Governance · Public Policy

Narendra Damodardas Modi- India’s Panacea?

“Modi jee ko lane waale hain
Acche din aane waale hain”


The 16th day of May, 2014 was an eventful one in deed! There were many congratulations, many hopes, many aspirations that started afresh on that day, and for some these aspirations were realized: After Narendra Modi’s tremendous victory in the 16th general elections of India, most people were relieved.

Narendra Modi carrying the Lotus on his shoulders as Bharatiya Janata Party’s Prime Ministerial candidate, now our Prime Minister, did not come easy to him, and definitely did not come without its fair share of criticism. Till recently, this man has been called names like Butcher of Gujarat, been mocked at for coming from a humble background and starting his career as the quintessential chaiwallah, and good Lord, even ‘Danga Babu’ (rioter) by his adversaries and enemies alike. Amongst his most persistent and lasting criticisms is the infamous riot of 2002 in Godhra, Gujarat.

The Godhra riot of 2002 needs no introduction. Even if the news back then wasn’t thoroughly read, anyone following the election trends from the day Narendrabhai Modi was nominated as BJP’s Prime Ministerial Candidate would have working knowledge about the riot, nay, massacre. Narendra Modi is soon to be the Prime Minister of India, after countless accusations, name calling, slandering, debasing, demeaning remarks, and personal attacks (about his marital status).

Narendra Modi being BJP’s PM candidate: the first negative repercussion was senior leader Lal Krishna Advani’s resignation as party president. The reactions then doubled in impact when Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar broke his party’s [JD(U)’s] alliance with BJP.

With Narendra Modi addressing pertinent issues like development, infrastructure, economic growth, power and foreign trade; he captured the imagination of the youth in this country and the middle aged, alike. He promised a Vibrant India, after the success story of Gujarat: his brainchild, the Gujarat Model or “Vibrant Gujarat”. Gujarat is one of the only states with 24 hour power supply and 10% growth in the agriculture sector. Evidently, he could market his brainchild almost as well as superstar Amitabh Bachchan could market the tourism in Gujarat: the general elections stand testimony to that.

By this time, we should have realized that Narendra Modi has two things going for him:
i) His resounding success as the Chief Minister of Gujarat for two consecutive terms, third term going on.
ii) And his charisma.

Covering over 437 rallies, crossing 3 lakh kilometres across the length and breadth of India; NaMo had turned brand BJP to brand Modi, and soon brand Modi became synonymous with a very welcome change, dawn of hope and end of the 10 year long reign of corruption, inflation, scams and unaffordable, high cost of living.

NaMo’s excellent oratory skills, often compared with Mark Antony (of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar fame) brought out the best in people in terms of their optimism about the future. He connected with the audience at a level that India hasn’t yet seen in its top leaders.

For the first time in years, India could hope that her citizens would vote for change, hope and growth. Here was a man who was constantly prodded into talking about 2002, constantly belittled by the media and politicians alike, but a major portion of his speeches were dedicated to the success of Vibrant Gujarat and his will to develop India in the same way. Of course, this was accompanied by potshots at the ruling party, but that must be considered an election campaigning pre-requisite.

Soon, most of the leaders currently in power, used to the weeknight news debate culture, used their time on TV to slander NaMo. There was news about his marriage, about his personal life, his anti-secular fascist mindset, his biggest mistake: Godhra, 2002. Clearly the Supreme Court’s Special Investigation Team’s clean chit to Narendra Modi was less than reliable as against their well-founded accusations. But meanwhile, NaMo was interacting with people across 4,000 locations in 24 states, internationally across 50 locations in 15 countries; talking about issues like women empowerment and agriculture, not stopping at use of technology for furthering his ideas, his party’s manifesto and his vision of India’s future under his Prime Minister-ship.

Come May 16th, the entire nation was on tenterhooks, waiting for the verdict. And brand Modi had won the unimaginable for BJP and the National Democratic Alliance: 282 seats in the Lok Sabha. (NDA won 336 seats). Absolute majority, comfortably crossing the 272 mark. For the first time, a non-Congress party had won absolute majority. For the first time after 1984, India even saw absolute majority. India has not seen such stability in her government for three decades.

India had given her mandate, resoundingly clear. And it was clearly not a mandate fuelled by just anti-incumbency.

India is no more voting for caste divisive politics, for pseudo secularism, for currency lust garbed in the thick veil of welfare of minorities. NaMo has brought back the focus to issues eating India from within: competence as a nation and workforce, unemployment, poverty, infrastructural growth, inflation and economic development: issues actually limiting India’s progress.

As soon as the early trends on May 16th, 2014 projected BJP’s and synonymously, Modi’s victory, Indian stocks rose. Sensex index rose by 6%. Rupee strengthened against dollar. On 16th May itself, the value of $1 (USD) was Rs. 58.5. This comes as a breath of fresh air for businessmen and investors alike, after August 2013’s record low of Rs. 68.83. Citigroup’s Adam Gilmour said that India is a rare exception, where politics actually makes a difference to the market. He said in March 2014, that Narendra Modi’s victory might actually be the first step towards the long term appreciation of the Indian Rupee to almost Rs.40-45.

Undoubtedly, NaMo is new to the national scene of politics. But he has changed history with his revolutionary way of campaigning, and the non-caste and religion based approach to politics. So one can hope that he will be a fresh change from what India has seen so far in the Prime Minister’s Office. It is hard not to be skeptical and hesitant about Narendra Modi’s ascent to the Prime Ministerial position, especially when the 2002 Godhra incident is still so fresh in the public memory; especially when the vegetarian teetotaler Indian Prime Minister is compared to no less than Adolf Hitler.

But as India looks to a future that will at worst, be same as the present and at best, a giant leap ahead, what she needs is all the optimism she can get from her citizens. After all, what better democracy than the one backed by its citizens? The glass is half full of air, and half full of water now.

It is a TsuNaMo, and we truly hope that acche din aane waale hain.

About the Author

1039706_651271471549875_1868569761_oAishwariya Sunder

Aishwariya Sunder is a student of Law at Symbiosis Law School, Pune. She is passionate about writing and baking. With a sound belief in every drop making an ocean, she wishes to contribute to the world in her own small way everyday.

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