As the Modi Government entered the fourth year, there are voices gaining momentum. Some are saying Modi will win handsomely, while some feel that by 2019, BJP may win the states but lose the national election, or the win is guaranteed but not the one like in 2014. Let us have a dispassionate look at the overall situation.
Modi came to power due to; corrupt rule of the congress for a decade, his work in Gujarat, massive ground support from RSS, and unrest amongst the masses desperate for a ‘big change’. Modi put forth his vision of a massive change – ‘Acche Din’. So, it was not a BJP Vs Congress, it was fight between Modi Vs the Rest. Even BJP would not have imagined the massive win that came in as a pleasant surprise in 2014. But immediately after 2014, the public turned Delhi & Bihar as a leveler for the Modi Government and that was a signal to work harder to bring about an actual change that would be felt at the ground level in terms of ending corruption, effective governance, removing poverty, better health and education, creating jobs, infra, checking black money and price rise, etc.
Public looked at Modi as a champion & a savior for the middle class, the farmers and the marginalized, and a hard task master with a vision, who could take the mighty and the corrupt to task. No wonder, people entrusted him for the BIG CHANGE. Whenever Modi took hard decisions, people readily faced hardships for him and stamped the ballots to ensure his candidates win; be it demonetization, giving up the fuel subsidy, or GST. This validates my point, that people across the spectrum of population expected Modi to take more such decisions. Every time he has taken hard decisions, his popularity soared; and every time the party went for electoral shortcuts like getting Kiran Bedi for Delhi or Manjhi in Bihar, BJP lost. This has a clear message for Modi, take hard decisions and we will support you. No other head of the state in the world enjoys such a luxury!
Even my family doesn’t know who was our candidate was in Panvel constituency (I guess it was someone from the BJP ally Shiv Sena), but my entire family voted in the name of Modi. This is precisely the reason why a large number of candidates who may not have saved even their security deposit, have won the elections by getting votes in the name of Modi. Question is, did they work to utilize the opportunity or did they fritter away?
At this time, after 3 ½ years, it is a mixed bag. While people at the ground feel happy that they gave the charge to Modi, but some are also disappointed to some extent. All that was expected (said or unsaid) has not happened and it is 3 ½ years. For me, it appears that a strong foundational – ground-work in terms of strong policies (internal and external) has been initiated – Governance is transformed but administration has a long way to go. But let’s accept the fact that, the majority of the population is neither literate or analytical like I am, and they would only like to see the following in 5 years max; improvement in the scenario for Jobs, health, education, price control, corruption free administration, and good roads and electricity, as the measure of the Government’s performance. Also, changes in the ground should be visible!!
What next: People still have a great affection for this man who works 20 hours a day without taking a single day off, but will this translate in majority for the BJP? Well, the UP local municipal elections ,Gujarat election & the Rajasthan by-polls do offer a cue. But Modi still has time to turnaround, a year and a half is a long time in politics and administration.
What is going wrong: this is the first time that elected representatives were aware that if they didn’t get the BJP ticket they would have lost, but instead of utilizing the opportunity to work and make a difference to their electorate, majority have started working in a manner as to be a politically visible and to ‘please the leadership’ by issuing statements, press releases and advertisements. Unfortunately, by such acts, they have only weakened the ‘Modi & Shah’ brand.
Also, relying too much on bureaucracy has yielded the same results it gave to the economist technocrat who ran this country for a decade. The grand vision of the PM has not been implemented by the bureaucracy as Modi had envisioned. Every now and then, we keep hearing that PMO ‘took the class’ for this or that, but the movement and follow up is not yielding any result. A project announced in PMs constituency in Dec 2014 is still to be fully implemented, which should have ideally been done in 3-6 months. PM cannot be expected to follow up each and every program / project. It’s the job of bureaucracy / his political team to ensure timely implementation. Same applies to a few other projects and manifesto commitments. Inept bureaucracy has pulled down the GDP growth by 2-4 %. Few ministers who can rough up bureaucrats for non-delivery (and it’s the right approach), have performed. It is a hard fact, that barring a few ministers, rest of them are living on the popularity of Modi , field work of Shah & social influence of the RSS.
All of us know, Modi saved the party in 2014. It was Modi’s last-minute pitch that rescued BJP in UP and Gujarat elections. Should this not be a wake-up-call for BJP leaders? There is so much to do, and elected representatives are assuming that they will run this country for another 25 years under Modi!! My message to political leaders in BJP, please wake-up, and please don’t take the electorate for granted. This article in ET is a good reference (‘For BJP, The Reforms Within’, published on the day this Government was sworn in https://goo.gl/g1jcAj
The only way you can please Modi-Shah is by action on ground and not by creating visibility through statements, posters and rallies. If you want Modi to run this country for the next 25 years, please remember that there are no short-cuts to the ‘real change’ that ‘has to be’ ‘experienced’ by the ‘electorate’.
Now, answering the most important question, will NDA win in 2019? The answer will be hard for many to accept!!! Only if Modi goes to the people saying ‘vote for me’, he will get a thumping victory for the party again. A note of caution!! When it comes to Modi, There Is No Alternative (TINA). But, this is the last lifeline and the last time for the BJP, if things don’t change, now!!