Friday, March 10, 2017

Need of the Hour - A Strong National Opposition Party

Disclaimer: I am a great fan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 


I admire him for what he tirelessly & intuitively does for the nation and for the people of India. I admire him for his ability to awaken the feeling of 'being proud of who we are' amongst most ordinary Indians, from all walks of life. I admire him for his plain speak, without dishing out uncalled for 'freebies'. I admire him for his ability to connect with ordinary Indians and carry them along, despite hardships - how else would an exercise like demonetisation have gone through trouble free, despite all political parties and media houses protesting against it and trying to build public opinion against it. I admire him for taking all the criticism & barbs thrown at him as PM without letting up on his work.

I don't see any other person on our political landscape who has the capability and the will to lead India out of the mess that we are in. The reason for this is not far to seek. Narendra Modi, a chaiwallah, started from a very humble background, worked his way up the political ladder, and more importantly has not forgotten his roots, like most politicians (and most of us too) do when they get a foothold on the political ladder. What is the mess we are in? 

We have one of the fastest growing economies but we have the poorest people too who do not have access to basic needs of survival - clean potable water, adequate food to survive, basic shelter, rudimentary health care; in short the basic means to live a decent life as humans. Leaders and Prime Ministers over the years have brushed aside these facts and have been content with mere slogans like 'garibi hatao' while filling up their own already full coffers, without ensuring implementation of the major part of those slogans. They permitted money to be siphoned off from schemes and encouraging corruption. Corruption came to such a pass that the Prime Minister and his cabinet, in UPA-2, instead of hanging their head in shame, kept justifying the same in terms of coalition politics, as also negating the charges and misleading the nation. Our national scene could not have been more dismal.  

A leader comes on our national centre stage who does not feel ashamed to galvanise the nation on these basics. He starts his term with bowing his head at the portals of the temple of democracy, our parliament. He lives by the tenets of our Constitution. He has no charges of corruption against him. He works tirelessly. He has ignited the imagination of the people of India and also of people living all around the world, on to the possibilities that India holds. He is a workaholic who works tirelessly to take India to its rightful place in the comity of nations, while ridding our nation of the various ills, the major ones being lack of self confidence, corruption, and putting the equations right - he calls himself the pradhan sevak, and demands the same of his government. Jawahar Lal Nehru had coined the phrase 'public servants' but in due course all government functionaries turned into rulers with the citizens treating them like mai baaps. The symbols of the state started serving themselves while ignoring the needs of the citizens that they were required to serve.

PM Modi is working hard to change this equation and make his government function 'for the people', the actual raison d'etre of democracy, phrased centuries ago in the words 'by the people, of the people and for the people'. We have followed the first two meticulously over the years, except during a short duration of emergency, but the third one has somehow been forgotten over the years. Our rulers demand protection from the same people they are required to serve and protect. What an irony?

I found this video in which actor Anupam Kher gives out the reasons for his being a Modi fan or chamcha (spoon) as he puts it. My views are nearly similar.

I am also aware that PM Modi is human too and must be having a lot of shortcomings, like all of us. However, his actions as PM are totally above board. The BJP is like any other political party and would resort to the same things without a strong leader like Modi. It is thus important that we have a strong opposition in the country. The Congress has not done anything to listen to the voice of the people of the country who have rejected them time and again. This speaks of very poor or self centred leadership. 

The UP election results are awaited but all exit polls are pointing to a rout of the Congress. Except for Punjab, the results in the other four are also expected on similar lines. Punjab may be a face saver for the Congress because of Capt Amrinder Singh. There is a crying need for the Congress to revive under new leadership, but the Congress thus far has not believed in introspecting about why the people are rejecting it; they are too busy plotting, and trying to find holes in whatever the government does, whether it is demonetisation, the strikes across the border, the ISIS, etc. 

High time the Congress re-invented itself under new leadership, to provide a viable opposition to the juggernaut of the BJP. This way they would  be doing the greatest service to this nation. I had blogged about this earlier too, immediately after the Maharashtra civic poll results were announced at the following address:

A strong national opposition party is needed in India 

The most relevant point has been as follows: "11 March 2017 will be a watershed day for India. In case the BJP makes further progress in the five states and the Congress trips even more, it would time for the Congress to immediately call for a change of leadership at every level; preferably changing over to a leadership that is connected with the grassroots level. Suave, urban, Delhi based 'leaders born with a silver spoon' who are totally out of touch with India will have to be sidelined. This would be in the best interests of the country. India deserves a better opposition." 

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