In 1984, Rajiv Gandhi got India’s greatest mandate ever. However, in less than two years it all fell apart starting with the Bofors scam revelations. In 2009, the Congress got a surprise 200+ seats in the General Elections and started dreaming of 272+.
However the CWG scam came in the very next year and they fell fully apart as early as 2011.
Modi haters were hoping for a similar situation when he was elected in 2014. That’s why you had one anti-Modi campaign after another: Rs 10 lakh suit, Louis Vuitton shawl, #Intolerance, #AwardWapsi, #Kanhaiya, #RohithVemula, #Gurmehar...
The problem with all these virtual hit jobs was the real issues related to real people got buried under the carpet, and the Modi bashing frenzy reached such levels that there was hardly any constructive criticism on his policies.
|Traditionally, India loves it dictators. (Credit: PTI photo)|
Nobody really did any sterling investigative journalism and went through all of Modi’s policies with a fine-tooth comb to make him squirm. The result is that Modi can now simply dismiss every criticism he gets with a flourish, even if some of it is valid.
Meanwhile as we are short of the third anniversary of the Modi regime at the Centre, he seems to be on a home run. First came the #SurgicalStrike on PoK. Then came #Demonetisation, which Modi detractors thought was their Bofors-CWG moment. Looking at all the TV channels you could have indeed thought that a disaster had struck India and the common people were furious with Modi.
But since then the BJP won a slew of civic elections and now set to win the biggest prize of Uttar Pradesh with Uttarakhand to boot. So Modi can now present #DeMo as a spectacular success. Modi has two years and he can afford to take some really tough decisions for one year. The people will now tolerate future #DeMo type situations.
After that he can go totally populist in the final year and become a sort of desi Santa Claus with a white beard and saffron suit. Nothing looks to stop the Modi juggernaut now.
But what if some Bofors-type scandal comes in the next two years? Don’t worry. Modi is ruthless. He will simply sack the minister and move one. If you don’t think that’ll happen then just look to Gujarat.
His favourite Anandiben Patel was totally beleaguered and Gujarat was in the news for all the wrong reasons. He simply let her go and put a non-Patel in charge. All the bad news emanating from Gujarat vanished. Just like that!
That means Modi looks set to win 2019 too. Which brings us to a scary thought that Modi virtually has no opposition and looks set to rule like a dictator.
Traditionally, India loves it dictators. Mahatma Gandhi ran the freedom struggle like a dictator. All regional leaders in India today rule their parties with an iron fist. That’s been the tradition after 1947.
Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi ruled till death. Indira only lost one General Election due to her own foolishness. You could call them the two dictatorships of India. Now we may well have our third in the form of Modi.
Modi detractors have brought this upon them and the country. By trying to create an anti-Modi controversy every day, the citizens of India have totally become desensitised. There is no opposition to Modi within the BJP. The media has been totally discredited with their one-track campaign.
The intellectuals have become a joke. No regional leader can stand up to Modi. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal are nowhere near Modi’s national stature. Not only is "There Is No Alternative (TINA)" for the PM’s post, but we also have "There Is No Opposition" (TINO). TINA + TINO = Grounds for a dictatorship.
If and when Modi is re-elected in 2019, you will see him in a totally new avatar. He will become an old hand in Lutyens’ Delhi and enter his hardline status. People like AB Vajpayee and LK Advani were hardliners who went soft in the end. Modi may do the reverse.
In 2014, Modi shed his hardline image to ease himself into power. If he wins in 2019, with all political, media and intellectual opposition in total disarray, nothing stops him from re-adopting his hardline status.
While his leadership style changing is one thing, what effect this will have on things like Ram Mandir, Uniform Civil Code, Article 370 etc remains to be seen. In fact, Modi could switch gears even after India gets its new president and vice-president, which are now certain to be Modi’s personal political picks.
Modi haters always come out with self-fulfilling prophecies. Beware if he remains chief minister for too long! Beware if he remains prime minister!
Their final prophecy was that he would become a dictator of India if he came to power. Looks like their that wish is also going to come true!