Breaking Views

Modi will be judged for his work in India. Not showmanship abroad

The challenge is to translate the purposive energy into something more substantive.

 |  Breaking Views  |  2-minute read |   29-09-2015
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US is over. Whichever way you look at it, Modi has shown once again he is the ultimate showman politician. Forget for a moment what the concrete results from the visit are; give the man credit for his boundless energy, ability to seize the moment and powerful oratory. We can be sceptical about whether he is selling "Brand Modi" more than "Brand India" but in the end the two are indistinguishable.

He has brought a sense of purposive energy to his foreign policy. The challenge is to translate it now into something more substantive. Indeed, this remains Modi's big challenge at home and abroad: he talks a good talk, but can he walk the talk? If he can push ahead with reforms and get the economy moving, CEOs will line up in India rather than the prime minister having to go abroad.

Frankly, this is what the debate should focus on. Instead, we have seen the Congress needlessly bringing in Modi's relationship with his mother into focus. Yes, the tears appeared a bit theatrical as do some of the stories surrounding Modi's early life, but whether his mother did wash utensils or not should not be the basis for a public war of words.

The fact is, Modi had a tough life as a child and is a remarkable success story. By focussing on his mother, the Congress has scored a self goal. As far as the prime minister is concerned, maybe he too needs to slip out of perpetual campaign mode. San Jose is not Bihar but the prime minister seemed at times to have one eye on the Bihar polls during his speech to NRIs. In the end, Modi will be judged by how effectively he is able to make a difference to the lives of average Indians in the heart of India, not by being part of cheerleading crowds on the east or west coast of the US.

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Rajdeep Sardesai Rajdeep Sardesai @sardesairajdeep

Journalist, author: 2014: The Election That Changed India. When not chained to the news, watch sport, read, write, sleep and enjoy family holidays.

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