Sunday, April 27, 2014

Modi versus opponents - and a comparison

Narendra Modi is contesting in Varanasi and the newstraders (to use his own term) continue to have a field day speculating as to whether the contenders – a few very well known people like Arvind Kejriwal (AAP) or Ajay Rai (Congress) will pose a challenge to him. Speculation continues unabated as to whethere someone will take away the Brahmin vote or the Bhumihar vote and what not. The clear picture will emerge only on 16th May, but like in every election, this is the time for speculation (including this piece). And here is mine.

Modi is Modi. In his classic approach of setting the agenda time and again, he has simply not bothered with who says what about him - Kejriwal or Ajay Rai. By not responding to them, he has simply kept them out of the debate. He has elevated the pitch of Kashi to making it an uber destination for tourists and spiritualists alike, a timeless city that beckons, a go to destination for everybody – by focusing on bringing back its past glory. On the face of it, this is obvious – he is the Prime Ministerial candidate – he is not in the hustings to defeat some random candidate – he is there to provide the grand vision for the country – and perhaps the best place to state it is in his constituency (Something both Madam Inner Voice and Beta Aspiring Prince seem to have missed over a few elections – their constituencies are in the boondocks). Whereas, his contenders, cannot, just cannot provide a vision – they are there to defeat Narendra Modi – and why would that help Varanasi – which has a Prime Ministerial seeking election from their constituency. So, while they go to town tearing posters, acting petty and churlish, Narendra Modi, with his roadshow (and his blog as of yesterday) has simply swept the city (broom notwithstanding) off its feet.

Now, let us leave the Varanasi election aside for a moment.

If Modi were the Prime Minister of India and he had to deal with Pakistan, this is perhaps a great way to deal with Pakistan. Ignore it.

India has to grow and grow fast. India needs to provide opportunities to its teeming youth. India is in a hurry to get to facilities for its population that has been denied for 60 years – water, electricity, infrastructure, medical facilities, schools, colleges, universities. Apart from that, it has to move from a negativity spreading sop based economy to a positive story around growth and skill base. India will acquire, economic growth – with a few levers pulled in the right direction. India will be a go to destination for business, universities, agriculture – we have so much going for us. And by the way of acquiring economic muscle, by freeing up investment in defence, we will also acquire great defence capabilities. A Modi government (I speculate) will also free up the security forces to do what they are best at. Our defense will be indigenized and we will have private defence producers, not only creating weaponry and capability for our forces, but also selling it.

Obviously, this wont happen immediately, it will happen over time – but that time will not be very long. Alongwith economic muscle, military muscle will also be built. The diplomatic muscle, well, that is sought to be given – unlike in the past, when we have crawled when asked to bend. That diplomatic muscle is what his opponents in Varanasi experienced with the roadshow.

So, Pakistan will (and deserves) to be treated like the non existent challenger,  while India speeds ahead. What do they have? Neither vision or growth – their only raison d’ etre for their existence is their hatred of India and that can exist today because we let them bother us. Once, they know that we will no longer be bothered (thanks to a combination of economic, military and diplomatic muscle), they may perhaps do something for their own country – which is rapidly becoming terror central. And if they don’t, they stare down a rather deep abyss.

Nuclear weapons? Don’t bother. We have a few here as well.
Terrorists? Any misadventure will be treated with the scorn it deserves and it can be fully expected a Modi government will pull no punches (think beyond military) when it comes to national security.
As for the rest, it deserves to be treated as the proverbial dog that runs after cars.

So, the way Modi treats his opponents – by and large ignoring them and powering ahead with his vision – is the same way an India will treat its western neighborly opponents. What say? Like his opponents who are staring at oblivion.

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