The juggernaut called Narendra Modi that has gathered momentum needs to be looked at seriously by his opposition, the Congress. To remain in intellectual denial, claiming that Modi has no resonance in the southern states of India or in Odisha, West Bengal, Maharashtra and the Northeast, is, in fact, allowing him a free run, and not necessarily as the face of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He is taking on the avatar of a ‘saviour’. This time the general elections could well defy the predictable parameters of the national vote. The polls may be an aberration in the sense that the election would not pay any heed to the factors that have been intrinsic to a complex, pluralistic India and served as important ingredients in this democracy. Sadly, there is no debate around this new political development. The electronic media are hysterical in their superficial support of Modi and his rhetoric. ‘Debate’ on talk shows continues to insult the intelligence of viewers. Modi has deftly used this sub-standard discourse, as well as the reticence of his opponents, to his advantage.
In a rally in Jaipur organized by Vasundhara Raje, who has been campaigning in her state for six months now in preparation for the assembly elections, she managed to bring together a six-lakh strong crowd to welcome Modi. He drew a massive crowd in Rewari, Haryana, a Congress- ruled state. The crowds, reportedly, wanted to hear Modi, and not the others assembled on the manch. Cut to Delhi, where the intelligentsia continues to pooh-pooh this phenomenon, even though it seems to have overshadowed all else. No one is willing to see the profound frustration and despair that have overwhelmed India and suffocated Indians, insulting their sensibilities.
Faulty processes and corrupt implementation of every scheme and initiative by the administrators and babus, who are protected and remain unaccountable for their mismanagement and misdeeds, have destroyed the fabric of our country, compelling the general public to follow anyone who seems passionate about bringing change immediately, whatever that ‘change’ may be. The sense of being betrayed and insulted overrides all else at times like this.
Why is the Congress — the opponent of Modi and the BJP — not out there in the akhara, emphatically projecting its many ‘good deeds’, its social messages, its report card? Why are the critical legislations, which were passed by Parliament recently, not being tom-tommed from every platform and to every corner of this nation? Why this supreme lethargy for communication? Why this shirking of responsibility in a democracy? Why has UPA II abdicated its position in the public domain, endorsing a one-sided declamation by its silence? Perhaps the Congress needs to think of what Indira Gandhi would have done if faced with a similar situation. ‘Thinking’ and ‘communication’ are the two most critical elements that are missing in the Congress’s scheme of things. This disconnect with the ordinary citizen is akin to a death-wish for the government.
For those who are not followers of Modi or refuse to subscribe to the BJP’s ideology, it is a huge betrayal to see the other national party remain incommunicado for months. It makes a mockery of democracy. It insults the very foundation of the Indian State and Union. This careless attitude to politics and democratic principles is detrimental to peace in the subcontinent and in South Asia. The irony is that the United Progressive Alliance, pushed by the Congress, managed to set in motion some critical legislations, but was unable to capitalize on the work done. Instead, the government’s bunglings have captured the imagination of the Indian people.