Feature writing — Election results

Modi to get a third term as the Prime Minster, but suspicion, mistrust and doubts fill the air in the swearing ceremony venue

The post is written by Ansuman Tripathy. (The views are that of the author. This blog posts it as an English lesson.)

Modi is set to be sworn in today as the prime minister for three consecutive terms. The BJP and the pliable media will go the whole hog to portray the investiture as another affirmation of Mr. Modi’s grip on power and the nation’s faith in him. However, the discomfort in the face of Mr. Modi, and the disquiet even among the BJP attendees will be hard to hide. Brand Modi has taken a bashing at the hands of the electorate and it’s anyone’s guess what comes next in India’s politics. The zeitgeist in the country’s political climate has changed from a Hindutva-driven growth era to a more egalitarian, justice-based, and secular political scene.

Modi steps into his chair, chastened, reduced, and very confused. Neither of his two coalition partners will accept policies of discrimination against the minorities, the unleashing of aggressive young men onto the streets to browbeat the opposition, and the use of coercive administrative tools to clobber  the bureaucracy and the judiciary. The Uniform Civil Code, the CAA, One nation-One election are some of the planks the RSS and the BJP have used to whip up communal frenzy and garner votes of the Hindus. Sadly, for Mr. Modi and for his cohorts in the BJP, most Hindus showed no discernible fascination towards such divisive ideals. For the middle- and lower-class Indians, bread and butter issues took precedence over religious chauvinism. They were not swayed by the utopian ride-back to the perceived superiority of Hindus in ancient India.

In this age of AI, drone-warfare, chip-making technology, and impressive strides in medical science, a journey to the past glory clearly points to a regressive mindset. Temples are important, but not at the cost of employment-generation, fast economic growth, a switch-back to a rule-based social order. Mr. Modi mistook the self-engineered media accolades to be a true major of his popularity. His penchant for camera focus brought him ridicule. No doubt, Mr, Modi, the erstwhile chaiwala, who had risen from the ground up, had lost touch with the hard realities of an average citizen’s difficult daily life. Mr. Modi went to great lengths to project himself as a devout Hindu, an ‘avtar’ ordained by God to serve his subjects. Voters had no difficulty in seeing through such attempts towards image-building. His abrasive election speeches laced with improper words were detested by his own partymen, too.

Despite all these failings, Mr. Modi remains the leading figure in Indian politics. He can still lead the country to prosperity and growth, but for that he needs the unwavering support of his two coalition partners. For winning the duo’s trust, Mr. Modi must mute, if not shed, shed his anti-minority rhetoric. Both these requirements appear to be tall orders for Mr. Modi as of now. His ingrained autocratic tendencies would miff his coalition partners to the point of leaving, and shedding or numbing of his anti-minority bias would necessitate an approval of the RSS, his ideological mentor outfit.

Despite these apparently impossible goals, if he succeeds in being pragmatic and far-sighted, and emerges as a consensus leader like Vajpayee, he could be a very successful prime minister.  India will rise to great heights then.



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