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Two more for Modi

Two more Congress bastions, Maharashtra and Haryana, have fallen. The grand old party is now virtually wiped off the political landscape; ruling just 9 states, most of them tiny. For Modi, it’s a case of, “when it rains, it pours.”  For the Congress, things have been tsunamic; the decimation is nearly complete.  Its governance is now restricted to Kerala, Karnataka, Uttarakhand,

Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Meghalaya; there too no one knows how long.  

 

What then are the lessons?

First, it is apparent that Narendra Modi has captured national imagination in the absence of a viable alternative. There is a leadership vacuum in the Congress and Rahul Gandhi has time and again shown that he works only in fits and starts. The Congress is paying the price for not having democratised its working and for not having provided politicians with a career path.  That is now turning to Rajiv’s elder daughter, Priyanka, speaks of a bankruptcy of ideas.

Two, incidentally and interestingly, much of the slaughter on the Congress across states and across the country has also been because it has been amoebic. The split is resulting in a TMC, in a NCP, in a YSR Congress have hurt it hard whereas the BJP, its internal bickering and contradictions notwithstanding, has stood together.   

Three, that the Congress lost because it had already held power for 15 long years in Maharashtra and 10 years in Haryana and that people were looking for a change may be right but that does not mean the incumbent has to lose. After all, if they had governed well or atleast seen to be governing well, they would not have come to this pass.

Four, in a country where over the last 25 years we have only seen fractured mandates, a majority that just about crosses the threshold line or one that falls short of it marginally is considered massive.  Would the BJP form a minority government in Maharashtra? One will have to see if it accepts the support of the NCP, which Modi had called Naturally Corrupt Party, or that of the Shiv Sena of whom he had demanded an unqualified apology for their unflattering statement about him and failing which he had said that the Sena should leave his national government.

Five, given the unfettered power that he holds, Modi should now act. Mark it; he has almost overnight converted the BJP, which had boasted of collective leadership, into a one-man party. Do you hear any minister making a statement on television? Remember the extra-ordinary volte-face on black money, not to speak of those on Chinese intrusions, biryani diplomacies and US hugging? We haven’t seen any action on Robert Vadra’s special status in airports of which so much noise was made.

 

Modi must act

Will he now act on the Haryana land deal? Will he take Adarsh to its logical conclusion? Will his new chief minister (remember none was named in the run up to the election; a matter about which the BJP had always taunted the Congress) convert Maximum City into a livable, likeable one for the rest of India?  Will he finally call the Delhi elections after the success they have tasted in the recent elections and after having been at in power in India for 150 days?

The results should motivate Modi to push through key economic reforms. GST has been hanging fire for quite sometime now. So has the DTC. Police reforms are a long distance away. There is a need to work with and through all the parties, ignoring what the noisy bhaktas might rant. Modi did the right thing about retaining Aadhar although his party had once called it anti-national. The promise of bringing black money back has to be taken with renewed vigour. His government has now refused to give details of the names of those with a Swiss bank account citing DTAA! That was a repeat of what the Congress had said, except that the NDA then stalled parliament for much the same thing.

It is these ulta-pulta stands that bug the politically uncommitted Indian. 30 years ago, this nation thought that Rajiv Gandhi will race it to a new India. 10 years ago, it believed an apolitical Dr. Singh will serve us the right menu. Today, a generation looks up to Modi. Will history repeat itself? Or will the man from Gujarat turn out to be a statesman.  History beckons him.

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