Mango Man


S. Venkataraman for BeyondHeadlines

After creditable performance as Chief Minister of Gujarat for over ten years and by launching  a sustained election campaign almost single handed and  with economic development agenda as the central theme, Mr. Narendra Modi was voted to power and emerged as the Prime Minister of India.  It is now recognised by everyone that people voted for Mr. Narendra Modi reposing faith in him and not as much for BJP or any other alliance partner.  Therefore, the present government of India is more a Modi government rather than a BJP   or NDA government.

In the last one year since becoming Prime Minister,  Mr. Modi had taken several innovative initiatives like Clean India Campaign, Make in India programme and now International Yoga Day ,which have been well appreciated all over India and abroad . While the opposition parties and section of media  do criticise Mr. Modi  on several grounds, it is a fact that people continue to  repose faith in Mr. Modi .

What is now become increasingly clear is that there is huge difference in calibre and capability  between Mr. Modi and other ministers in his government and other leaders in  BJP and other political parties. This is too obvious to be ignored. In such circumstances, several supporters of Mr. Modi appear to think that he must assert himself a little more  and show their place to a few ministers in his cabinet, who tend to make wild and controversial  observations  and the party men who are suspected of corrupt practices. They wonder as to why Mr. Modi keep silent without taking strong and corrective action against them, inspite of his overwhelming  position in the party and the government.

The present controversy with regard to Ms. Sushma Swaraj meeting Lalit Modi, a controversial and much suspected person and Rajasthan Chief Minister having  dealings with this person and Mr. Modi remaining silent on these developments,  now appear to erode Mr. Modi’s image as a strong person who will not tolerate corruption and nepotism.  Even if  Mr. Modi had some compulsions to remain silent , he has to show some courage and determination to stand by the cause of probity rather than not reacting to the unacceptable behaviour of his colleagues.

Mr. Modi’s real strength is  his image and the public confidence in him and he has to take great care to protect his credibility. Common man in India is now impatient and is highly frustrated about the corrupt and dishonest politicians having strangle hold over governance in many states. People want someone who would put down such corrupt elements mercilessly and ensure governance by committed and honest people.  This was with such expectation from Mr. Modi that they voted him to power.  One hopes that Mr. Modi is aware of this.

The recent Delhi election when Mr. Modi’s BJP was thoroughly humiliated inspite of Mr. Modi campaigning , should make Mr. Modi realise that there is a limit to his charisma. People of Delhi have rejected him and he must be introspecting as to what could be  the reason for this.

While there is huge difference between Mr. Modi and other political leaders in India today, Mr. Modi should meet the challenges ahead of him  with confidence which essentially is one of defeating corrupt forces and putting them down mercilessly. His economic agenda are strong and praiseworthy but this will not be a substitute for ensuring probity in public life. As a matter  of fact, restoring probity in public life is a pre condition for the success of economic development programmes of Mr. Modi.

If Modi would react like conventional Indian politician by tolerating corrupt people in his government and party for the sake of staying on in power , he will do a big mistake. The sure way for Mr. Modi to stay on in power would be to stand by the cause of probity , when  others in his government and political party would inevitably  behave.  If he makes himself weak by tolerating corrupt or misbehaving people, the credibility he has gained after hard work would be wiped out in one stroke.

In the absence of strong credibility, Mr. Modi would be left with no strength.

(N.S.Venkataraman is a Chemical Engineer from Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu and Director of Nandini Consultancy Centre. He can be reached at


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