Modi’s Ref­er­ence to Par­lia­ment as Tem­ple of Democ­racy Sig­nif­i­cant

Long used to speak­ing at a high deci­bel, to­day’s speech was an at­tempt to turn states­man; clearly, on dis­play was not a PM can­di­date but a PM des­ig­nate

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - NILANJAN MUKHOPAD­HYAY

Naren­dra Modi’s speech is the first in­dica­tive state­ment of the pol­icy thrust of the govern­ment he is to form in a mat­ter of days. In his ac­cep­tance speech Modi has nat­u­rally not given clear in­di­ca­tion about pre­cise pro­grammes he in­tends to steer soon, but has made it plain that the pol­icy thrust of his govern­ment would be pro-poor.

This as­ser­tion can be per­ceived in twoways.Firstly,those­who­ex­pected a swift scal­ing down of so­cial sub­sideswillfind­a­cause­foralarm,es­pe­cially be­cause he does not negate pos­i­tive pro­grammes ini­ti­ated by pre­vi­ous regimes. Sec­ondly, prag­ma­tists would hope that pro-poor thrust does not nec­es­sar­ily mean con­tin­u­a­tion of pol­i­tics of en­ti­tle­ments.

Modi stressed on two facts to stress the wa­ter­shed na­ture of this ver­dict. He­saidthe­fact­that­some­one­fro­man im­pov­er­ished back­ground could stand at the al­tar of great­ness in In­dia cel­e­brated the in­clu­sive na­ture of its democ­racy. Sec­ondly, he em­pha­sised­he­was­bor­naf­terinde­pen­dence and this marked the emer­gence of post-1947 po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship. Modi can­not be faulted for his anal­y­sis of the ver­dict. This is not a neg­a­tive vote for UPA but is a per­sonal en­dorse­ment of Modi, and thereby his sup­port­ers would jus­tify the ‘I, me, my­self ’ strand in his speeches. But miss­ing from Modi’s ex­pla­na­tion of the re­sult is un­stated sense of ela­tion among his core Hindu sup­port­ers and a cor­re­spond­ing feel­ing of anx­i­ety among Mus­lims and those Hin­dus who did not en­dorse his can­di­da­ture. Modi would surely be aware of this but is yet to ac­cept it. His fail­ure to com­mu­ni­cate to his MPs that there are large so­cial groups who re­main scep­ti­cal of them and they must make con­scious ef­forts to win them over will in­crease sense of un­ease among crit­ics and non-sup­port­ers. Had this el­e­ment been part of his ac­cep­tance, Modi’s Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas (with all, de­vel­op­ment for all) re­frain would have sounded more gen­uine. His fail­ure to elab­o­rate risks the sen­ti­ment of be­ing dis­missed as one that is solely for the record. Thank­fully, the Modi-Modi re­frain was not there in this ac­cep­tance and in­di­cates a con­scious de­ci­sion to roll back on the enthusiasm so ev­i­dent in his vic­tory speeches in Vado­dara and Ahmed­abad.

The an­nounce­ment of ob­serv­ing Deen­dayal Upad­hyaya’s birth cen­te­nary is a sig­nif­i­cant step and will sat­isfy the RSS fra­ter­nity. Its sig­nif­i­cance can be put on a par with the Hedge­warCen­te­narycel­e­bra­tionsin 1988-89, which cat­a­pulted the pol­i­tics of RSS into na­tional promi­nence.

The Modi-mo­ment of the ac­cep­tance speech was the dra­matic man­ner in which he choked on his words and tears welled in his eyes. People asked if this was gen­uine. A more per­ti­nent ques­tion would be to ask why he got emo­tion­ally swayed by Ad­vani’s ap­pre­ci­a­tion and not by the kalei­do­scopeof suf­fer­ingthathe­saw dur­ing cam­paign. In De­cem­ber 2013 he was ques­tioned for only men­tion­ing his suf­fer­ing since 2002 (at be­ing at­tacked for com­plic­ity in ri­ots) in the blog piece he wrote af­ter a lo­cal court dis­missed Zakia Jafri’s pe­ti­tion. Why does Modi still get moved emo­tion­ally by a per­sonal mo­ment and not a big­ger so­cial oc­cur­rence?

Modi’s ref­er­ence to Par­lia­ment as tem­ple of democ­racy is sig­nif­i­cant. He­make­sacor­rect­be­gin­ning­byem­pha­sis­ing to his MPs that they have a huge re­spon­si­bil­ity. Long used to speak­ing at a high deci­bel, to­day’s was an at­tempt to turn states­man. Modi is not yet hurtling down this track yet but has made a be­gin­ning. The start could have been more pos­i­tive­but­thereisas­enseof hope­which he said as the cor­ner­stone of this ver­dict. Clearly, on dis­play was not a PM can­di­date but a PM des­ig­nate.

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