of the socio-political evolution. He is here to stay unless the Opposition collectively vanquishes the BJP. A distant dream at this juncture. Between us.

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