Ever since the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance formed its government at the Centre, following a historic mandate in 2014, there has been a concerted campaign to defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the Congress-Left combine. No prizes for guessing why such a slanderous campaign has been unleashed on PM Modi and his team. The 2014 verdict, not to speak of the excellent work done by the NDA government in all sectors in these two years, has ended the Congress-Left combine’s quid pro quo strategy and derailed their game plan.
A casual look at history tells us that since Independence, the country was ruled by the Congress or coalitions led by it for a staggering period of about 52 years. The Nehru dynasty alone was at the helm of affairs for about 37 years and this dynastic rule continued indirectly for another 15 years — first when P. V. Narasimha Rao was the PM and later under UPA rule. That means the world’s largest democracy has been ruled by one family for more than half a century. Such a phenomenon bears resemblance to totalitarian or despotic regimes but is anathema to modern democratic societies.
For years together, the Congress treated people as mere vote banks and reaped electoral success. Did the prolonged Congress rule make any substantial difference in terms of improving the lives of the suffering poor? This is a rhetorical question because it is very obvious that they continue to lead a life of hardship, deprivation and drudgery, while the rich continue to prosper, widening the gulf between the haves and have-nots.
In its hegemonic era, the Congress had patented the art of extending patronage to select people based on sycophancy rather than leading a government of the people, by the people and for the people. As a result, meritocracy in different fields was replaced by a virtual oligarchy of flatterers, flunkeys and hangers-on, leading to all-round deterioration of systems and institutions. This is not to say that persons of eminence never occupied important positions. But they were more the exception than the rule.
Even as this unhealthy practice began to rot the system, the Congress split in 1969 during Indira Gandhi’s tenure. Desperate to ward off the swelling tide of dissidence in its ranks, the Congress made common cause with the communists, who extended support and began a quid pro quo relationship. The communists extracted their pound of flesh and virtually established a monopoly on various academic and cultural institutions. As the communists’ stranglehold over these institutions continued, the cacophony of their jargon also increased in Indian politics and words such as reactionary, capitalism, communalism, neo-liberalism, bourgeoisie, progressive, imperialism and secularism began to be bandied about loosely and were embraced by a small elite band of drumbeaters. One is not sure if the preachers of all these “isms” ever believed in practising them although they wanted these to gain currency.
However, all this laboriously structured narrative and negative discourse hardly made any difference to the common man, in terms of his life or thinking. This in itself is one of the biggest failures of the long family rule and subsequent combination of the so-called secular, democratic forces of the Congress and the communists.
Following the collapse of Soviet Union, communism has been fading the world over. The same trend can be seen in India too. Although the CPM-led government was in power for one of the longest periods in West Bengal, vexed with their misrule, the people showed them the door. In Kerala, power was handed over to the Left on a platter, thanks to the corruption and misgovernance of the Congress.
The decisive mandate given to the Modi-led NDA showed that there was a paradigm shift ideologically and that the myth of communalism had been busted. People of the country wanted an able leader and a stable government so that the Gujarat model of development could be replicated across the country.
The 2014 verdict has caused a lot of bitterness and heartburn among Congressmen and communists. Instead of gracefully accepting the people’s mandate, introspecting and correcting their policies, the Left and the Congress have launched a sustained misinformation campaign against the NDA government. But there seems to be confusion and contradiction among the loyal beneficiaries of one-family rule and the left monopoly.
As the Left parties are well entrenched in a section of the media, they are using it to malign the Modi government through a sustained campaign of falsehoods on different issues ranging from nationalism to freedom of expression. The anti-Modi, anti-BJP and anti-government frenzy is increasing proportionate to the expansion of the BJP across the country.
Despite all the tall talk of principled politics, both the Congress and Left parties displayed crass opportunism when they turned friends in West Bengal and remained foes in Kerala. Similarly, they exhibited political brinkmanship in Parliament repeatedly and stalled important legislation.
Outside Parliament too, they joined hands to attack the government on the incidents relating to the University of Hyderabad and JNU and indulged in the most negative brand of politics ever witnessed in the country. Taking a cue from them, members of pseudo civil society too joined the anti-Modi bandwagon with the sole aim of discrediting his image. By blowing stray incidents out of proportion, they created controversies on intolerance, ghar wapsi, award wapsi or on statements issued by some individuals. There appears to be a clear method to their madness — to tarnish the image of Modi and the NDA government, both nationally and internationally.
The only reason for these political machinations is that the Congress and the Left are unable to accept the mandate of the people and are feeling increasingly threatened. It is also a manifestation of their intolerance to an alternative viewpoint on any issue. Anybody not agreeing with their opinions is simply dubbed as reactionary.
While opportunists and sycophants had a field day during the previous regimes, the NDA government under Modi, as can be seen, does not tolerate corruption, and has put in place numerous systemic changes. To cite a few instances, the discretion in auctioning resources such as coal blocks and spectrum has been done away with. Schemes like JAM have been implemented to eliminate corruption and exploitation by middlemen, while ensuring transparency and accountability.
In contrast to the past practice of naming schemes after the members of a single family, the NDA government has accorded due recognition to the great sons of India — B. R. Ambedkar, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Deendayal Upadhyay, Syama Prasad Mukherjee — and also took up declassification of the files of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. This was also turned into a controversy. But the government on its part did not bestow any favour on anybody, only corrected what were clearly the historical wrongs against national heroes.
It is apparent that the beneficiaries of the Congress-Left combine are uncomfortable with the policies of Modi. The time has come for them to give up the negative course on which they have embarked, shed this churlish intolerance, and respect the mandate given by the people.