Modinomics a panacea for the national challenges

K K Khosa There cannot be any doubt that the nation has been very fortunate to have Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister for the past seven years whose second term will come to an end in May 2024. When the NDA took over under his leadership in 2014 it finally brought an end to an infamous era of governance that was synonymous with huge scams and massive corruption. This had resulted in the economy of the nation remaining in doldrums. Desperation and dejection amongst the masses was the order of the day. When the morale of the common man was at the lowest ebb, especially of those from the downtrodden sections, who were fed up and feeling helpless in the face of exploitation by the political bosses, the rise of Narendra Modi came as a refreshing change. This change brought about in its wake a feeling of hope and expectancy as against the sentiment of despondency and despair which prevailed at that time. A Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh activist and pracharak, turned politician acquired his governance skills from his three stints as the Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat which he steered with great skill and dedication turning it into one of the most efficiently governed states of the Union of India. During his long stint as the Chief Minister he also had to handle a massive natural calamity in the form of a devastating earthquake wreaking havoc and widespread destruction of lives and property. The main challenges that confronted the nation in 2014 can be broadly enumerated. Some of them emanated from inimical neighbouring States, from internal subversive forces including terrorist organizations operating in Kashmir, Punjab, north east and the Naxal gangs. The other challenges included the revival of a shattered economy resulting from huge scams and mounting bad debts of nationalized banks. The last but not the least, the ecosystem that had evolved over a span of 65 years since independence that was guided by a self interest at the cost of all protective norms was proliferating as ever. All pillars of democracy were controlled by those for whom selfinterest was supreme and who could go to any length to promote it even at the cost of national interest and even if it meant supporting at times the internal and external enemies of the nation. During the first five years of his tenure as Prime Minister, he was by and large successful in facing these challenges which brought about a change in the scenario. The economy started looking up slowly and steadily helped by the abrupt absence of scams and corruption in high places although the prevalence of corrupt practices in the lower echelons of administration and in day to day life continues to plague our system even today, in which almost every one of us is a contributory. The challenges from neighboring countries, Pakistan and China, were met with confidence by using adequate force without bothering for any repercussions it could have had on our domestic milieu. The surgical strike in Uri and the handling of the Doklam faceoff with China are clear examples of how the Nation has pursued an aggressive and proactive defense policy to safeguard its national interests and its territorial integrity. Again, with our proactive foreign policy spearheaded by the Prime Minister himself the nation saw its stock rise in the comity of Nations and India was catapulted to the center stage of international politics. QUAD etc. are glaring examples of our success as an emerging superpower. With the eruption of the Covid – 19 pandemic in 2019 and its spread and virulence during the past year and a half, the Modi Government was destined to face yet another humongous challenge which was unprecedented in nature and for which no known or established cure has still been invented. The fury with which it recurred after remaining subdued for about a couple of months has wreaked havoc, extracting a heavy toll of lives. Although the Government of India and the various State Governments are putting in their best efforts, the pandemic is still giving us nightmares. Notwithstanding the concerted and multipronged approach adopted by the Modi Government in which most citizens are trying to lend a helping hand, there are those who are seeing it an opportunity to dent his popularity and to destabilize the Government. The entire well-oiled ecosystem referred to above has become active again and is trying to magnify every little chink that is visible in the handling of the crisis in order to malign the Prime Minister and his Government. While this narrative is not about Congress versus BJP yet there is no denying the fact that the party that ruled India for about six decades is feeling uncomfortable without wielding power and has been showing its desperation to climb back to power in no uncertain terms. It has been using all means fair and foul at its command to malign and stigmatize the persona of the PM who in their opinion and in reality also is the sole stumbling block in their game plan. There is actually no doubt that the future and the success of the BJP is inextricably interwoven with that of the Prime Minister. While the pandemic is raging in full fury and extracting its heavy toll on the hapless citizens of the nation, this anti-Modi conglomerate of some political parties, a section of the media both national and international especially the New York Times and the BBC are making all out efforts to corner and put the blame on the PM himself. In this respect the images of the election rallies, those of the religious gathering at Kumbh – Mela and the images of the large number of cremations are being exploited to the hilt with the twin purpose of blaming the PM and also diverting the attention from the abject failures of some of the State Governments due to their callous, ambivalent and negligent attitude during the short gap between the first and the second wave of coronavirus. This period should have been utilized to prime up and strengthen the healthcare infrastructure by the State Governments within their respective jurisdictions. When we talk of Delhi where the mess is beyond imagination, the obvious blame falls primarily on the Kejriwal Government and also on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Government of India. The holding of large rallies and the Kumbh Mela are being used as bashing tools to further the dubious and nefarious plans to discredit the PM. Even at the risk of being branded a Modi Bhakt as the term goes in today’s parlance the fact remains that the achievements of the Modi era are unprecedented and tremendous having catapulted the nation to a much higher level in every respect. We as Kashmiri Pandits know how important it is in national interest to have a strong nationalist Government in the border States like West Bengal and Assam to thwart the nefarious designs of converting them into hubs and havens of antinational activity by changing their demography due to mass displacement and migration as in the case of Kashmir. The Modi – Shah rallies no doubt made bad optics while the pandemic was raging with all its might. Yet the PM cannot be accused of dereliction of duty. If the Madras High Court has passed strictures against the Election Commission, the Calcutta High Court could have taken suomoto cognizance of the electioneering in West Bengal and ordered a ban on holding of rallies. The nation needs to take a holistic view of the conditions that are prevailing in India especially in the national capital and wait patiently for the emergency measures initiated to fructify in the near future. We need not fall into the trap of false propaganda and narratives sought to be amplified by the likes of Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghosh, Rana Ayub etc. in connivance with the foreign media especially the New York Times and the Washington Post etc. which wants to portray the image of a resurgent India in poor light. (The author is president, Kashmiri Pandit Sabha, Jammu)