Skip to main content

TINA factor? Why so many Indians still think: Modi’s stewardship is indispensable

By NS Venkataraman* 

For the last 19 years, Narendra Modi, first as the chief minister of Gujarat, and later as the Prime Minister of India, has been receiving bouquets and brickbats from a cross section of countrymen. Modi’s ardent admirers see everything positive in his personal and public life. But his sworn critics have found several negatives in him and have not hesitated to be very critical in order to tarnish his image.
When Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat, he was described as a “merchant of death” by an opposition party leader, ostensibly referring to the 2002 Gujarat riots. As Prime Minister, he has been viciously criticised as a “thief”, a “liar” and now a “coward”.
Yet, the fact is, Modi has been winning election after election. He has so far remained unchallenged. The view has gone strong that he would win the next parliamentary election, too, again with a thumping majority. It is high time his ardent admirers and bitter critics dispassionately examine what he is actually worth.
One of Modi’s trump cards has been his ability to publicly project himself as a disciplined person in his personal life having a clean, non-corruptible image, one who is a determined achiever and a hard task master. His admirers think his predecessors did not any of this.
It is a fact that he has built this image against the backdrop of his strong effort to project himself as a staunch Hindu. He shows in qualms in participating in traditional Hindu rituals alone, which his admirers suggest is his courage of conviction.
Indeed, Modi shows little concern for his critics, when they call him anti-secular or a Hindu extremist. They are particularly perturbed about his refusal to participate in any Islamic or Christian rituals, which, according to them, goes against India’s secular ethos.
Modi comes from a very poor family and has seen poverty in his younger days. This has helped him project himself as a person who understands the needs of the underdog. His popular schemes are seen as his effort to end poverty. These include construction millions of toilets, distribution of free LPG connections to the poor, subsidised housing schemes, enabling poor to open zero bank accounts, the health insurance scheme for the poor, and so on.
In order to project his governance as corruption free, in July 2016, he amended a 1988 law, which was passed in Parliament. It was called Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016. This was followed by demonetization, in what seemed to be a desperate attempt to check black money in circulation.
Knowing well that any move to promote private sector and privatization of public enterprises would be viewed as anti-poor, he has suggested that business and industry should remain the domain of the private sector, while the state should concentrate on governance. He believes that private sector need not be a suspect, and that it is as much loyal to the country’s cause as others.
Modi calls private entrepreneurs as wealth creators. He believes that their development would inevitably help overall economic development of all strata of society, even lift poverty. Modi’s Atmanirbhar scheme and Make in India campaign appear to be part of this overall policy framework – of promoting wealth creators.
While Modi has continued with several of the major schemes of the past government such as Aadhaar and MGNREGA, he is facing challenges from several fronts. Farmers from several are up in arms against the farm laws. The Covid-19 crisis has uprooted several of the country’s development plans. Meanwhile, the collusion between Pakistan and China is posing a great threat to India’s security. All this and more have come under heavy criticism from opposition leaders and activists.
Modi’s detractors recently went so far as to criticise him for applauding an outgoing leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha with tears in his eyes, with some even stating that Hitler and Mussolini shed tears on certain occasions as a political tactic.
It is a fact that Modi has not eradicated corruption from India, nor has he been able to eliminate poverty to any appreciable extent. The performance of the government machinery, especially at the ground level, has not improved to any desirable extent. The streets in the country are still not adequately clean in spite of his Clean India campaign.
Alleviating poverty in India is not a quick fix job. It requires steady and forward looking policy measures. Large sections of countrymen still believe that as of today there is no alternative (TINA) to Modi and his stewardship, and that that there is no other political leader in India today who measures up to his standards.
No doubt, no leader is indispensable. A person would project himself as indispensable only when no alternative emerges on the horizon.
---
Trustee, Nandini Voice for The Deprived, Chennai

Comments

Jag Jivan said…
The author is right. In fact tears were rolling down the eyes of Hitler and Mussolini were very genuine. They were expression of feelings for their constituencies. They were surely not meant for lakhs killed during World war. Indeed, Modi is also following suit by caring for his constituency. Lovely Mr Venkataraman
Anonymous said…
The TINA factor is valid. The Congress is a laughing stock and Rahul Gandhi emotes the "Pappu" image .

TRENDING

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Australia least prepared to fight Hindu 'extremism', admits diaspora NGO group

Tiranga rally in Sydney: Cause of stir among diaspora By Our Representative  The Australian Alliance Against Hate and Violence (AAAHAV) has said that Australia is “least prepared” to counter the allegedly “rising threat of Hindu far right extremism”. Calling upon politicians, federal and state governments to “urgently recognise the threat far-right Hindu extremism”, it asks “to take concrete steps to address this threat.”

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.

NAPM extends support to Indian, Aussie citizen groups 'opposing' Adani ventures

#StopAdani action in Australia  Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), extending solidarity to the global campaign by the Youth Action to Stop Adani (YAStA), held in recently in Australia and India, has said that the effort was to bring more attention to the struggle aboriginal, indigenous peoples, farmers, working class and other oppressed communities against allegedly anti-people multinational corporate conglomerates.