New Delhi: prime minister Narendra Damodardas Modi’s survival in the politics hinges upon the `there is no alternative’ (TINA) factor. After reaching the apex of political power on May 26, 2014, Modi has managed to turn adversity into an opportunity through his political and administrative acumen.
Facing incessant criticism, he covered his political journey against all odds, and this in a nutshell describes Modi, who is approaching the halfway point of his five-year tenure as head of a BJP-led government.
When he took charge of the government, he promised acche din, but after two years in office, key economic reforms are stalled and his ‘make in India’ push to turn the country into a manufacturing powerhouse, has floundered. But his achievement is visible in his government’s attempted reforms in the moribund power sector. If government statistics are to be believed, more than 7,000 villages across the country have been electrified in FY 2015-16.
Besides, India’s foreign direct investment (FDI) in FY 2015 has outstripped China and inflation has been under control.
Modi, who has brought the opposition parties down to their knees, has been accused of subverting democracy and being termed as a dictator. His supporters claim he has single-handedly ensured that the central government stays clear from the taint of corruption.
Although his aura of invincibility was punctured in assembly poll debacles of Delhi and Bihar, 40 per cent of respondents chose him as the best candidate to be the next prime minister in a February poll for a weekly magazine.
In the recent assembly poll results, BJP has won merely only in Assam, but opening an account in Kerala, with 15 per cent vote share, has boosted the party’s morale, as it has expanded its sphere of influence in those directions of the country where the BJP has no presence.
However, the real test is Uttar Pradesh, where Modi has to win to sustain his hope of gaining control of Parliament and a second term in 2019.
Against these odds, Modi told a rally in Saharanpur on Thursday – the occasion of completing two years in office – that a mood of hope is pervading the country, replacing the earlier hopelessness.
In the face of Congress criticism that there was no governance but only lecture, Modi hit back saying that the changes he has put in place would have been regarded by previous administrations as difficult to implement. Now that he has, his critics say there are no “big bang” reforms.
The prime minister, who has spent considerable time meeting world leaders and building relationships with them, emphasises that India is no longer standing in a corner and has a role to play on the global stage.
Modi’s journey to the top has been messy. When he was elevated to the BJP parliamentary board, the highest decision-making body in the party on March 31, 2013, there were several dissenting voices. With stoic silence he faced criticism and was appointed as the BJP’s central election campaign committee chief for the 2014 general election.
In the course of his rise, Modi had to face protests of his one-time mentor Lal Krishna Advani, who resigned his party posts in protest. Modi understood that the path ahead was thorny, therefore, since coming to power, he has ruthlessly put down any potential challenger.
Despite his obvious appeal, the stigma of complicity during the Godhra riots still sticks to his image. Modi, however, assumes an aggressiver persona from the confidence of doing well in Gujarat, and is now making a difference for the country.