If the Prime Minister is sincere about creating a new India, then he will have to create a new political culture. It should be one in which defectors are not welcomed into the BJP as if they were heroes.
The truth is that the Congress party did not offer Indian voters anything other than an entitled prince and princess who hoped to win only by exalting the ‘charisma’ of a Dynasty that has ruled too long.
The vigilantes have mostly got away with what they did. Inevitably, now that Narendra Modi’s mandate is bigger than the one that he got last time, many of his supporters see it is as sanction for them to carry on with their violent activities.
If they want to survive to fight another day it is time our opposition leaders tried to address what actually happened. The Prime Minister described it in one of his speeches as the triumph of chemistry over arithmetic and there was a bit of that.
I offer it only because I believe that democracy without a strong opposition party causes more harm than good. Narendra Modi may truly have a spiritual strength that will prevent absolute power from going to his head, but it is too risky to bet on this.
The past five years have been difficult for India’s ruling elite. High officials, famous writers, editors of English newspapers, celebrated TV anchors, heirs of political dynasties, leftists and liberals have found their importance diminish by the day.
Modi has brought with him some very nasty Hindutva leaders, and if he wins again, he should get rid of them. But, he has also given a voice to Indians who do not speak a word of English and who have never put a foot in those rarefied spaces where India’s levers of political power exist.
In a more enlightened time, Sadhvi Pragya would not have been allowed to ‘preach religion’, leave alone be a member of the Lok Sabha. So to give her a ticket to enter public life is puzzling and wrong.
There are many former believers in Modi who have lost faith in him, and their reasons for losing faith are economic. The World Bank may rank India as a country that has become one in which it is easier to do business, but on the ground this appears somehow to have got lost in translation.
Taxpayers will pay Rs 3.6 lakh crore extra to support the NYAY scheme that some describe as ‘Gareebi Hatao 2.0’. Rahul Gandhi’s grandmother launched the first version of this scheme in 1971 and won a spectacular victory in the general election that year.
It is not just the Air Force that struggles along without the modernisation it needs. The Army and Navy fare no better. During the Kargil War, we found to our horror that the Army did not have enough coffins to bring dead soldiers back from that mountainous battlefield.
The media is entitled to express different points of view. But, for senior Indian political leaders to start sowing horrible doubts about the nature of the Indian State should disqualify them from being in public life.
So I am proud of what the Indian Air Force did last week and congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his courageous decision to allow a military response. But, a little annoyed that the Modi government has let the narrative slip out of its hands.