Winning was the easy part

With his uncanny knack for keeping his finger firmly on the pulse of Indian voters, he knows that what they really want is a different India.

Written by Tavleen Singh | Published:March 19, 2017 12:50 am
UP election results, Uttarakhand election results, election results, election BJP, BJP victorious, Congress defeat, UP SP-Congress defeat, indian express news (Source: PTI)

It is not just because the election in Uttar Pradesh was a rehearsal for 2019 that the results from this state are more important than the rest. The real significance of the remarkable mandate that this state has given Narendra Modi (not the BJP) is that voters see him as a new kind of political leader. He seems to have sensed this because in the first speech he gave after the results he spoke of building ‘a new India’.

With his uncanny knack for keeping his finger firmly on the pulse of Indian voters, he knows that what they really want is a different India. This is especially true in Uttar Pradesh where crumbling walls of caste and religion have been kept standing by cynical politicians who benefit more than voters. These walls have decaying foundations and would have fallen long ago if a political leader had dared to try and knock them down.

It is the misfortune of Uttar Pradesh that its political leaders have been cynical caste leaders for decades, glaringly evident in Akhilesh Yadav’s first response to his humiliating defeat. He told reporters that he believed he lost because people voted for those who misled them with false promises rather than those who worked hard for them. Had this scion of the mighty Yadav dynasty been humble enough to travel on his cycle in rural parts of his state while he was chief minister, he would have noticed that the people ask for very little and that very little was what he failed to provide.

It is disgraceful that while he boasted about distributing laptops he did not notice the appalling state of schools in Uttar Pradesh. Disgraceful that he did not notice that farmers stayed up on cold nights to use the dribs and drabs of electricity that his government so erratically provided. Disgraceful that he did not notice that people did not even have access to drinking water or roads. It is not his fault that these things do not exist, but it is his fault that he was unable to make the improvements people so desperately want.

The point I am making is that it will take very little to create a ‘new’ India. So little that if the army of newly elected BJP legislators just do their jobs, Uttar Pradesh could change dramatically before the next general election. In the villages I travelled through during the election campaign, people pointed to broken bridges and the broken roofs of schools and hospitals to make the point that their elected representatives had failed them. The cost of repairing some of these things was so small that I asked why they did not pool in their own resources to make the repairs. To this they said, ‘If we do what you are saying, then the MLA will take all the credit for it and we will see even less of him.’

This is indicative of a general mindset that believes the ‘sarkar’ has to do everything and the people nothing at all. But it is a mindset created by long decades of Nehruvian socialism, and although it has changed in more urban parts of India, in largely rural states such as UP it has hardly changed at all. So if the Prime Minister wants to prove that he can bring about change, development and prosperity, then he now has his first real and most challenging opportunity.

He said during the election campaign that India could not move forward if UP continues to lag behind, but can he make it catch up? Can a BJP government in Lucknow show that it can bring about the sort of transformation that Modi is credited with in Gujarat? Can the Prime Minister prove that in this state ruined by colonial ideas of governance and ancient divisions of caste and religion there can be political, economic and social change? This last ingredient is almost more important than all the others, and as the first Prime Minister to have talked of social change from the ramparts of the Red Fort, can Modi really make a difference?

If I have not once mentioned these things as being the responsibility of the chief minister, it is deliberate. The problems of Uttar Pradesh are so huge that it almost needs to become a department of the Prime Minister’s Office for any change to happen. Modi speaks often of tourism as a vital economic tool and in UP he has a chance to show how this tool can be used.

It is beyond belief that Agra, that has the Taj Mahal, remains so ugly and wretchedly poor that the city looks like a vast garbage dump. Shameful that Benaras continues to resemble a city in terminal decay. Narendra Modi must personally take responsibility for bringing change. It was for him that UP voted.

Follow Tavleen Singh on Twitter @ tavleen_singh

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now

  1. R
    Rakesh Kochhar
    Mar 19, 2017 at 6:42 am
    Tavleen Singh has oscillated between praise and ridicule for Modi . Now it's praise again . Just to remind her about neighbouring Haryana . What has BJP achieved in last 3 years and what did BJP do to stop the loot in Punjab in the last 10 years ? We had hoped some sensible and responsible person will be given charge to get UP moving . But yogi Adityanath of ghar wapsi and love jihad ? God save UP !!! Why hasn't Tavleen commented on this development ; she seems to be in sycophancy mode yet .
    Reply
    1. K
      K SHESHU
      Mar 19, 2017 at 2:04 pm
      Winning elections is easy ...' hearts in next elections may be difficult ...
      Reply
      1. V
        Vidhu
        Mar 19, 2017 at 3:45 pm
        Before Modi became PM, then too there were a lot of doubts. lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt;Time will prove all apprehension fake.
        Reply
        1. V
          Vidhu
          Mar 19, 2017 at 3:43 pm
          This is baseless apprehension. Muslims will enjoy the rights available to any citizen.
          Reply
          1. A
            Akhila
            Mar 20, 2017 at 9:51 am
            Good information. Keep sharing this kind of useful info. Latest Govt Jobs in Haryana
            Reply
            1. O
              Observer
              Mar 19, 2017 at 6:00 am
              Tavleen as usual is at her sycophantic best. If UP is so much a problem, that a CM can't handle it and a PM must, then why blame Akhilesh? Secondly, Akhilesh was rught. The PM is a glib and convincing talker. So the acche din are no more mentioned, the poor were told that demonetisation was a pro poor, and that he will set right the rich, who have looted the poor, that gave him the votes. Now the goal post changes. non existent Acche Din will be replace by New India. One hopes, the new Hindu rabble rouser, can bring along the transformation that Tavleen hunks, is so easy to achieve. Get real Ms Singh. Country needs jobs, jobs, jobs. It needs education, education skills and education. It needs healthcare and more healthcare. Most of all, it needs an overall of the colonial mind set of the lower bureaucracy at the village and town level. The Dariga rules the roost. Set him right, and people will be relieved.
              Reply
              1. K
                Kumar
                Mar 19, 2017 at 8:44 am
                Yogi Adityanath will bring all the development for the s who voted for BJP. Madam, you can write reams of stuff like this but nothing will improve in UP. It is a pity that this state decides the fate of India.
                Reply
                1. S
                  S Srinivasan
                  Mar 19, 2017 at 5:58 am
                  Leave other political parties and unless the media, the officialdom understandslt;br/gt;the importance of bringing total transformation,any move by Shri Modiji will notlt;br/gt;suffice.All Indians would wish for transformation except the disgruntled opposinglt;br/gt;political parties and self-centered officials and media wallahs.
                  Reply
                  1. P
                    Piara Singh
                    Mar 19, 2017 at 1:49 pm
                    Cast system is a gift of Hindu Religion to India.and Mr. Modi is one of its tall leader.BJP(RSS) are the people who started Ghar Bapsy to bring back people into the lowest casts in case they do not have anybody left in that cast a danger to the Hindu cast system.Mr.Akhilesh Yadav did not protect the minority community from the RSS(BJP) goons.Remember Muzaffarnagar riots and a lot more by the Cow Raakhshak.This is a trump card in the hand of BJPtimidate people and win elections two and a half years Modi made neighbourer each other's worst enemies.Mr. Modi misled people again and again 2014 he promise them 15 lacs and now everybody will have a hose in 2022.Wat a joke.He is all out to make the poor,poorer.Look at his budgetry policies.Nehruvian socialism brought India close to the develop world.The Western including USA have it.What India achieved in 70 years MR..Modi is all out to destroy it.But Tavleen Singh do not want to see it because she is Modi's biggest supporter.Soon the minorities will be scared to go out.BJP(RSS) started a model in Gujrat and that has help them in UP.The minority community cast their vote for the BJP to live in piece.They accepted to be the 2nd cl citizens.Read what RSS manifesto on the minorities in India.Other thing that helped the BJP is demonetization.So my fellow Indian live in slogans and more slogans.Mr. MOdi has lots of them.Hope it helps you and read gutter Journalism.
                    Reply
                    1. S
                      SK
                      Mar 19, 2017 at 1:49 am
                      Very good analysis .True the people voted for Modi and not the BJP. Tavleen need to mention the good things the center has done, like 2 crore poor people have got gas cookers free and Modi has promised to provide electricity to 18000 villages which he has already done to 15000. The most of the poor people noticed that. UP has been looted by the successive governments, I hope they get the change they deserve.
                      Reply
                      1. B
                        Balagopal
                        Mar 19, 2017 at 3:07 am
                        PM Modi is one of the most brilliant campaigners modern India has ever seen who can win elections. But so far he hasn't shown any determination to crack the corrupt and inefficient neta-babu administrative structure that Congress has carefully nurtured since independence. If he can't deliver on his promises, his political career won't last long.
                        Reply
                        1. I
                          Indian First
                          Mar 19, 2017 at 7:57 am
                          Probably she doesn't know the crowning of Adityanath as CM. I am waiting to see how madamji defends his appointment.
                          Reply
                          1. L
                            Luxman
                            Mar 19, 2017 at 4:22 am
                            "With his uncanny knack for keeping his finger firmly on the pulse of Indian voters" lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt;OR keeping his finger firmly on the pulse of weakness of Indian voters !!!
                            Reply
                            1. L
                              Luxman
                              Mar 19, 2017 at 3:39 am
                              Before creating a NEW INDIA, a polarized India has been created. That is a new normal. lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt;A cost has already been paid for development that is so far a promise only. lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt;Why only UP, each state needs the attention of PMO. Not Bihar or West Bengal !! Are they outside India ?
                              Reply
                              1. C
                                CHOTA RAO
                                Mar 19, 2017 at 5:27 pm
                                Well studied and un biased reporting. This is the true journalism. All the Best Madam.
                                Reply
                                1. C
                                  Col S
                                  Mar 19, 2017 at 10:13 am
                                  With mandate and kundli/ patri of netas , guilty of LOOT and CORRUPTION, he must carry surgical strike and put them in jail.TIME for eradicating HIGH LEVEL COLLUDED PER.
                                  Reply
                                  1. K
                                    Khushminder Sahasi
                                    Mar 20, 2017 at 12:59 am
                                    With Yogi Adithanath installed as CM Hindutva agenda will be dominant issue, Muslims shall be marginalized as in Gujarat. Agenda of Hindutva will dominate in curriculum of all schools. Ram temple will come up in Ayudhya.
                                    Reply
                                    1. G
                                      gogogo
                                      Mar 19, 2017 at 6:49 am
                                      He understands Indian politics far betetr than any Laloo or Bhaloo or Pappu.
                                      Reply
                                      1. G
                                        gogogo
                                        Mar 19, 2017 at 6:46 am
                                        Tavleen is not alone. Millions of Indians at home and abroad are fan of Modi.
                                        Reply
                                        1. G
                                          gogogo
                                          Mar 19, 2017 at 6:48 am
                                          West Bengal is next in the line. Mamata didi is very worried these days after UP results. She is quiet now.
                                          Reply
                                          1. G
                                            Gurvinder
                                            Mar 19, 2017 at 3:34 pm
                                            Jinnah wrongly painted a picture of inequality in Joint India. lt;br/gt; lt;br/gt;Scenario in UP may prove that picture right.
                                            Reply
                                            1. Load More Comments