PM Narendra Modi
File photo of PM Narendra Modi | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
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Here’s a hypothetical question. Is it possible for any country, at any point in time, to have a 45-year high unemployment rate, and still witness the return of the incumbent government?

Narendra Modi’s second term has come on the back of a crippling slowdown that his government is handling clumsily. Yet, most will agree that the BJP is likely to sweep the forthcoming assembly elections in Jharkhand, Haryana and Maharashtra. Like the 34-year-old Communist rule in West Bengal, the BJP’s election machinery is disconnected from the economic performance of the government. The two have nothing to do with each other.

If poor management of the economy, massive job losses and stagnant rural economy can’t make the BJP lose elections, what incentive does Narendra Modi have to focus on the economy?

What a politician chooses to spend their political capital on always tells a lot about their priorities.

In Narendra Modi’s first term as PM (Modi-1) it was demonetisation. A harebrained economic plan with a moralistic and socialist bent. As demonetisation brought daily life to a halt, Modi laughed about how people didn’t have money for weddings. “Ghar mein shaadi hai,” he said, “paise nahi hai,” waving his thumb. People have weddings but no money at home, he joked. The audience laughed too.

Demonetisation epitomises Modi’s love for disruption and chaos. It is by no means the only example. The tinkering with the Reserve Bank of India, the agile deal-making to win elections at any cost, the tearing hurry to implement GST, all point to Modi’s penchant for disruption and chaos.

Modi’s compulsive need for disruption is so immense that often it is disruption for the sake of disruption. He wants nothing more than to take the world by surprise and make a sudden address to the nation. This is in contrast to the status quoist Congress, which likes to act as a slow-moving elephant, losing opportunity but not wanting to rock any boat.


Also read: Make no mistake: Demonetisation has been as much a political failure as an economic one


Throw open the safety valve

The Indian National Congress was formed in 1885 supposedly as a ‘safety valve’ through which Indians could let off the steam of discontent against the British. The idea of a safety valve is to maintain the status quo, prevent a rebellion or revolution.

The joke is that the Congress party even today continues to see itself as a safety valve. Its style of running India for all these decades has been about managing the myriad frictions in the country. The Congress way is to not rock the boat for the elites and yet give the poor something; to not give Dalits land and still make them believe in the idea of India; to tire out the secessionist movements, by neither succumbing to popular revolt nor losing out to militants. To make Article 370 meaningless without actually removing it is the Congress way of doing things.

The BJP of Modi-Shah is the opposite of a safety valve. They want to open the fissures, turn them into bleeding wounds, and see which ones heal and which ones don’t. It is an anarchist approach, because when the dust settles there will be a new order. That the process will be painful is a given.

Modi’s first term was about economic anarchy. Modi’s second term, it has been made clear, is about political anarchy. People thought Article 370 can’t be removed. The government removed it with one notification (with 52 errors). With such audacious unilateralism on display, it is clear that Modi’s second term is going to be all about political anarchy. Already, many have compared the Kashmir move to demonetisation.

The political triumphalism will give way to ill effects for many years to come. But by then, Modi-Shah would have carried out many more anarchic disruptions. Uniform Civil Code, further weakening of federalism, creation of new states and new union territories, Ram Mandir, a long queue of opposition leaders in jail — these are just some things that are expected.


Also read: Modi-made economic crisis won’t disappear by chanting Jai Shri Ram


The real anarchist

The NRC process in Assam has clearly shown that the idea that the state had millions of illegal Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants was a xenophobic and Islamophobic myth. Despite that, the BJP wants NRC across India. It will help in anti-Muslim polarisation. If and when it happens, the process itself will be a punishment. And even limited success would help disenfranchise some Muslims, making it even easier for the BJP to win elections.

As for the Hindus who may fall foul of the NRC, there’s the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to give Hindu migrants citizenship. Note how the BJP doesn’t seem to be perturbed by the fact that the Citizenship Bill could stoke new fires in the northeast. They don’t mind fanning new fires. They actually love it. Chaos and anarchy produce opportunities for re-alignment. How do you expect to dismantle a secular state and establish a Hindu Rashtra without chaos?

Why would Amit Shah of all people say India needs a national language to unify it? As someone who has been taking the BJP to the remotest corners of the country, he surely knows that a statement like this could alienate many regions from the BJP. Yet, the need for chaos and disruption is always greater.

From 2011 to 2014, it was the Lokpal movement and the Aam Aadmi Party that were accused of being ‘anarchist’. Since then, the AAP has been trying to become more and more mainstream. Today none can even call the AAP anti-establishment. It is Modi who turned out to be the real anarchist.

Between the status quoism of the Congress and the anarchism of Modi, what India really needs is a reformist. That seems like a distant dream now.


Also read: On NRC’s 19 lakhs, Modi govt must not ignore Sardar Patel’s advice on citizenship


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26 Comments Share Your Views

26 COMMENTS

  1. Narendra Modi is a strange cross between Indira Gandhi and General Zia ul Haq – a self-obsessed megalomaniac with a religious fanatical mind. Under him India is fast on its way to becoming Pakistan not just metaphorically but literally too because by the time Modi and his donkey Amit Shah finish India will be geographically reduced to the size of our neighbouring countries. Then they can have One Nation, One Party, One Leader and One Language with One Poll to elect themselves back to power again and again.

  2. If there is one leader who proved himself to be successful, not once but twice, by taking the entire nation for a ride with hollow promises and inane rhetorical flourishes- he is none else but Modi. It demands one of audacity of highest order to set out the objectives of demonitisation in grand terms and to speak none of them, when the entire exercise turns out to be economically and socially disruptive. At present, the self-styled Nero has been on the spree of foreign trips, when the country is reeling under the terrific economic slowdown.

  3. From this status quoism or anarchism what which we the people can get ? This is a big question . As a common people I think that we have nothing to get bat suffering . There no such party politics in India that can upgrade the common people’s status . All are the server of either the capitalist or the theaves like Nirab Modi , Mallya like people to hikes ministers pockets !

  4. It’s a well known fact this author is a paid congress opinion writer. He nor the print never write about
    Corruption under 50 years of congress rule and the systematic loot of country’s resources.
    The reason for Intellect voters to decide on Modi as PM is his honesty.
    Yes we do miss the days of milk and honey flowing on the Indian streets and money hanging
    In trees to be plucked under congress rule.(being sarcastic)
    By the way this author and the publication has to be complemented for their loyalty to their
    paymasters.

  5. Because he is Shivam Vij so these are his biased views not that of a journalists views. In Modi 1, the economy flourished, GDP reached at 8, tax collections through GST reached one lac crore per month, this gave sleepless nights to tax evaders. Demonetisation exposed black wealth hoarders and exposed the Indian economy how fake currency was circulating in the economy. So many shell companies were exposed.
    In Modi 2, the long-standing demand of abrogation of Article 370 met with, Triple Talaq bill was passed. Crony politician like P.Chidmbaram is behind the bar, what more can be done within 100 days.
    Vij should abrogate journalism and should join the Congress Party.

    • Economy flourished in Modi 1 then what happened to it suddenly ? abhi toh picture shuru hui hai… wait and watch how bad coming quarters and years ll be for India, when current government and its followers live in denial…
      Tax evaders ? the same tax evaders who cant be raided by income tax officers… how many people were caught after demonetization ?
      One thing Narendra Modi cant do in 100 days is to educate people and tell them the real problem.

  6. Modi could have been India’s Deng Xiaoping. Alas that was not to be. It is almost certain we won’t witness decades of consistent high growth in the future. There is no planning, vision, or focus in this Government. Energy is spent only on headline management and showboating. Many people already realise this. Hence the flight of capital.

    The Indian dream, which was very difficult to begin with, is in the ICU. It is sad it has come to this.

  7. Modi wants to be known as a genius. Something like the apple fell on his head and Newton discovered Gravity. Or something like in one stroke he changed the axis of the earth. Note all his actions are to this point. He went to Lahore uninvited. He wanted to change the Indo Pak history in one stroke. Demonitisation to remove black money in one stroke. 370 to finish off Kashmir in one stroke. He wants to be known as a genius.

    • But the real genius is Priyankaji and not Modi. India is not realising it today as it is blinded by a sanghi media and the likes of closet sanghis like the author of the article SV.

      • Priyankaji is genius. You vatican puppet, this is India and sangh is part of India not vatican unlike priyanka. Modi is a great leader

  8. The writer himself states that the Congress was OK with losing opportunities rather than rocking the boat – this resulted in the “lost decade” for India (2004-2014). Does he want the trend to continue ? Nobody likes change – human mentality. But that does no mean that bold decisions should not be taken – sometimes they are necessary for progress. Positive disruption is required for countries to come out of a rut. Modi’s reforms are being chastised as “anarchist” – that is a ridiculous statement to make. The writer apparently does not want India to progress!!

    • we are seeing the progress at 5 % down from 7-8%… that’s how you measure progress… moreover read the paper presented by ex Modi Economist: GDP is itself inflated #. actual GDP is 1-2 points less …

  9. Well said. He like disruption for the sake of disruption and social policies more than economic policies. But are we not wanting him to take hard decisions and go for disruptions because of his strong majority? So bear the chaos period due to these disruptions.

  10. Reading this column, the thought struck me, How will this be viewed by potential foreign investors. Have got my answer from Twitter. Resident Indians were sending out about $ 1 billion a year under the liberalised scheme for foreign investors during UPA. Last year, that figure was $ 13 billion, might rise to $ 20 billion this year.

      • If you say this the sanghis will claim that 13 billion and the 20 billion belong to Vadraji. Looks like you are a closet sanghi like Shivam who writes dual meaning articles actually targeting Priyankaji and Vadraji while pretending to oppose Modi.

  11. !! Asatyam Shivam Sadaa Sandesham !!
    On Monday mornings, our greatest ever writer in Universe (past, present & future) comes to ThePrint office, vomits all his weekend inputs and clears his system. Hope everything alright now!

  12. Nana Chudasama once said about his economic condition, The bills are paid on time, the dogs are fed. Most Indians would be happy to say this about themselves. Think of Disruptions as the Circus. That still leaves the Bread to be taken care of. Chhota mulq nahin hai. Each month, one million more young Indians join a lengthening queue for jobs. As someone who understands economics but not politics, one honestly does not know what is going on. Or how long it can go on like this.

    • Fully agreed people who are generally Thankless lot have forgotten the golden years of congress rule under our matron Soniaji. They keep on talking about high inflation during her time without understanding inflation means prosperity. If only you have money you can pay more. Bangladeshi s used to come to India in lakhs due to availability of jobs and job supply was more than available Indians to work…

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