As Emmanuel Macron wins, it is time Paris shows Delhi the wayhttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/as-emmanuel-macron-wins-it-is-time-paris-shows-delhi-the-way-4646491/

As Emmanuel Macron wins, it is time Paris shows Delhi the way

Macron argued that Le Pen represented the “party of hatred” which wanted a “civil war” in France. She responded by saying that he was part of the bourgeois elite and didn’t understand how ordinary people lived.

emmanuel macron, french election, french president, france president, macron, france election results, france news, world news, indian express
French President-elect Emmanuel Macron smiles to veterans during a ceremony to mark the end of World War II at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Monday, May 8, 2017.  (Stephane de Sakutin, Pool via AP)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated French president-elect @EmmanuelMacron through two tweets around 7.30 am on Monday morning (Congratulations to @EmmanuelMacron for an emphatic victory in the French presidential election #Presidentielle), but at least on this one Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi seems to have much better grasped France’s revolutionary message.

About an hour later @OfficeOfRG, Gandhi’s official Twitter account, put out : “Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his resounding victory. The people of France have spoken. Fear & hate can never be the way forward.”

Certainly, the good-looking and abysmally young Macron is hardly a pillar of Left-wing or Socialist politics. He was deputy chief of staff to outgoing Socialist president Francois Hollande as well as his economy minister, but quit after two years in 2016 in protest against the government’s refusal to undertake path-breaking economic reforms.

Current French President Francois Hollande and French president-elect Emmanuel Macron, left, participate in a ceremony to mark Victory Day in Paris, France, Monday, May 8, 2017.  (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool)

But in decisively defeating the far-right candidate Marie Le Pen (Macron took 66 per cent votes against Le Pen’s 34 per cent), despite 12 million abstentions and 4.2 million people spoiling their vote, Macron’s victory is vindication that France still remembers that it once led the charge for liberty, equality and fraternity.

Advertising

Macron argued that Le Pen represented the “party of hatred” which wanted a “civil war” in France. She responded by saying that he was part of the bourgeois elite and didn’t understand how ordinary people lived.

With approximately 230 people killed from terrorist attacks in the last two years, it was believed that Le Pen’s bigoted campaign would wipe out Macron.

The fact that it didn’t happen that way is a vote, perhaps, against Le Pen more than it is in favour of Macron. He is the kid on the block, untested. But France rejected the fear and resentment that she tried to inject into the campaign.

Remember that this is a country which still speaks disparagingly of its white folk who lived in France’s former colony Algeria, returning home only after the Arab country gained independence. These white French citizens are sometimes called “pied noir”, literally, “black feet.”

As he congratulated Macron this morning, the prime minister may or may not have remembered how he similarly swept the mandate nearly three years ago on the “sabka saath, sabka vikaas” mandate.

Just like Macron who promised to rescue France from a “vacuous” polity, Indians of all castes and religions overcame their apprehensions and voted for Modi with both their hands, in the hope that he would help rid the country of corruption while creating jobs for its unemployed youth.

French President-elect Emmanuel Macron, left, and outgoing President Francois Hollande attend a ceremony to mark the end of World War II at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Monday, May 8, 2017. (Stephane de Sakutin, Pool via AP)

Three years later that mandate seems in danger of being overtaken by religious hatred and divisive politics. Extremist outfits like the Hindu Yuva Vahini, once created by Yogi Adityanath, are putting into practice the dangerous rhetoric insidiously practiced by Marie Le Pen.

Like Rahul Gandhi, prime minister Modi seems to have well understood France’s message. “I look forward to working closely with President-elect @EmmanuelMacron to further strengthen India-France ties,” said the second tweet at 7.30 am.

Perhaps it’s time Paris showed Delhi the way.