Monday, February 6, 2023
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PM Modi’s 1st-year report card — C in economy, D in governance, but A in political optics

In his second stint, PM Modi has gained an advantage over his opposition — any economic downturn can now be blamed on the coronavirus pandemic.

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It’s been nearly a year since Narendra Modi was voted back as prime minister with an unwavering mandate. The first year of his second term has been full of duds — a crawling economy, which his government has struggled to tackle, job losses, no big-bang welfare measures unlike the first term, no marquee policy initiative to capture any segment’s imagination.

And yet, this has been an out-and-out Narendra Modi year, one that has given him further political fillip.

Since assuming office on 30 May 2019, Narendra Modi has managed to deliver on a string of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s key promises — scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status through the dilution of Article 370, bringing in the polarising Citizenship (Amendment) Act, enacting the legislation on triple talaq, and ensuring his government sets up a trust to build the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Thus, while the year has been disastrous on the economic front — exposing Modi and his cabinet’s hollow governance abilities and their complete lack of grasp on the economy — the political optics have remained in the spotlight.

And now, amid the unprecedented Covid-19 crisis, Modi has got a tailor-made opportunity to emerge as the ‘saviour leader’.

This also means that nothing will come to the opposition easily, and it will have to work harder to bring ‘Brand Modi’ down.

Also read: With Covid-19, not just air quality, but India’s politics also has come out of red zone

Modi’s year that was

Bad economic news is what dominated this year of the Modi government. In January 2020, the National Statistical Office under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation predicted that the Indian economy would grow at an 11-year low of 5 per cent in 2019-20.

Modi and his team clearly seemed out of their depth in the face of the slowdown, weighed down by a poor bench strength, lack of talent, and inability to come up with solutions. His previous decisions, like the demonetisation of 2016, continued to have ripple effects, with people losing jobs.

The year was completely devoid of what defined Modi’s first term as PM, and what contributed immensely to his return — a no-holds-barred emphasis on welfare and pro-poor schemes. Thus, while 2014-2019 was about Ujjwala, rural housing, Jan Dhan, Ayushman Bharat, Saubhagya, Swachh Bharat, creation of ‘model villages’ — several of which were launched early on in his stint, the past year has seen no imagination on the welfare front. Moreover, even the focus on rural outreach and the existing pro-poor initiatives has been far less prominent.

But Modi has still had a politically ‘successful’ year. Successful because he has delivered what his core constituency and the majoritarian Hindutva-wielding and ultra-nationalist voter wants.

Thus, diluting Article 370 has helped Modi communicate to his voters that he has ‘integrated’ Kashmir into India. With the CAA, he has ensured an ‘Akhand Bharat’ and brought Hindus across the neighbourhood under one umbrella. The Triple Talaq law means Modi can tell Hindus he has ‘saved’ Muslim women from the ‘injustice’ of their religion. And, of course, the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya came as a boost, particularly with the onus to form a trust that will oversee the construction of the temple lying on his government.

In a sense, Modi has done very little in the first year of his second term — except bulldoze his way through with contentious legislation as well as decisions, while ignoring legitimate concerns among several quarters. And yet, it is this steamrolling that has given Modi the optics he desired, further boosting his political image.

Also read: Enough of mann ki baat Modiji. Covid-19 war is the time to take some questions

The Covid-19 opportunity

As the cliche goes, in every crisis lies an opportunity. For Narendra Modi, the coronavirus pandemic has become a way to re-emphasise the image he wants to project of himself — a statesman who can take everyone along and steer the nation through a tough phase.

This pandemic can be a double-edged sword — going horribly wrong for political leaders who are seen to be dealing with it ineffectively, much like Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Madhya Pradesh.

But for Modi, the handling of the pandemic seems to be working in his favour so far, and has also helped deflect attention from a sluggish economy. Any economic downturn can now be blamed on the coronavirus, a politically convenient approach.

The Covid-19 crisis has given him yet another chance to be the showman, and dominate India’s political landscape.

Modi’s first year report card has many Cs and Ds as far as governance, policy making and the economy are concerned, but the political optics — which is all that matters to him — are straight As.

Views are personal.

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  1. A wonderful article speaking about the true facts of our present political situation.People supporting both NDA and UPA have turned a blind eye towards their political leaders.We need to grow up and evaluate the governance of our government so that we cast vote to an elligible canditate rather than a mere orator.To those who think oppressing people’s voice help,I request please read 1984 and see the dangers of letting a government turn into a totalitarian form.Please be peaceful,we all are Indians and our mutual growth is a demand of the present.


  3. Wow….now you can do all your praise and stotras on the Italian family and earn your alms ..your article is clearly anti Modi and keep ranting and crying with your tears… Modi will be the PM for the next term also

  4. PM Mody’s Biggest Lapse in Governance was to allow Moulvi Saeed to allow MARKAZ meeting to take place which triggered the Foolblooded Growth and widespread Infection of Corona Virus from Kashmir to Kanyakumari ! Strange that he does not Admit or Sack Home Minister Amit Shah and CM Of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal nor does he mention this lapse in any of his speeches ?!

  5. Ruhi tawari when write such articles, you basically make a mockery of Indian voter and Indias democracy, a political party (read BJP) mentioned in its manifesto about removal of article 370 from Kashmir and CAA and was voted to power. If it had delivered on its promise what is your problem voters were aware and elected. Them. On economic front you forget to mention the legacy issues faced by banks sector of bad loans why???. Covit 19 is not going to be an issue but reason to push the envelope of economic reforms forward. You have Sans understanding of economics still want to just present few nos. to under score few points. Remember this is corruption free government. Even if few businessmans have commented negatively on this present government don’t forget they have long standing association with congress. Also note that even if we the have voted for this government, implementation of government schemes is in the hands of government employees who have long association with congress and its working style. It takes time to change things. It will good for you to take note and understand that Indian politics has changed for good.

  6. like someone else mentioned before, whatever said and done this govt. does not reek of corruption . fresh change from the earlier congress rule.

  7. Who are all these nonentities that the Print is digging up in its shadow battle with BJP and Modi? Utterly pointless rants motivated by visceral hate for clean administrations and nostalgia for the loss of opportunities for monumental corruption that they enjoyed under the reign of the corrupt relics of the dynasty. Nothing less or more!

  8. I am always amazed by articles published in The Print of Shekhar Gupta as totally senseless stuff is being churned out week after week by Jyoti, Sivam, Ruhi etc. From what context, the idea of rating Modi came up now and too when India is fighting corona? Also, if Shekhar were to write this article, it would have carried some semblance of authority at least. Luckily, Ruhi did not conclude that Modi brought corona to India in a secret pact with Xi, to hide failures on economic front! Perhaps, if Modi continues to remain as popular due to good handling of corona, Ruhi may reach that conclusion out of sheer desperation. All that Modi has done in last 1 year as well as in the previous term is junked fully and with disdain. Shekhar is playing on both sides! Or there is another controlling interest on the background which is not know to us!!

    • Shekhar Gupta keeps himself objective. He gets Modi-bashing done by his army of rookies. None of them writes an article, they blow their irrelevant opinion to a thousand words and The Print publishes it. You’ll hardly ever see any substantiation of the preposterous claims, slanderous statements. The Print is increasingly resembling The Wire, which is another balloon inflated with flatulence–when it pricks, the stink will show it for what it is worth.

    • I am sure those who know Shekhar Gupta know well that he is a crony of 10 JP. He masquerades as a neutral journos but read between the lines and his subtle digs at Modi, BJP, Hindus are well too evident. It is worthwhile to note that not a single scam of the UPA regime was uncovered by SG and his team. So much for a journo who is head of EGI and who likes to call himself senior journalist, liberal, etc. Does he ever speak on corruption in journalism ? Never ? If he dare speaks a lot of skeletons will come out of his and his fraternity’s closet. SG is a well planted congress journo, one amongst the many of the powerful congress ecosystem which Modi is trying hard to dismantle

  9. As some bhakt has pointed out somewhere else in the comment section the fact is so long bua bhatija are not near the throne, everything is going alright.

    • Right, perhaps we should go back to the good old days when Bua, Bhatija, Pappu, Edvige Antonia Albina Maino, and Maunisingh were in-charge.

        • Tablighi Jamaat sympathiser spotted. I am sure you are also okay with Corona warriors being attacked by your Jihadi community friends. Good going, comrade! But…Don’t worry the whole India knows the truth and therefore, you people give up the hope – Modi will remain in the power at least for next 15 years. Your propaganda will not reap you any benefits. Jai Hind!

  10. Absolutely right everything will now be blamed on the Pandemic. If the PM is serious about making India a booming economy he should seize the opportunity provided by the Pandemic to usher in reform in labour laws,make the atmosphere more investor friendly, do away with draconian laws like retrospect taxation remove the prevalent but unspoken fear among the investors about the coming back of the inspector raj,hold back and neutralise organisational like Swadeshi Jagaran Manch with their pass by date ideologies so that businesses and enterprenuership can thrive and drive the economy. If the Prime minister decides to ride roughshod over fringe left and fringe right in the interest of the country’s economy he will be thanked by posterity. This his best and last chance to grab the opportunity.

  11. Why just ABCD, go up to E and Z.
    So long as 90% of the people of India continue to have trust in Narendra Modi and his government, it does not matter what dear Ruhi thinks. Or is it that she thinks that the people of India are idiots?

    • What journalism? Don’t mistake what this woman writes for journalism. She and her colleagues like Shivam Vij are paid to turn out tons of bovine excrement every day.

  12. The headline says it all. Ruhi please get ready for a wave of abuse, recrimination, condemnation, justification, whataboutery and trolling from you know whom, as people have a lot of free time these days. ☺

  13. Ruhi Tewari writes crap articles is once again proved. Communist leaning will only ask from welfare. The violence over CAA was handiwork of communists, islamists and librandus like her. This year is bad for many countries. What job creations skills people like RUHI TEWARI have? Nothing.

  14. Absolutely bang on about now everything wrong about the economy can be blamed on covid 19 .The economy was already in ICU but now has gone to Coma due to Covid 19 public memory been short nobody will remember who got the economy into ICU in the first place

  15. Shekhar Gupta gets all the mud slinging and spitting by his army of Modi haters but he keeps himself spotless. Great way to pretend to be innocent.

  16. Third class unfit for even z, grade leave c, D. Just reading one heading filled with filth saying corona opportunity is enough to judge this third rate writer..

  17. Your discomfort is palpable.
    When you throw data on Indian economy, please give data on world economy, which is going south many months before covid.
    Managing covid, where Modi received unprecedented support from everyone and acquiring # 1 position in world for leadership, is part of governance so your D has no meaning here.
    Please refrain from creeping in of your personal dislike into your professional work. Otherwise, you will remain inconsequential for all the time, as you are now.

  18. Only the most ardent of Modi’s supporters will believe that Kashmir has been integrated into India. Political capital built on eggshells will always remain fragile and it will take only one wrong step to crumble. His image has already started to crumble in countries that had hailed him initially-USA, UK, UAE, OIC, Malaysia, Turkey…..

    • Porki leftie scums can cry hoarse and peddle fake news but their days are over and they will soon be outcast. Try booking flight for 72 hoors

  19. Surely this writer, brilliant as Rahul Gandhi cannot find any substantial points to find fault with Modiji.Will he alleast accept there is not a single corruption charge against him or his government?And more importantly there was no major communal riots?And so,his masters are capitalising on the Tablighis and murder of Hindu Sadhus?This type of writing has no meaning.

  20. This D in governance is not particularly true, are you comparing it with previous regimes then he is a B
    Economy is an issue nobody can solve and Congress cannot create miracles

  21. There are so many images that define this period. My choice would be of brave Indians – including children and the elderly – walking hundreds of kilometres along solitary highways to what little shelter and comfort awaits them in their villages.

  22. The print continues anti modi stance ..that why i unsubscribe the print youtube channel..they don’t look positive side of modi government…..

  23. Why journalists who sit in Delhi are so out of reality?
    Do you and your editor really think that Integration of kashmir into India, abolition of bad practice like Triple talak and other as Political optics?
    Do you see abolition of Sati (an old Hindu practice also as political optics of British ?
    Why do journalism (instead of politics) if you have so biased views?

  24. Ruhi, you appear pretty frustrated and demotivated. The Opposition has no hope to come back in power in 2024, not with utterly corrupt, incompetent and narrow minded netas like Sharad Power, Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, KCR, Kumaraswamy, Kejriwal…the list goes on. So what hopes do people like you have? None. You and Shekhar Guptas of the world will remain unemployed and will be confined to writing online blogs like this one for the next 10 years. Shekhar Gupta chose the wrong horse that cannot be undone – he is now repenting for it. Antonio Maino and her mafia is no longer relevant in today’s India. Take off your colored glasses, you are likely to see better ratings in every sphere of Modi’s goverance except economy which I agree with you but then its not his fault. Between 2004-2014, UPA has destroyed our economy beyond repair and implanted the present bureaucracy with corrupt stooges and Yes men who are now acting as their spies and creating hurdles in different govt. schemes.

  25. So easy to criticize…. so difficult to propose sensible alternatives.
    Your article fails to mention a single alternate policy proposed by the esteemed Opposition – which shows how hollow and baseless your criticism is.
    Modi hatred is The Print’s raison d’être – take your blinkers off you fools.

  26. Yes, Modi is the luckiest politician on the planet. Gets credit for the good he has not done, does not get blamed even for mistakes (demonetization). Now even Corona has come as a blessing for him. Delhi riots, CAA, economy forgotten, people come out to clap and light lamps at his mere word. He has earned enough material for his 2024 campaign.

    On the other side is Rahul Gandhi, the unluckiest politician on the planet. Gets blamed for everything he has not done. All the mistakes of his father, grandmother, and great grandfather are blamed on him. But none of the achievements of the UPA government accrue to him.

  27. which economy in the world is doing well? Germany, China, Japan, France, Brazil, Russia are all contracting. why isolate India. You hate him or you like him but you cannot ignore him. he is India’s PM and the way people abuse him can you do the same thing in China?

  28. Why such magnanimity? As usual blindly rank Modi govt Z -. Any way indian public will rank it A+. But why do you care?

    • Nope, only Bhakts , the communal, bigotted , dumb crowd will give it an A+ . Modi is the worst PM that India has ever had , no plans for development , he only has plans for further Hindu – Muslim divide and guess what , bhakts like you are completely satisfied. You dont understand that the soil under your fee is getting eroded gradually

  29. “Rent a journalist ” have lost hope of being “the important middlemen ” they used to be during earlier congress government. This desperation shows and I sincerely hope the editor ensures that they don’t go into depression and a psychiatrist is arranged for them.

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