So one of my friends recently has turned into a Narendra Modi fan, maybe he always was now he is more than ever and it shows. I am not and even that shows. And that makes sitting at a table and discussing politics a bit difficult.
No, it’s not the case of, ‘if I don’t like Modi, I won’t like his followers or fans or Bhakts’, ‘Bhakts’ as called by some of them, not me. I would never call them ‘Bhakts’ unless we have a Modi temple. However, it’s more of a case of you’re not making sense to me, not all of it, but most of it.
We. My friend and I start the conversation on a very basic level. We always loved to discuss politics. And we were equally critical about the Congress when all the scams were coming out one after the other and how mis-governance had taken over during UPA regime.
But this time it is completely different, I cannot dare to criticise the government. Not that he threatens to beat me up but the moment I say, “but demonetisation…”. He pounces on me saying, “short term pain for long term gain”. But I don’t give up, because I know once upon a time he was a man of reason, and he will understand and if he does not, what is the reason behind it. Not too much to ask isn’t it? So I continue the conversation. Though my friend will never acknowledge demonetisation was a failure and will keep yapping, ‘short term pain, for long term gain.’
Just to make it clear the demonetisation when it was announced on November 8, 2016, Prime Minister said that “to break the grip of corruption and black money, we have decided that the 500 rupee and 1,000 rupee currency notes presently in use will no longer be legal tender from midnight tonight, that is 8th November 2016. This means that these notes will not be acceptable for transactions from midnight on wards. The 500 and 1,000 rupee notes hoarded by anti-national and anti-social elements will become just worthless pieces of paper.”
Later, he conveniently changed it to digitisation, which also failed and later shifted the focus to making the economy formal. “So more tax payers, bigger tax base, both in direct and indirect tax, more digitisation, lesser cash in the system, integration of the formal with the informal economy. This was also one of the principal objects as far as demonetisation was concerned. And I think there is far greater evidence now that has started moving in the right direction,” Jaitley said after the report on demonetisation was published by RBI.
I gathered the courage and highlighted the above statements to my friend but making my friend, a hardcore fan of Modi, understand this was a bit difficult. Of course he had to say that Modi is the only Prime Minister who took the effort to curb corruption and black money. Which is of course partially true but then it did not work, only thing it managed to do was win UP elections.
The other argument is, “Modiji is bringing in development” and I would rebut saying, “he is talking development, it’s kinda different, but everyone talks about development”, to which he will get a little hyper and reply, “What did Congress do for sixty years?” But hang on. Did Modi run his election campaign saying, ‘Congress did nothing for sixty years, and even we shall do nothing as well. Or he ran his campaign saying this government will change everything.’
We can go on and on about Modi and his fans and will fail to understand, why they do not understand that some of the decisions taken by the government and Modi are flawed.
Before Modi could contest the Prime Ministerial election, while he was the chief minister of Gujarat he has spoken at length at Hindustan Times conclave about how he appealed to the people of Gujarat to bring about change and development by striking the emotional chord with them, he had mentioned that people needed to be emotionally motivated for the change to come about. He also said that Gandhi emotionally motivated the nation to fight the freedom struggle, and just in the same way the previous government should have encouraged and emotionally motivated people to work towards development.
Modi has managed to strike the emotional chord with the citizens of India, but most of us are failing to understand that emotions have the potential to blind you or at least can cloud your judgment. It is the same emotional connect maybe that is holding my friend back from seeing the obvious. Modi is a good leader and maybe his heart is in the right place, when he takes all the decisions that he is taking but even the best falter and what is so wrong about accepting the wrongs?
Collectively we need to stop putting anyone on the pedestal and need to question them, criticise them. The Congress government was put up on the pedestal. Look where it has taken us!
PS: Happy birthday Narendra Modi.