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India Needs a Plan, Not the Battle Cries of Modi

Zaheer Zaidi for BeyondHeadlines

Narendra Modi’s fiery speeches, outbursts and vilifications of Rahul Gandhi sound hollow in the absence of his alternative economic agenda/package. No one knows what BJP and Modi stand for, besides anti-Congress stance. Modi and the BJP have spent 10 years in Opposition condemning the UPA’s corruption and indecisiveness. Modi does not want Rahul to cry on the sad demise (murder) of his grandmother and father. He is envious of family back ground of Rahul. What is the fault of Rahul for being born in the family has given three Prime Minister to the Nation?

He opposes UPA’s Food Security Bill, MNREGA, RTI, Aam Aadmi and RTE. But where is his alternative charter of governance, where are the new ideas, beyond the slogans and the battle cries? Will he rollback FDI in retail since the BJP opposes it? What will be the Pakistan policy of a Modi-led BJP? How will a Modi-led BJP reach out to business interests in the US who are complaining about India’s protectionism? Will he push nuclear power in a big way and what is his stand on the Nuclear Liability Bill? What is his vision of the place of minorities in a democracy? What is the guarantee that 2002 will not be repeated and he will obtain clean chit from Supreme Court.

In different venues, Modi tries to market his development record, ignoring the fact Gujarat stands No. 11 in development comparing to other states. Development is limited to 6 crorpatis not to 6 crore Gujrati population. Why does he not talk about the titanic debt of Rupees 1.45 lac crores taken from the Centre? Why does he not explain as to why his allocation of funds for Education ranks 18th in the country compared to other States? Why does he maintain a studied silence regarding his unwholesome relations with Adani who has risen from rags to riches in just 10 years? Why is he mute on the pricing scam of Congress? Why Babulal Bokharia continues in Modi’s cabinet despite being convicted. Can Modi be trusted to end criminalization?

If Modi stands for an economically right-wing, business-friendly government, then where exactly is that audacious new idea in any of his speeches? Or is it difficult to make such pronouncements because there is no ideological unanimity between BJP and Sangh Parivar on business-friendly economics? If so, then the ideological confusion in a BJP-led government will be as much of a stumbling block as the sharp cleavage between “reformists” and “welfares” in the UPA.

Let’s look at another aspect of the Gujarat model, the Gujarat Lokayukta Aayog Bill 2013. The selection committee for Lokayukta includes the CM as chairman, speaker, a Cabinet minister, Leader of Opposition, a high court judge and the vigilance commissioner. Four of the six are either ruling party members or government functionaries. Clearly a toothless Lokayukta operates under the watchful eye of the executive. He hasn’t yet told us what he thinks of the UPA’s Lokpal Bill.

In the last, but not the least, I would like to say that when he failed to provide good governance in Gujarat how he would run the entire country.

2002 Gujarat riots took place right under Modi’s nose. He was sitting on the helm of affairs but failed to pre-empt and contain the riots which continued for as many as over 100 days and nights! If there was no covert & tacit approval of Modi, why did he fail to stop these? Modi and his followers have to agree that either Modi was an accomplice or acted as an utterly failed administrator. A person who could not manage peace in one State, how can he do so in the entire country?

It’s a known fact that CM’s approval encourages/emboldens his/her officers in doing right or wrong. This is exactly what happened in Gujarat. As far as getting a clean chit from the court is concerned, who doesn’t know that Hon’ble court delivers the judgment based upon the facts and figures placed before them as well as upon the skills, smartness, knowledge & ingenuity of the lawyers on either side, whether prosecution or defence. Justice therefore depends upon “what happened inside the court” and not exactly upon “what actually happened outside”. A more knowledgeable, experienced therefore costly lawyer can turn the tables on and get his client exonerated if the other side is weak. Courts have their limitations and cannot transgress it to punish the guilty or to save the not-guilty without the support of the concerned counsel. This explains the clean chit given to Modi.

The One Man government is what provides streamlined administration. But can such a one-man administration be replicated the Centre? Will state CMs be easily bludgeoned into following the diktat of an all-powerful Modi personality cult at the Centre? How does the BJP plan to deliver good governance, through the Gujarat model? Can the Gujarat model become an all-India model?

The last thing India needs is a saffron version of the UPA.

[Views expressed are personal.]

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