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A deadly blow to dynasts

COMMENT POLITICS NATION By Prem Chandran Who, now, is ducking for cover? Who, other than the regional dynasts who wanted .....




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03-12-2022
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COMMENT POLITICS NATION

By Prem Chandran

Who, now, is ducking for cover? Who, other than the regional dynasts who wanted to oust Narendra Modi and BJP from power in Delhi and grab the "gaddi"? None of us had expected such a huge sweep for the BJP in the five-state assembly polls. This, despite pre-election surveys repeatedly saying the BJP would retain power in UP and that the fight would be neck-and-neck between the BJP and the Congress in Uttarakhand and Goa, and that the AAP will triumph in Punjab. In the end, the BJP grabbed power in four of the five states with decisive edges over its rivals.

The results are, in a way, surprising. The general understanding was that Modi, the face of the BJP, no more inspires us and that his governance past the past nearly eight years was below par. We waited in the hope that he would be out in another two years and the BJP mantle will fall on someone else. But, here comes the shocker. The BJP keeps thriving under Modi.

Facts, however, are facts. India is failing to grow and Modi was not showing the nerve to change things for the better. The economy, the center-piece of national well-being, is ailing not just after the arrival of Covid19, but much before that too. Modi and his weak finance ministers messed up with matters in all of the past eight years, unlike the good tidings during the Manmohan terms. Other than the Rafale jets, Modi did very little to strengthen India's defence might in significant ways. The Space sector, directly under the PMO, has been under-performing of late, while China is stealing a wind over India in this sector too. Till five years ago, there was no comparison between strongly placed India and weak China vis-a-vis Space forays. Now, they are getting one up, there too. Olympics, for another. In eight years, India remains where it was -- right at the bottom among the comity of nations as was evident in the Tokyo Olympics yet again. There is hardly any improvement in the railways sector, which remains mostly old-fashioned. Air India, once the pride of the nation, has been sold to the Tatas for a song, while private airlines are generally not doing well. Modi's Atma Nirbhar, Make In India etc are yet to get into impressive shapes. Or, his Smart City project --where was all the money sunk, and with what gain?

Modi's Ayushman Bharat and Jan Oushadhi projects were well-conceived and are making a difference to the way the drugs sector was looting the people. But, what of Medical education, or of higher education or University education as a whole? They remain where they were. Proof is also in the way Indian students formed the bulk of the medical education sector in Ukraine, and even in China. Modi and India woke up only after Russia invaded Ukraine. Even those who passed NEET in top ranks could not get admission for MBBS in India. Under Modi, the nation has become more corrupt; not because he's corrupt but because he is not capable of strong action on any front. The blah-blah from the podium keeps his show going. He addressed 27 election rallies in UP. This is not to say these meetings helped Yogi Adityanath retain power. To the credit of Yogi, there was no anti-incumbency sentiment even among the Muslims.

Granted that the five-state assembly polls took on the form of a mini general election, a dress-rehearsal for the 2024 Parliament polls, the results gave the BJP -- and Modi -- a huge fillip. People other than in Punjab did not see an alternative to the BJP as a dependable force to lead them. Arvind Kejriwal's clout has doubled -- with two states now under the AAP reign. He might now target Haryana, his own state, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat etc where it already has some base -- the AAP having won two seats in Goa this time.

If Kejriwal's stock went up, it is clear to all as to whose stock has gone down further. Rahul Gandhi can still have the satisfaction that the Congress party is ruling Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and sharing power in Maharashtra. It has a pan India presence, a foothold in every village, state after state. The Congress is down, but not out. Not still. If there is going to be an anti-incumbency factor at work in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, followed by Karnataka, the Congress could be the principal gainer in all these three states. The DMK stands firmly by the side of the Congress.

What happened to Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool in Goa is educative. She went there, pumped filthy funds in huge measure to open an account and if possible grab power too in the land of Sun, Sand and Sea. Her party got no seat, and Goans packed off the TMC lock stock and barrel. Faced with the question, why a Bengali party here, she had told Goans, "You play football, we also play football; you eat fish, we also..." Politics, they replied to her via ballots, is a different ball game. It's more than fishing in troubled waters... See the way well-respected Manohar Parrikar's son sought to impose himself on the electorate and had egg on his face in Panaji proper! This is politics. Banerjee's attempts to establish TMC in Meghalaya too are meeting with stiff resistance. And, a revival for the TMC in Tripura is also out of question. What was often stressed in this column is, while Banerjee is a titan in her own Bengal, wider India does not fancy her into the PM Chair. To have a disruptor in that seat is what a huge nation like India can ill afford. For one to have an ambition is one thing; for one to have the merit is an altogether different matter. What was her record as Railway minister? Street-smartness sells well in Bengal; India is a different proposition. Prashant Kishor should know as much. But he's trading in hope; giving hope to politicians and pocketing crores! Politics is India's best business today ; it is where money is; and the political strategist too is making hay when the situations suit him.

KHELA HOBE... Well, is the game still on? With an eye on the PM chair in Delhi, Mamata Banerjee wanted to leave the CM gaddi in Kolkata to her nephew. Ditto, with an eye on the chair in Delhi, Telangana's Chandrashekar Rao wanted to do the same; leave the CM post to his son KT Rama Rao, and take up the "big" post in Delhi -- for which he has sought the blessings of his people in Telangana already. If he becomes PM, who could be the next Union finance minister? Who else, other than his present finance minister, his own nephew, Harish Rao? That will, KCR might have reckoned, also avert a succession war between the son and the nephew in Hyderabad.

Any wonder, then, that India said it aloud that it is comfortable with the BJP for now? Dynasts can wait. That was the message to Akhilesh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh, in specific, too. That was also what Bihar stated aloud in the last assembly polls. It will take time for the South to mature, though. premcee@gnail.com

---The writer is a senior journalist, former Editor and an activist of India Against Corruption premcee@gmail.com

Last edited by Premchandran; at 11:41 AM
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