Skip to main content

Opposition parties appear to have fallen into the trap of Modi-centric elections

By NS Venkataraman* 
As India is now passing through parliamentary election with more than 950 million   citizens having right to exercise their franchise,  what is unique about this election is the widely believed foregone conclusion that Mr. Narendra Modi would win the election. As a matter of fact, most people do not say that BJP,   the party that Mr. Modi belongs to,  would win the election but restrict themselves to say that Mr. Modi would win the election.  
Several  discerning observers  are of the view that Mr. Modi  himself has created such situation by naming his party’s election manifesto as “Modi Guarantee”. The opposition parties (said to be 26 or more) appear to have fallen into the trap and have  carried out their  election campaign  largely focusing on Mr. Modi as a person. In other words, the theme of the election seem to have  become “vote for Mr. Modi or vote against Mr. Modi”. This theme has provided  overwhelming advantage for Mr. Modi over others,  both within his own party and  in the opposition parties. 

Mr. Modi’s performance

The fact is that even the most bitter critic of Mr. Modi cannot deny in the heart of heart  that Mr. Modi’s performance as Prime Minister of India for the last ten years has been consistent in style, tone and action  and has been,  by and  large,  positive governance. 
While India is a vast country with multiple languages,  religions and habits, priorities and traditional practice amongst people, it is not possible for any  Prime Minister to satisfy everyone in one stroke.  Over the last ten years,
Mr. Modi has earnestly  attempted to achieve this impossible task.
The policy measures initiated by Mr. Modi  have been  focused not only on growth of economy and industry but  Mr. Modi  has also attempted to  focus on the individual lifestyle of people  by launching nationwide yoga programme, clean India campaign and so on. Several schemes initiated by Mr. Modi to empower those in the below poverty line  by constructing millions of toilets, initiating free house scheme,  zero balance account for poor etc. have been received well by the people.  
Certainly, all the measures initiated by Mr. Modi in the last ten years has seen reasonable level of success,  though most of them are still in the work in progress stage but looking positive.
The leadership that Mr. Modi provided during the grave crisis due to Covid and  his  successful  efforts to motivate the Indian scientists to develop vaccine to treat Covid  have been applauded not only in India but around the world. Mr. Modi sent such vaccine free of charge to several developing countries,  indicating his  global concern and vision.
In tackling the issues with  China and Pakistan and keeping India’s head high  in reacting to the global events,  Mr. Modi has created a  sense of confidence  amongst the Indians living in India and abroad.

Main concern:

The main concern of the people of India is the widespread corruption in the government and in the public and private sector institutions.
Mr.Modi did promise during   2014 and 2019  parliamentary elections that he would wipe out corruption in India.
 It is to the credit of Mr.Modi that  he has  ensured that  his ministers and top  bureaucrats in the central government have not been known to indulge in any corruption.
Obviously, Mr. Modi  has thought that corruption in India could be wiped out only by promoting transparency in governance and he has  taken several measures to promote digitalisation   and transfer of welfare money to the people from government by bank  transfer  etc.   Certainly, corruption is still prevalent in India and  Mr. Modi still has a long way to go in keeping his promise to root out corruption in India.  There are  positive signals  that
Mr. Modi’s crusade against corruption would continue to the logical end.
Lack of positive campaign by opposition parties :
During the ongoing campaign by opposition parties in the parliamentary election, no worthwhile alternate policy measures,  that could be better than what Mr. Modi did have been convincingly announced. On the other hand, the opposition parties have reduced their  standard of campaign by using abusive language against Mr. Modi such as liar, Hitler, dictator, thief and so on.  Such abusive language used by the opposition parties  seem to have decreased their credibility in the eyes of the people, as  nobody doubts
Mr. Modi’s personal integrity and sense of patriotism and courage of conviction. 

Battle lost before it has begun:

At present, two phases of poll have been completed and the remaining five phases  would  take place in the next one month. It appears that the opposition parties have lost the battle even before it has begun.
Mr. Modi has been travelling around the nook  and corner of the country and constantly speaking about what he calls as Modi guarantee.  In the last few weeks,  several organizations abroad have issued statements about the so called unemployment scenario in India,  so called human rights violation etc. But, such campaign from abroad have not cut the ice with the people, as these issues  have been  highly exaggerated.
As the election has now become a comparative issue of Mr. Modi as a person with that of other opposition leaders,  the opposition leaders,  who lead family controlled and dynastic parties, seem to have lost the race conclusively.
The election scenario  is marked by rhetoric and noise but is conspicuous by absence of excitement about  results. 
*Trustee,Nandini Voice For The Deprived, Chennai



Misleading ads 'manipulate, seduce, lure' to market unhealthy harmful food

By Our Representative  The Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPI) in its new report “50 Shades of Food Advertising” has sought to expose how seductive, luring, manipulative or deceptive these advertisements can be. Consequences of such advertising are increased intake of unhealthy food products that is associated with obesity and diabetes, it says. 

Why's Govt of India reluctant to consider battery storage system for renewal energy?

By Shankar Sharma*  If having so many small size battery energy storage system (BESS) at different locations of the grid, as in the report from Australia (a portfolio of 27 small battery storage projects across three Australian states that will total arounds 270 MWh), is considered to be techno-economically attractive in a commercially driven market such as Australia, the question that becomes a lot more relevance to Indian scenario is: why are our planners not in favour of installing such small size BESS at most of the distribution sub-stations not only to accelerate the addition of RE power capacities, but also to minimise the need for large size solar/ wind power parks, dedicated transmission lines and pumped storage plants; which will also minimise the associated technical losses.

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.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Failure of governance': India, China account for 54% pollution-related deaths globally

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram*   A recent report jointly prepared by UNICEF and the independent research organization Health Effects Institute has been released, and the statistics within it are alarming. It states that in 2021, air pollution caused the deaths of 2.1 million Indians, including 169,000 children who hadn't yet fully experienced life. These figures are indeed distressing and raise questions about why there hasn't been more serious effort in this direction, putting policymakers to shame. 

New MVA-INDIA MPs asked to raise Maharashtra milk farmers' demand

By Our Representative  All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) national president Dr Ashok Dhawale and AIKS Maharashtra general secretary Dr Ajit Nawale have asked three newly-elected MPs of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA-INDIA) from the milk belt of Maharashtra Dr Amol Kolhe (NCP),  Bhausaheb Wakchaure (SS), and Nilesh Lanke (NCP), to take up the cause of milk farmers of Maharashtra in Parliament.  After congratulating them on their resounding victory over their BJP-NDA rivals, the AIKS leaders apprised them of the milk farmers struggle which is intensifying in the state under the leadership of the AIKS and the Milk Farmers Joint Struggle Committee, and requested them to support it. All three MPs agreed not only to support, but also to take the initiative in this struggle, an official AIKS communique claimed. Farmers in Maharashtra are currently getting as low as Rs 24-27 per litre for cow milk, which is being sold in the market for Rs 56-60 per litre, the AIKS leaders noted. The low price to farmer

Report suggests Indian democracy 'hasn't achieved' equitable economic decentralization

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram  The news that the current economic inequality in the country is worse than during British rule is unsettling. This suggests the harsh reality that our democracy has not achieved equitable economic decentralization. A recent report by Thomas Piketty and three other economists reveals shocking findings: in 2023-24, the top 1% of the wealthiest people in India hold 40% of the nation's wealth, with a 22.6% share in income.