Modi Govt best model of democratic leadership
India is in its 70th year of Independence. In these seven decades we have witnessed different models of democratic leadership.
The current series of direct action by civil society activists started with Anna Hazare’s movement in 2010 for the Jan Lokpal. Arvind Kejriwal (AK), who was his associate in that popular media-savvy campaign, parted ways with the Gandhian style of Anna and launched his own political party-the Aam Aadmi Party. The AAP was a new star in Indian politics that focused attention on the single issue of corruption in public life.
Kejriwal represented the angst of the urban educated middle class which had enough of the cynical amoral style of the political leaders of today. They were sick of the culture of corruption but always afraid of entering the rough and tumble of politics. AK rushed where angels had feared to tread so far and the AAP was the result.
In India, at the time of Independence we adopted the British pattern of parliamentary democracy almost as a natural development. It seems to have worked in a robust manner for these seven decades.
While we can be happy with the track record of Independent India so far, it will be worth examining which Prime Minister or Government displayed the best model of democratic leadership.
The 11 Prime Ministers who have held the office since Independence so far have left us broadly with four types of political leadership models.
The first type is the pure democratic model inspired by the British Parliament with a history of 700 years. This was natural as we were a British colony. Our first two Prime Ministers, Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri, performed the vital function of presiding over the welding of our huge country into a single modern nation and making it into the largest functioning democracy in the world.They built vital institutions like the Election Commission and a free Press. Lal Bahadur Shastri showed great moral courage and leadership and integrity in public life unmatched by any of his successors so far, till Narendra Modi formed his Government in 2014.
The second type of a strong political leadership was ushered in by our third PM, Indira Gandhi. She held office in two spells for 15 years. The first spell of 11 years (1966 to 1977) saw many positive developments like the Green Revolution and the White Revolution.
However, one sad legacy of Indira Gandhi was that the Congress became totally dependent on the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. The legacy was carried forward by his son, Rajiv Gandhi.
The third model of political leadership was displayed by non-Congress Prime Ministers Morarji Desai, Charan Singh, Deve Gowda, Inder Kumar Gujral and Chandra Shekhar. These Governments were the coalitions dominated by regional parties and parties based on castes and communities. PV Narasimha Rao, who was the Prime Minister hailing from the Congress Party, needs to be classified as a unique leader of democracy.
Modi Sarkar which came to power in 2014 represents a fourth type of political leadership. Firmly rooted in the culture and tradition of India and determined to provide development through good governance, this appears to me to be the best organised and structured model of democratic political leadership so far.
It is significant that two years since coming to power, the Modi Government is free of any whiff of corruption. In addition, a lot of initiatives for development have taken place. The PM has taken a lead in improving the international image of our country.
The wide-ranging Cabinet reshuffle in July 2016 by Modi showed that meritocracy prevails in his Government where performers are rewarded and non-performers quietly dropped.
Modi Sarkar thus passes both our tests for democratic leadership. This is perhaps the best type of well-structured political leadership we have had in Independent India so far.