Advantage Modi-3/2015 13 Jan 2015
Festivals belong to the people
Should every day not be an occasion to promote the values of good governance? Why make it a once-a-year ritual? The ‘Good governance’ Day idea comes at a time when there appears to be a concerted attempt being made by a section of the sangh parivar to demonise the Christian community by raising the bogey of conversions.
Just look at the original idea suggested by the HRD ministry: An essay and elocution competition on the December 25 for children to speak out on good governance, effectively ensuring their attendance in school on a holiday. It was only after a newspaper expose that the government backed off, while putting up the rather lame excuse that participation was in any case only optional. It doesn’t stop there: Now, there are large advertisements in newspapers of various government functions that are planned for Christmas Day, each designed to spread the message of good governance.
For the BJP-led government, development and communalism go nicely together
Since Modi came to power, the entire Hindutva agenda has returned to the centre stage of Indian politics. At the heart of that agenda are communal violence, inflammatory statements about the relationship between Hindus and other religious groups (especially Muslims), mobilization over Ramjanambhoomi/Babri Masjid, repeal of Article 370, religious conversation, and most importantly, disrupting and reworking the education system.
Liberals convinced themselves that Modi was all about development-sanitation, sustainable urbanization, education, economic reforms and revitalization of manufacturing. Surely communalism would get in the way of developmentalism, and, if so, it was a good bet that the prime minister would hold back the right-wing lunatics in this fold.
The prime minister thus far has achieved quite little. The economy is mired in the 5-6% growth trap. His reforms are fairly puny, mostly things UPA would have done anyway or had already begun. On foreign policy, we are no better off with Pakistan and China, thanks to a series of blunders. His constant traveling threatens to become an international joke. And bureaucrats coming to work on time is not good governance but rather a middle class fantasy come true. What Narendra Modi has achieved is in fooling a lot of people into thinking that he stands for development against communalism. Nothing could be further from the truth. He well push either or both pedals as it suits him.
Extracted from an write-up by Kanti Bajpai TOI 13 Jan 2014