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7-Most Important Things You Should Know About Narendra Modi

July 16, 2013 24 comments

Must you not know why you love or loath #NaMo – more commonly known by his full name Narendra Modi.

After you read these 7-Most important things about Narendra Modi you will no longer wonder why you loved him – or loathed him.

Clear your ideas about Narendra Modi.

1. From CM-to-PM

If Narendra Modi does succeed in his Prime Ministerial bid, he will India’s first Prime Minister (PM) who progressed from a party worker to a Chief Minister onto become the Prime Minister.

Narendra Modi’s move from CM to PM will not be an ‘accidental’ PM, as some of the other PMs. Like Deve Gowda (Karnataka-CM -11 December 1994 – 31 May 1996), Chandrasekhar (never a CM per Wikipedia), Choudhary Charan Singh (UP CM-18 February 1970 – 1 October 1970; 3 April 1967 – 25 February 1968), VP Singh (UP CM – 9 June 1980 – 19 July 1982), IK Gujral (never a CM per Wikipedia).

Narendra Modi’s kind of career progression, from party worker-to-minister-to-Chief Minister-to-probable PM candidate while logical, has never happened in India.

If it happens, it will open the minds of career politicians on possible career paths.

2. Modi’s Polity

How close is Narendra Modi to the classical Indian ideal of polity where concentration of power is impossible with wide dispersal of power, wealth and poverty – defined as Bharattantra by 2ndlook?

Narendra Modi is as far – or as near to Bharattantra, as any politician in India. After all, a fruit never falls far from the tree. Indian political parties, politicians, party workers are all part of the system – of which Narendra Modi is a product.

Narendra Modi’s activist, hands-on style makes it appear that he is more efficient – but as LK Advani pointed out, Gujarat is an already ‘efficient’ State. Modi ‘may’ lay greater ‘focus’ on agriculture, education, mega-projects, etc. Congress may ‘claim’ greater ‘commitment’ to ‘minority, women & child’ welfare, etc.

Is Modi likely to ignore ‘minority, women & child’ welfare? Unlikely, going by his sound bytes.

Is Congress likely to ignore agriculture, education, mega-projects? Unlikely, going by their manifesto and sundry noises made by talking heads.

More or less is the difference between BJP and Congress.

3. Modi As A Polarizing Figure

So, is Modi a polarizing figure?

More than 6 years ago, APJ Kalam, India’s erstwhile President suggested that India must move towards a 2-Party democracy – like the US.

This movement from multi-party democracy to a 2-party democracy calls for a kind of polarization that is now common across Desert Bloc. In Europe it is Social Democrats  (represented in India by the Congress) and Christian Democrats (which is BJP in India). In the US it is Republicans and Democrats. In Britain it Conservatives versus Labour. In the Islāmic world, it is Shia vs Sunni.

Only in India has there been so many political entities with a rainbow of ideologies. Till 1977 it was Congress and the Seven Dwarfs – Congress (O), CPI, CPIM, Forward Bloc /Republican Party, Jana Sangh, Praja Socialists, Swatantra Party. In 1977, Jayaprakash Narayan worked to create an amalgam of Janata Party – which managed to oust Congress for the first time. The amalgam melted under pressures of power-jockeying by the Janata Party constituents.

Nevertheless, the 1977 Janata Party victory unleashed a spate of regional parties, that made local issues centre stage. Now for more than 30 years, no single party has won a parliamentary majority on its own steam. In such a situation, political fluidity has forced a certain kind of national consensus that ensures whichever party is in power, has to follow a broad political consensus on national policy.

More than Congress, BJP is trying to break this mold, by polarizing voters – which it hopes will be at the cost of the regional parties. Congress with the momentum of being a party in power, sees less need for this polarization right now. But that can change. For now, it is BJP which is eager for this polarization.

What are the ideological underpinning to this polarization? Nil. Zero. Zilch. 零. Nul. Null. μηδέν. ゼロ. нул. cero. It is simple power-calculus by BJP-Congress to reduce the importance of the regional parties.

4. Will Namo Polarization Strategy work?

Considering the sheer number of issues that confront India, people will choose ‘specialist’ political parties to address specific issues. Can two-party system capture all the issues that bother the Indian Voter? For now, seems unlikely.

Modi instead of chasing coalition partners, is chasing polarization!

Will this polarization strategy work?

Modi has gathered around him many Indian-Americans and it seems like this polarization idea is coming out of an Brown YummRikan Hat. Much like how some Brown YummRikans crafted the India-Shining campaign, even the current Modi strategy seems to have significant Brown YummRikan inputs.

Many of these Brown-Foreigner voices are creating a red-herring agenda for Narendra Modi. In less than 10 days, two such foreign writers expected Modi to model himself on Reagan and Thatcher. Are these foreign-consultants influencing Modi?

For instance, this revealing statement

In a democracy there will be a polarization between Democrats and Republicans.

Namo’s inspiration from US, sounds much like Advani’s call for debate with Manmohan Singh in 2009 elections – just “like in foreign countries.”

Wonder why this preoccupation by Narendra Modi with taking direction from American democracy!

5. Namo’s Message

What is Narendra Modi’s agenda? If NaMo has no defining agenda, Congress will define it.

Like 2002. Or ‘Hindu Terror’.

He says Development. Modernization. What does this mean? Will words like development, modernization enthuse the Indian Voter to stand in a line and vote for Narendra Modi?

How many Voters will stir from their houses to ‘save’ India from dynastic politics? How many Voters share Modi’s concerns about dynastic politics.

After notching up more than 75 combined man-years of governance in 12 states and the centre from 1990-2013, does BJP have to answer silly accusations about ‘secularism’?

Will Modi get more votes, if he raises the debate pitch on ‘secularism’? In a nation, where people do not bother about their neighbours religion, will speeches about secularism brings votes or boredom?

In 2009 elections, Advani raised dead topics like:

  • Money in Swiss Bank (Why bother? I am not getting any of it?)
  • Television debates (I doubt if he has anything interesting?)
  • Terrorism (Bhai, yeh terrorism kya hota hai? Urban anxiety!)
  • Strong India (Looks pretty solid to me!)

Is this anything as simple and smart as ‘Garibi Hatao’? Narendra Modi agenda as PM and his campaign has, similiar-to-Advani lack of focus.

6. Modi The Reformer

While Narendra Modi keeps making sounds about ‘minimum government, he is also admiring how the Chinese State spends an amount far bigger than India on ‘educating’ Chinese.

While  data on Gujarat government has not been collated, it is also irrelevant. Narendra Modi’s policy-response as a Prime Minister are likely to be far different from his actions as  Chief Minister. The change in context will surely change the response also.

Apart from paying lip-service, Narendra Modi has made no policy outline on thinning or reducing the State. Of course, one must remember that the India State is the thinnest among all major economies of the world.

7. Modi & 2002

Which party organized communal riots in response to Direct Action announced by Jinnah? Congress!

India has long history of communal riots – and Congress has used this ‘tool’ – liberally and frequently. While this is public knowledge, no one penalizes Congress for being an organizer of communal riots.

Unlike BJP, Congress has managed to keep 1984 anti-Sikh riots out of limelight – and keep the 2002 riots in full focus. Even the horrific Godhra incident has been airbrushed out of the national RAM (random access memory).

Is this the first time communal riots have happened in India? No. Is it the last time. No, to that also.

Will communal riots happen in the future. Definitely yes. Just like tension and riots are happening in Belfast. Like the US police forces are readying for race riots after Zimmerman acquittal in the Trayvon killing case.

Assuming Narendra Modi did turn a Nelson’s eye to the rioting, in previous and subsequent cases (like in Assam) did riots happen without political connivance?

2014-The Bugles Sound

Clearly, the 2014 Election Bugle has been sounded.

BJP and Narendra Modi have time to clean up their confusion.

By early announcements by the BJP, Congress has been forced to drain their venom early. Will they have the bite left, by the time elections actually happen?

Anna-Kejriwal has seen their first defection. Kiran Bedi has thrown her lot with the BJP.

Interesting times ahead, folks!


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