more than 4years have passed since the country witnessed a watershed moment where a single party won electoral majority after decades of fractured mandates. narendra modi became country’s prime minister, and let us tell you why almost every second voter was thrilled- they saw the rise of a ‘chai-wallah’ from being a boy with no political patronage to occupying nation’s most powerful office.
modi’s bjp could win the imagination of the electorate because one, the public found the only other alternative, congress, as a party of the powerful and corrupt; and two, modi was projected as the only savior of the poor, middle-class and corporates. another underpinning was the hindu-supremacy narrative that was propagated superbly through social media platforms by depicting the majority faith as reeling under appeasement politics of non-nda parties.
modi has achieved some goals, for example, financial inclusion, increased pace of electrification and paving of new roads, a new indirect tax regime and a seemingly effective law on insolvency. the problem arises when all these works are being projected as being done by a ‘great benevolent ruler’, and that only he and his team could have achieved this. in this narrative, the congress, which has its own set of past achievements and failures, is being presented as a party which only weakened indian society and economy.
but is this narrative true? no. what is actually wrong is that cult of personality has overshadowed the politics of india in past 4 years. almost every bjp leader or woker finds it impossible to end her/ his speech without mentioning the word ‘modi’ and his alleged superpowers, and the worst part is that the prime minister himself mentions his own name ‘modi’ multiple times in his public speeches while attacking the opposition.
the outcome of this is that all accountable and responsible persons, including leaders, ministers, chief ministers, governors, public sector employees and bureaucrats, have accorded all preference to praising the cult leader rather than treading the path of reforms and progress. chest-thumping on every policy action has become a trend with the word ‘historic’ being used to describe every action of government.
although history cannot repeat itself in exactly the same manner, historical events do provide some hints. adolf hitler gained a cult status on the back of chauvinism (exaggerated patriotism), xenophobia and supremacy of one race over the other. in india of today, hindus are being called upon to rise to the fear of a minority faith takeover and all bjp leaders, including its national president, are using this fear as a tool to remain in power.
increased rates of fuel in india, low credit growth, inadequate job growth, corruption are all being sidelined and a false impression of india rising as a superpower under modi is being created. the truth, however, is that corruption and inefficiency in public offices is still widespread, public sector enterprises are only wasting public money on high salaries and low productivity, india isn’t mentioned in power politics of even asia, let alone the world, and the government is busy criticizing congress rather than counting its own achievements even after an almost 5-year term in office.
bjp believes modi and the patriotic narrative will win them 2019; we doubt this since the general public can no longer be tricked by unnecessarily changing names of cities, placing hindu monks as chief ministers and building unwanted statues of public figures. the fall of mayawati in uttar pradesh assembly elections of 2012 holds much cue.