By Kali Hawa
It is believed that caste factor plays important role in elections, perhaps it does but caste dynamics remains in flux; there is no guaranteed loyalty. What however is true though, selling a dream to unsuspecting masses. We have seen slogans winning elections in India over and over again. It was Indira Gandhi who first realized importance of a slogan, an endearing catch phrase that connects with the people. “Garibi Hatao’ sounded cliché to me even when I was just an adolescent and yet it connected with masses. In addition some very demonstrative acts, even if very destructive, brings out a decisive character attribute of the leader such as nationalization of private banks and abolition ‘privy purse’ by Mrs Gandhi. Madam won election hands down. Mrs. Gandhi was without doubt a decisive leader; she was skilled in political maneuvering, expert in foreign policy and held nerve in trying situation as in ‘Bangladesh War’ but she was total disaster in economics and a vindictive dictator. The problem with such leaders is that they are disconnected from reality simply because nobody has the nerve to bring bad news to them i.e nobody can tell the king that he is naked.
In contrast Atal Bihari Vajpai was accessible, open to discuss ideas, consulted specialists and also a smart pragmatist therefore produced visibly striking performance in all areas be it foreign policy or economic front or bringing social stability to the country. In spite of being the darling of the media and producing catchy slogan, ‘Shining India’, which unfortunately did not connect with masses, lost election. Whereas Manmohan Singh, an accidental PM, lacking image of a decisive leader, low profile and the bogyman of media , steered the country admirably in trying economic crisis. The performance of Manmohan Singh government was even better than Mr Vajpai’s government given that, he had no political standing, no charisma and a hotchpotch irresponsible collection of colleagues. Lost lection to Mr. Modi, on slogan ‘Gujarat Model’ sold successfully to the nation by BJP. Mr. Modi acquired image of a decisive leader without saying a word on ‘Gujarat Riots’ as a person who is willing to inflict retribution, one way or the other, to an idea carefully cultivated that majority was being ignored. In truth there was no ‘appeasement’ of minority in terms of tangible economic sops, although there was surely appeasement of clergy of the minority by giving them more dogmatic leverage. Manmohan famously said, ‘History will be kind to me’; I have no doubt about that.
During his reign of seven years Mr Modi has inflicted serious damage to the country; be it the disastrous demonetizations or botched implementation of GST or unplanned, whimsical lock down in wake of Corona pandemic. He showed some leadership in initial stage of pandemic but developed cold feet when real crisis emerged, fixing responsibility on states while still latching on to most controls. There has been no serious development in the country ever since Me. Modi took control of the country and yet such is his aura that he has acquired ‘divinity’. Nothing sticks to Mr. Modi, blame rebounds on his detractors. He will remain in saddle for many more years; it doesn’t matter if there is no tangible development or still more damage and injury inflicted on public.