History judges great leaders post facto. The likes of Marx, Churchill, Lincoln were all hailed as great leaders on the basis of the legacy they created, several years after relinquishing the high offices they occupied. Prime Minister Modi seems to be on a similar trajectory too. How will he be judged by history is a question which can’t be answered right now. However he has dropped enough hints of what kind of a legacy he may well end up creating for himself.
Mr Modi has often been criticised by his opponents in the past year of being the master of hype. At a recent public function he tried to make political capital out of that as well when he said that if he was good enough to be hyped up, well then why not? Its like that old proverb! If you have the body, well why not flaunt it?
But Mr Modi’s real chessboard is the economic front. After all he became Prime Minister on the promise of bringing in “ACHE DIN”. Let it be stated clearly that by and large there is an optimistic sentiment which he has succeeded in creating in India. And that is where he faces the biggest battle as well. Sentiment not converted to reality can be disastrous. HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh himself summed it up well in an interview to PTI in February this year when he said, ”After nine months, there is a little bit of impatience creeping in as to why no changes are happening and why this is taking so long having ?”
The impatience surely is now gaining ground. Talk to most industrialists and you will sense a certain degree of impatience creeping in. The common refrain one picks up is, “WHY CANT HE GET IT MOVING?” Mr Modi the campaigner of 2014 is very different from Mr Modi the Prime Minister in 2015. He has always been in his elements when he is trying to campaign. That’s a part of his political stable. That’s why the spate of slogans, MAKE IN INDIA, SWATCH BHARAT ABHIYAN, NAMAMI GANGE etc. Even the Prime Minister’s foreign travels fall within this sector. Its this slogan creating ability which provides Modi the catalytic push he thrives on. However when you scratch a little on the surface of politics Modi style, you do witness a sense of eerie hollowness as well. After All, he has not managed to fend off criticism of being a leader of crony capitalists. Rahul Gandhi’s jibe of Modi sarkaar being a suited booted government did end up creating a deep sense of unease for the Prime Minister. The finance minister tried to put his own spin on it by declaring the NDA government to be one of SOOJH BOOJH and not SUIT BOOT. But the damage was already done.
The author is a senior TV journalist
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