Nagpur News: The elevation of Narendra Modi as the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate will have mixed reaction from India’s population. All parties will surely gear up to propagate his communal image, Godhra riots, fake encounters, his anti-minority speeches etc and create a fear psychosis amongst the minority population. If Narendra Modi becomes the Prime-Minister, their lives will become increasingly insecure due to discriminatory policies of the government. I am sure that the BJP and Narendra Modi will choose not to counter these allegations and instead divert the entire election campaign to the issue of development by bringing in new ideas to attract the youth and the middle class. Interesting! The election 2014 will certainly turn out to be as interesting and as exciting as the 1971 elections when all non-Congress parties have trained their guns Indira Gandhi with slogans like ‘Indira Hatao’ while Indira Gandhi took up national issues like ‘Garibi Hatao’.
Watch Out! Is History repeating itself?
For the middle class (which includes people from the minorities) Modi comes as a hope. Poor economic conditions, devaluation of rupee , price rise have taken a toll on them leading to job loss, frustration and despair. The increasing populist measures taken by the government have led to the feeling of alienation amongst the middle class. We are fed up! For them Modi comes as a hope who will break the political trend that had started since the 1969 general elections. This is not to say that the middle class is not interested in the upliftment of the poorer sections or eradication of poverty. It gives us hope when the government takes some policies which will benefit the middle class. It makes us feel that the government is ours also. Whether we accept it or not, middle class is the backbone of a country’s economy. We cannot forget the fact that industries, shopping malls, multiplexes thrive only on the purchasing power emanated from the brand new middle class. The government can think of food subsidies only if the economy revives. The entire theory of consumerism and market economy revolves around the middle class. Given this situation I strongly feel that Narendra Modi should be given a chance.
No communal riot in Gujarat since 2002
Since independence, there were many occasions when we have ‘gambled’ with India. Indira Gandhi was a domineering person who never flinched from taking tough decisions. We loved her, we voted for her with the hope that she would not only fulfil her promises but also strengthen democracy. Some people viewed that she not only failed to fulfil all her promises, she also deviated from democratic values and imposed the Emergency by taking all constitutional powers in her own hands. What happened? India is still a democracy following all democratic and constitutional values. Between 1967-2012 India had been a witness to 15 communal riots out which 10 happened under Congress rule. What Happened? We are still a secular country following all secular norms. Yes, may be state power was used to aggravate the Godhra riots in 2002 in Gujarat . But since 2002 Gujarat hasn’t witnessed any communal riots, though the same party is ruling there, enjoying a 2/3 majority. Not only that the Sachar Committee Report points to the better condition of the Muslims in Gujarat compared to national average.
‘Dhokla Diplomacy’ works
These facts, no doubt, deepen our faith in the inherent strength of India’s socio-economic and political structure. Let’s therefore give Modi a chance…. As of now he is the one of the few leaders who has understood the true meaning of globalisation. He has understood that globalisation means embracing a global culture embracing a global culture without marginalising the local and national cultures. If he takes Japan’s help in Gujarat’s development, he also ensures that some Gujarati element ( eg. Delicious Dhoklas!) is exported to Japan. India truly needs a leader like him.
– By Dr Jayati Chakraborty
(Writer has done Ph.D on ‘Mahatma Gandhi and Women’ from University of Calcutta. Currently serves as Senior Teacher in Centre Point School, Wardhaman Nagar, Nagpur)