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The song which inspired the title of this article and the person mentioned in it has captured the imagination of the country equally. In this article my attempt is just to understand and analyze the euphoria or if I may call it ‘Modiana’ that has suddenly gripped the country. I would not extend this article by doing a SWOT analysis but would limit myself to the strengths and weaknesses. Narendra Damodardas Modi has walked quite a distance wearing unflinching confidence on his sleeves. The Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate is a fascinating case study as the man opens up equal number of avenues for his critics as well as admirers. The man is admired for his economic policies and growth scenario in Gujarat, but he also bears flak for the dismal state of the Human Development Index in Gujarat. Let’s see what has propelled him to where he is today and if there is anything that pulls him back.
Negate your weaknesses and build on your strengths and your opponents weaknesses – This is exactly what Modi has been doing.
Frankly speaking, not much except the ghost of the 2002 riots. His role during the riots were even criticized by the then PM, BJP’s ‘vikas purush’ Vajpayee. That led to NDA losing alliance partners like Paswan and Mamata and probably also the national election in 2004. Even today parties think twice before joining the NDA fearing loss of Muslim votes. Ironically Muslims are the only section where Modi lags behind as a PM choice.
Modi has painstakingly lived through the last 12 years where one by one he has been absolved of all charges although some of his closest lieutenants have bit the dust. The polarization has given him 3 successive terms in office, through which he has built his image as an able administrator and that has become his biggest strength today.
Not one but many. First let’s look at his own internal strengths. The biggest strength is reflected in my article so far. I haven’t spent a single word so far on his opponents within or outside the BJP. He hardly has any. The only one was Keshu Bhai Patel whose Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) has become a signboard organisation and there are talks that he might be returning to the BJP soon.
Next are his roots. Modi and his party are keeping no stone unturned to derive maximum political mileage out of his ‘chaiwala’ image. Yes, unlike many political leaders he didn’t have a readymade surname which would give him the chair. Student activist – full time RSS member – election strategist – general secretary –national secretary – Chief Minister and now PM in waiting. He has worked hard to travel this path and earned these positions for himself. He is a self-made man.
Third and probably the most decisive one is his credentials as an administrator. Keeping aside his alleged role in the riots there is hardly a blot in his administrative career. He liberalised Gujarat for private investment and has single handedly made Gujarat the most favoured investment destination in the country today. Touted as a Hindutva icon he was never undecided to demolish 200 illegal temples in Gandhinagar. His police cracked the Ahmedabad serial blasts in record time. Talks of corruption have reduced compared to the tenure of his predecessor. 12 years into Chief Ministership and there hasn’t been a single charge of corruption against him. Gujarat had been remarkably peaceful over the last decade. There has not been a single incident or a day of curfew in Gujarat since 2002. Gujarat, as per the survey reports of Labor Bureau of India, 2012, happens to record the lowest unemployment rate of only 1% as compared to a National average of 3.8%. It is not without reason that one of India’s most famous industrialists Ratan Tata once famously said ‘It is stupid if you are not in Gujarat’.
The last advantage that I will discuss is of course one that has been built up by his party and not one that existed forever, marketing. Modi has been marketed really well. BJP looks to have successfully sold a dream called Modi. To put it in another way he has successfully positioned himself as the cures to all the problems that have plagued the country during the last 10 years of UPA rule. This brings me to the last part of my article where I’ll try and analyze how Modi has worked the UPA’s deficiencies to his advantage.
First and foremost is the question of leadership. Except the nuclear deal issue the country has never seen Manmohan Singh assert himself and put his foot down on any issue. Any politically aware citizen knows that the country today is being run from 10 Janpath and not 7 Race Course. On the other hand Modi doesn’t look like a character that can be remote controlled. Modi vs Manmohan is thus a no-match. Talk about Rahul Gandhi – he has 0 experience as an administrator. He is a 2 time MP from a seat which has sent a non-Congressman to the Lok Sabha only twice till date. He has got a party post only by virtue of his surname. He has led his party to disastrous results in assembly elections in Bihar and UP. Compare these stats to Modi. Modi was born in a family with no political antecedents, rose to fame by organising Murli Manohar Joshi's Ekta yatra and impressing everyone with electoral strategy ahead of the 1995 state elections which BJP later won. He has had successful stints in various party posts and is now a 3 time Chief Minister. It’s a complete no match again.
Then comes the state of the country. When UPA took over the country’s growth rate was about 9%. After 10 yrs of rule it has come down to less than 5%. In the past decade thousands of crores of taxpayers’ money has been wasted in one scam after another. Unemployment hasn’t gone down. The Govt has stumbled time and again to make policy decisions - a situation that has been infamously termed as policy paralysis by India Inc. The existence of an Oxford educated PM hasn’t helped anyways. Alliance and votebank politics have overruled economic considerations regularly. The economy is in shambles. Agreed running a state and running a country is different but after 10 years of misrule of the UPA the 4 lettered surname MODI inspires a 4 letter word called HOPE among India and specially its youth. It’s not surprising that in the last opinion poll conducted by CNN IBN 50% of voters aged below 30 want Modi as their PM. By the look of things Modi at least has a positive intent and at this juncture that is all that the country is looking for.
Assuming he comes to power in 2 months time how much he will be able to deliver is a question that only the future will answer but can he be worse than Manmohan? I dare say you are thinking “NO”. Until time comes when we are able to verify his claims, till then it’s just HOPE we live in and watch The Great Indian Tamasha unfurl. Critics who talk about Godhra – Are you forgetting 1984?
*These are author's personal thoughts and does not express the views of the community as a whole.
About the author:Avishek Das is a business management graduate currently working as a process trainer in a MNC in Hyderabad. He joined Bengalis in Hyderabadduring his early years in Hyderabad and since then have been an integral part. He is currently the part of the Executive Committee and handles the online activities and member relations. He is an avid traveler and sports lover. He has orchestrated many trips. He likes reading political and sports articles.