Saturday, June 9, 2012

Now, Truism on Modi's Developmental Identity

Predictably, Narendra Modi is back in public debate once again after he literally has hijacked BJP leadership platform and forced the exit of his bete noire Sanjay Joshi. Said to be an organisational man, Sanjay Joshi was more a RSS-pointman but his functioning and also including lifestyle has been in controversies. Things have not been transparent either. For instance, when Advani as BJP president made the statement on Jinnah in Pakistan in 2005, he wanted the party office in Delhi to "interpret" his statement properly. As general secretary in-charge of organisation, Sanjay Joshi failed to deliver at least this is what ASdvani says, a "a lost opportunity" for his party. Now, coming to the main issue of Modi and his new identity as a mascot of Hindutva and development, there is a need to address certain key aspects. Were it not for Modi having to confront a full-scale war against him by the rival politicians and the secular brigade for the last decade, it is unlikely that Modi would have pushed his developmental card so hard and decisively. May be, may be not! After all Modi before being elevated as the chief minister of Gujarat was a typical 'also ran BJP neta' and was always overshadowed by the galaxy of media savvy players like Pramod Mahajan, Sushma Swaraj and Govindacharya. “But today things have gone in Modi’s favour. He might be a Muslim-baiter; but today he has brought in sustained acceleration in growth, perceptible progress against otherwise awful toll of poverty and the image of non-performing netas,” says one of his admirers. According to him, Moditva today as if a case of the ‘caged and injured tiger’ was waiting to be truly set free. Look at the results: the same chief minister vilified in the nation and who was denied a US visa in 2005 is wooed by corporate of all hues. He is finding himself engaged with top industrialists within the country and overseas and also there is engagement with the global economic power like China. His admirers have reasons therefore when they say Narendra Modi has changed the rules of Indian politics to an extent as from Nitish Kumar to Mamata Banerjee – everybody is following his footsteps organizing business summits and instead of rushing to Delhi with begging bowls are trying out to look for investment in their respective states based on their own strengths. The alleged ill-treatment meted to non-Congress state governments by the centre today have today provoked angry comments from Modi and even the likes of Jayalalitha, Naveen Patnaik and importantly, UPA constituent, Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress. Modi has also set the pace for inclusive growth, something cherished and given a lip-service in most cases. There is no denying that at the national level too, despite having someone like Dr Manmohan Singh at the helm, too much of growth has been concentrated in a narrow part of the economy – IT, BPO and some urban-based sectors. But in Modi’s Gujarat, there have been actions of the ground for generating mass employment with focused approach for expansion in manufacturing. The Gujarat government, despite its lapses, has also taken steps for high-value agriculture and food processing. Therefore, what can be the measure of Modi’s success rate on the developmental front? He has put the subject of rebalancing the growth chart on the agenda. The question in Gujarat and in those minds interested in Gujarat affairs is now whether his developmental saga has to be checked or reversed. On the contrary, the clamour is for taking these to the newer heights, as a key minister in the Modi cabinet summed up. Now let us try to take the debate on development and social sectors yardsticks into a different plane. Firstly, India’s reforms have come in compartmentalized forms. In the absence of reforms in the administration, police and judiciary, the new rules were enforced by an old system, and the mismatch has led to weak enforcement. The competition in presence of multiple players say in telecom could overcome weak enforcement. This appears to be a factor responsible for the success of equity markets and telecom but the same story was not reaped in the oil and power sectors. Many would argue that in a complex society like ours and in multi-layered polity of democracy in India, the consensual process of reform is important for success. There is no doubt in the last two decades the policy makers, the ministers and the law makers either in state assemblies or in parliament, have spent time listening to groups, business chambers etc before embarking on major policy changes. So did even a supposed autocrat Modi. But his success story also underlines that ‘out of the box’ thinking is highly advisable. Here was a chief minister, who despite the bad press, to the industry has always remained a ‘vanguard’ of not only change but someone who stood for what he said. ends

1 comment:

  1. Sanjay Joshi embarassed BJP in UP very recently. He is hardly a match to Narendra Modi. This event should have just been a passing reference but for Modi-mania-or-bashing all round. Despite concerted efforts by Congress led UPA, there is not yet any question mark on development story of Modi. In fact, when he came to Planning Commission just few days ago, trap was laid politically to pin him down on developmental goals, which was led by Ashwani Kumar, but he emerged giving a lesson to full body plan panel, that Montek looked embarrassed, and as a true lion he hunted the hunters.