This appeared in Asian Age today...
Bharat Ki Vijay, says Namo…
Narendra Modi’s early tweet after his stupendous sweep at the polls, says it all. He has described the BJP victory as ‘Bharat Ki Vijay…” And how right he is! The people of India have delivered their verdict - 814 million of them. We have to bow our heads and accept the new order with humility and grace, no matter what our reservations and apprehensions about the man who will soon be anointed the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy. Change was imminent. Change has happened. A brand new chapter in India’s history has begun. The first few lines are still being written, even as more results trickle in. This is not the time to gloat. Or even mourn. There is a great deal of work that needs to get done. And get done quickly. Let us see if Narendra Modi and his team live up to people’s high expectations from the party that promised ‘Minimum government. Maximum governance.”
Is anybody really surprised by the numbers we are seeing? Yes and no. Political pundits had predicted pretty accurately (for a change!) that the country was ready to shift gears and elect not just a new leader, but a new political eco system. India has given its mandate to a brand new leader. Indian voters have demonstrated their faith in a person who decisively projected dynamism and strength, stressing on ‘development’ over ‘dynasty’ all along. Perhaps that was the precisely pitched emotive call ( to finally overthrow a family that had effectively run and ruined the country for six decades) which did the trick. Let’s be honest - this was a vote against the Gandhi family – make no bones about it. It was also a vote against systemic and sustained corruption. Voters equated the two ( Gandhis and corruption) and delivered a strong verdict against the Congress-led UPA government. A verdict that says one hell of a lot about the frustration and rage of the electorate – the youth of the country, in particular. Modi’s strident call to aggressively fight India’s first family of politics, was exactly the trigger that led to the snow balling of a nation- wide revolt aimed at overthrowing Sonia Gandhi and her son, Rahul Gandhi, - two individuals who had become emblematic of all that was wrong in India’s polity. Modi’s focused campaign drawing attention to the rampant corruption that had eroded and corroded the very core of India, eventually worked in his favour and propelled the party to its spectacular win.
The real test for Modi and his team begins now.
All eyes will be on the man who toppled several apple carts and changed the paradigm as it were. Political discourse will never be the same again - historians will talk in terms of Pre-Modi and Post-Modi India. The biggest achievement of Elections 2014 is the final collapse of the class-caste mindset, and there can be no better example of that development having taken place than ‘Chaiwalla’ Modi. One of his cleverest comebacks to the ‘tea seller’ jibe was to use that very putdown to his advantage and make Mani Shanker Aiyar look like the biggest fool (which was easy!). While the Shezada and the Empress refused to read the writing on the wall, and while the Congress courtiers in Sonia’s Durbar, fiddled away, India was changing. And changing how! The young today really don’t give a damn about which politician went to Oxford ( Salman Khursid found that out when he lost) and which one sold tea. They backed the person who was like any one of them… only far more ambitious and intelligent. Modi’s team took an enormous gamble when it was decided to make NAMO the face and future of the BJP. His was the sort of belligerent personality that antagonized and alienated the old school. A lot of concerned citizens had a problem with his handling of Godhra or, the more recent ‘Snoopgate’. These were and remain moral issues that cannot be swept under the carpet just because he has trounced the opposition. Perhaps, once the euphoria settles down a little, and the mundane day-to-day business of running the country as vast and complex as ours , becomes a reality, there will be sufficient distance and time to assess Modi sans prejudice, sans baggage. Till then, all eyes will be on the new government to see how old enemies, bitter rivals and trenchant critics are dealt with by Namo. More than any other person, how will the NDA deal with Robert Vadra ? Modi is known not to forget or forgive. There is widespread fear that he will go after those who have criticised him in the past …. those who opposed him… those who mocked him. Vendetta is a harsh and ugly word. If Modi proves his detractors wrong by not being vindictive or petty, he will win over many die hard opponents who, at the moment are watching their backs. What India needs is not a witch hunt, but a thorough clean up. And this is where Arvind Kejriwal’s jhaadoo played an important role. Never mind the AAP’s poor showing – even those four seats represent an important start for a fledgling political party which was shunned by big business and had no money to fight wealthy rivals. The creation of the Aam Aadmi was a vital step forward. It began as a one man crusade and grew into an authentic people’s movement . It will always be seen as a defiant protest that fearlessly took on the mighty . For doing just that, we should thank Arvind Kejriwal.
As for Rahul Gandhi,let’s not crucify the Reluctant Prince. It was a tough job that was thrust on him. The poor guy tried. Alas, India did not find him good enough. The Congress party has been decimated. Which is a good thing. This signals the death of dynasty. And the rebirth of democracy.
Congratulations Narendra Modi. Here’s hoping India will prosper on all levels with you at the helm. An inclusive and equal India is a strong and stable India.