Let’s all accept that we never thought the coalition era was ever going to end. The BJP however, has proved all critics wrong and has received a massive mandate surprising the entire populace. The markets were on a bull run due to the exit polls results and have stayed at all-time highs. The Rupee has reached an 11-month high which is quite astounding. The important thing is that a Modi Sarkaar has the majority and doesn’t need to strike deals with regional parties to ensure its existence. No parties have a bargaining power. What’s more, the anti-incumbency towards the Congress has borne fruit and it now stands in a position where it cannot even claim to be the opposition party. Modi humbly suggested that it is India that has won while the Congress family also accepted the blame for its show.
So what are the challenges? A weak economy, standstill infrastructure projects, unemployment, a probable bad monsoon. The nation has assumed Modi as the modern-day wizard with a magic wand. One must give him room for error as he inherits a fragile nation with his not-so-co-operative party. The old cadre of the BJP still remains disillusioned by the meteoric rise of a man who was never talked about in Delhi’s power circles. Some egos are definitely hurting. Modi must ensure that all these leaders are satisfied while also fulfilling his promises.
His critics should realize that it will take time to generate an economic turnaround because of the nature of the economy he inherits. Fiscal deficit maybe in control but can rise if Modi’s policies don’t bear fruit soon. Manufacturing is down as well while the nation stares at a possible weak monsoon due to the El Nino effect. A weak monsoon may create havoc and puncture Modi’s plans as it may lead to poor agricultural produce thus affecting the entire nation. Also worrisome is the fact that India languishes at a lowly 179th rank on UN’s Ease of doing business index. This is attributable largely to the outgoing Congress’ revival of license raj through policies like the archaic Land Acquisition Bill, making it tougher and costlier to acquire land for business. Modi must also understand that due to the Congress’ debacle with the economy the country has very high hopes from him and a mediocre turnaround will be blasted by the opposition (whichever party that is).
The BJP must also concentrate on a foreign policy centered on collaboration with China. Border skirmishes with the Chinese have created a false animosity among Indians of the Chinese. Modi has had a positive track record with the Chinese as Gujarat’s CM. He must build on it and boost bilateral trade which can only benefit us. While Obama may not be the most pro-Indian leader, India must not back down from its stance in the WTO and ensure that fair treatment is meted out to it against US allegations of patent infringements. Dealings with Pakistan must be firm and not weak as displayed by UPA-2. As Modi stated in an interview that talks cannot exist among the sounds of tanks and guns. Ceasefire violations must not go unanswered and diplomatic and economic channels must be used as replies. India must not chase the most-favoured nation offered by Pakistan and instead push them for a deal on Kashmir. Modi’s decisiveness does give us hope that on the foreign policy front these would be our achievements.
While the biggest challenge to Modi is the minorities. Not only Muslims but also Christians are largely alienated by Modi’s model. The track record of Gujarati Muslims post 2002 must be brought in light. Modi should ensure inclusive growth by shedding away RSS ideologies which he has done in Gujarat. He has alienated Gujarat’s right-wing organisations in order to boost his secular image. The hype surrounding his treatment of Muslims by the media, as evident in Madhu Kishwar’s ‘Modi, Muslims and Media’ is for all to see. After the mandate that Modi has received, one cannot argue that Muslims haven’t voted for him. A hundred percent track record in Gujarat and 73 seats in UP definitely points to the fact that Muslims too have voted for him. The so-called protectors of minorities must let the Muslims themselves decide their fate. One must understand that India has a strong judiciary capable of punishing the guilty and instilling fear while the Prime Minister’s chair imparts a level of dignity which no person can violate. On the day of the result, the Supreme Court acquitted death row convicts due in the Akshardham attack case due to lack of evidence. The Gujarat government had tried hard for their prosecution but justice prevailed. This shows the court’s impartial nature. Also, hounding Modi even before he takes the oath of office is misguided. Instilling fear among people for something that happened 12 years ago is unfair. Not to mention that Modi has been given a clean chit by the SIT. People must learn to cut him some slack. He has made promises of inclusive growth so give him time to deliver on it instead of propagating an impression of him which is unproven.
As far as I’m concerned, minorities have nothing to fear. Modi is no ‘Maut ka Saudaagar’ and has an excellent track record in economic and agricultural development in Gujarat. The youth must give him room to work and growth may not pick up for at least 2 years. He must not be hounded within 2-3 months of acquiring office as multiple infrastructure projects have been stalled due to want of clearances after the ruling Congress increased red-tapism. India has voted for development but that doesn’t mean India doesn’t care about secularism. As long as people can live in harmony and unity, I believe the agenda of secularism mustn’t raise its head.