Thursday, September 27, 2012
Is PM's FDI card akin to Modi’s Developmental model?
Does Narendra Modi and the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh share
something similar? Both pushed to the corner – one for riots and the
other for alleged corruption and both try to find a game-changer in FDI or
This write up is coming at a time – at the suggestion of my good friend
Jacinta Dsouza - when the country is debating the pros and cons of Foreign Direct Investment vis-à-vis the economic reforms.
Moreover the challenge is to explain in first person the factors those led to pen the book ‘Modi to Moditva: An Uncensored Truth’. Incidentally, this being my third book on broad Hindutva related issues after ‘Godhra: A Journey to Mayhem’
and ‘Ayodhya: Battle for Peace’.
I am often asked, whether there’s any special reason?
Of and on, my contention is when a journalist decides to write a book,
you ought to be sure that either he is excited about the subject. He
likes it or he is annoyed with it, disturbed with it. In my case, the
book on northeast ‘The Talking Guns: North East India’ comes under one
category. I love northeast region, where I was born and brought up.
The communalism on the other hand, really disturbs me. I am not saying Hindu communalism only. It’s about all.
The Godhra carnage, then post-Godhra riots all of it left me angry. So, came my first book on Gujarat and I was surprised that my
first book was not on northeast India.
About this book, I think the simple provocation was to try to break
some of the knots of the cobweb embroiled about Narendra Modi himself.
Undoubtedly, the story of Gujarat in last 10 years has been the story
Thus, the making of Brand Modi definitely deserves a closer look with
all its merits and albeit, also the demerits.
Today, to talk about the dynamics and complexities of Gujarat state
and the Hindutva politics of Modi has perhaps become more important
now than ever before especially in the context of forthcoming assembly
elections where in Gujarat’s most talked about chief minister will
seek his re-election.
The polls could also decide whether Modi will be the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate in 2014 parliamentary polls.
But as the currency these days in on FDI and reforms, I will try for a
while focus on these issues.
Gujarat in more ways than one reflects that story of multi-pronged
development and the liberal economic policy. Many are already
comparing Gujarat’s phenomenal success with the select manufacturing
hub of China; but the irony is not lost on many.
Although, the Indian development pace is much slower than China’s;
even in late nineties Gujarat had equaled the growth rate of China.
The developmental phases of Modiland notwithstanding the negative
publicity of the state administration since 2002 have many people
baffled. There are a few questions too --- as I examine in the book
‘Modi to Moditva…..’; can Modi really redefine the state’s and more
importantly his own reputation?
I also pose a rather mystifying question, “Can it keep the balance
with the traditional culture of Gujarat, its religious bias and the
unprecedented benefits of economic liberalization?”
In course of my work for the book, I did come across the obvious that
India’s reforms in 1991 under Dr Manmohan Singh as the finance minster
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 multilayered 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.
When Modi invited Ratan Tata after the latter’s Bengal misadventure,
at least the corporate honcho knew that Gujarat would embrace his
project. …this calls for some credit for the state chief minister.
A senior socialist based in Faizabad in UP, I interacted with in
course of my work on the book, actually said something sensational
putting me into a track to ponder about his point of argument. He said
Modi should be considered as an “injured tiger” - caged and pushed to
the wall by constant vilification.
The blot of 2002 had created a sort of a crisis for him. Fortunately for Modi, said my friend, he had no choice but to prove his mantle in administration and
that too for development.
Were it not for Modi having to confront a full-scale war against him
by the rival politicians and the secular brigade, it is unlikely that
Modi would have pushed his developmental card so hard and decisively.
May be, may be not!
(Enough of praising the own ‘kid’, the book in this case. Look for the
page turner ‘Modi to Moditva: An Uncensored Truth’ by Nirendra
Dev (faithfully yours) and published by Manas Publications, New Delhi.
Well, some other highlights of the book include:
What’s common between Congress chief minister of Manipur Ibobi Singh
and the controversial Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi
What did Narendra Modi say after Vajpayee-Musharraf Agra Summit failed?