So it is settled. The finest political pundits tell us that Narendra Modi is finished because in his first month in office he has not been able to transform India. These political pundits and their comrades have been invisible since May 16, but they are back now. The day the railway fares and freight charges went up for the first time in more than a decade, was when they first started to reappear. Discredited Marxists, socialists in graded shades of pink, ‘secular’ political philosophers and ex-MPs manifested themselves on news channels to gleefully taunt the Prime Minister.
‘Where are the ‘acche din’ Mr Modi? See how you fooled the people with your campaign and now the people will soon discover that they were fooled’. This particular comment was repeated so often it became a communal chant. Communists who swear by China’s model of development were most vocal in the chorus. They know that the Indian Railways is a bullock cart on rails compared to China Railways and they do not want this to change. What puzzled me was that not a single TV anchor (in English or Hindi) tried to explain why the 14 per cent increase in the price of railway tickets had become necessary.
When I tried to analyse why, clarity quickly dawned. It is that old gang again. The same people who predicted that Modi would never become prime minister, the same people who said India would break again if he did become prime minister. These same people now want to ensure that he does not stay prime minister too long. So silly statements by novice ministers are magnified into serious political discourses. And any sign that the Prime Minister may really be signalling a new direction is ignored. His first speech in the Lok Sabha in which he reminded MPs that they represented the hopes of a billion people was mostly ignored by political pundits both on TV and in the newspapers. Why? It was the best speech made in Parliament in at least a decade.
If you want to understand why this happened, you need only YouTube any news channel’s reportage of last week’s summons to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi to appear in a Delhi court on charges of fraud. The compassionate tone of the anchors, the imputation of malicious motives to the magistrate, the subtle support for the Dynasty will help you in seeing the nuances of current political analysis.
Most political pundits in the national media like to think they are guardians of India’s ‘pluralism’ and cannot believe that the voters of India rejected this fine ideal. But, there is …continued »