ONE YEAR OF MODI GOVERNMENT 2.0
PM Modi’s Historic Achievements
Opposition’s Blurred Vision fails to See
By Amba Charan Vashishth
A friend threw a grand dinner party on the occasion of his son’s marriage. The arrangements were perfect, fault-proof. The menu was so lavish that everybody found something of his taste. Dessert items were so many that one could hardly take one spoon of each if one wanted to taste the all. He served drinks, both soft and hard, of everyone’s choice. After dinner two friends came out. One said, “It was a marvellous dinner. He had spent lakhs of rupees on making perfect arrangements. But one important item was missing — paan. Many people want to chew it at the end of a dinner. But this item remained missing. It would not have cost much”.
“Yes. You’re right”, his friend agreed: “There are people who wish to smoke immediately after the dinner. Had he arranged some good cigarette packets that would have been fine and perfect, added to the pleasure”.
That seems exactly true of our Opposition which can never find anything to appreciate in any action, programme and policy of government.
Problem lies with the polity that has evolved in the country since independence. Our Constitution does not recognize political parties in formation of a government. Article 75 just provides that the “Prime Minister shall be appointed by the President” (obviously who enjoys confidence of the House), “the other Ministers shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister” and the “Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People”. From the words and actions of the Opposition it transpires that Shri Modi may be the Prime Minister of India yet, for them —quite funny indeed — he is just the prime minister of the political party/alliance he belongs to. This outlook seems to betray the well-established concept of “a government of the people, by the people and for the people.” They also seem to forget that a member of the Lok Sabha may be voted by a particular parliamentary constituency yet when elected, he is a member of the Parliament of India representing a particular constituency. Once elected the person becomes the representative of all the constituents of the constituency, even of those who didn’t vote for him.
Shri Narender Modi commenced his second inning with a thunder. He launched upon giving shape to the promises held to the people. The Modi government shifted additional security forces, abruptly discontinued the Shri Amarnath Yatra, and asked tourists staying in Kashmir to leave the valley immediately. The people did start anticipating that something extraordinary was going to happen in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) but could not visualize what. The notable aspect was that there was not even a slight murmur of protest by any section of the affected people. That is the barometer of the amount of confidence the Modi government had been able to generate among the people. Everybody seemed to have the satisfaction that whatever it may be, it was sure to be in the best interests of the country.
The mystery got unraveled when on August 5, 2019 the Home Minister Amit Shah rose to move a Bill in the Lok Sabha to sound a death knell to the “Temporary and Transitional” Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution. The new law created two Union Territories, one for Jammu & Kashmir and the other for Laddakh region. It ushered in complete integration of the J&K with India, a step which successive governments during the last 70 years had been evading for vested political interests overlooking the interests of J&K and the country. The Bill instantly generated a sense of glee all over the country. The law was passed with a respectable majority, more than the actual strength of the NDA in the two houses of Parliament. Even some groups outside the NDA did vote for the enactment. The opposition termed the measure to be against the people of J&K, undemocratic and unconstitutional. If a law passed by the parliament after a debate in the house is not democracy, then what else can be?
During the debate Home Minister Amit Shah challenged the Congress and other opposition parties to declare that if they ever came to power at the Centre they would bring back Article 370 and 35A. But none was forthcoming. Obviously they were just opposing for opposition sake.
As PM Modi completed his first year of his second term (2019-2024) his achievements outshone him as a leader who has a vision and the strength to make it a reality.
Some 30/40,000 innocent civilians, security and paramilitary personnel stand devoured by the proxy war Pakistan has been waging against India for the last over 3 decades. This figure is more than what the country lost fighting the Chinese aggression in1962 and four wars with Pakistan in 1948, 1965, 1971 and the 1999 Kargil mis-adventure.
During the last one decade rule of Congress-led UPA with Dr. Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister till May 2014 terrorists always had a field day. With a sense of pride they could strike at will anytime, any day, anywhere and walk away safely after realizing their objective. They left behind a trail of hundreds of women widowed, children orphaned and aged people deprived of their only life-sustaining help in the twilight of their life. In the process, the country lost hundreds of innocent civilians and security forces on duty at the international borders and the Line of Actual Control in J&K to safeguard the territorial integrity of India. The security personnel performing their duty with utmost sense of valour and patriotism did have guns but not the authority to use these to retaliate against Pakistan-sponsored terror. They had to look up, in vain, for orders to use their arsenal against the enemies of the nation. At the end of each terrorist adventure Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was heard repeating every time: They (the terrorists) cannot defeat our resolve to continue the dialogue process with Pakistan. This, on the one hand, lowered the morale of India’s security forces and, on the other, emboldened terrorists to be more aggressive and ruthlessly violent against the country.
The dawn of Shri Narinder Modi as Prime Minister of the country with full mandate from the people changed things overnight. He gave the security forces a free hand to sternly deal with the perfidy of Pakistan. When Pakistan committed Uri attack India reciprocated with a surgical strike. When Pulwama happened, Indian forces launched Balakot operation inside Pakistan destroying terror camps and killing about 200/300 terror-trainees there.
Today Kashmir terrorists are on the run. Modi government has launched a campaign against Pak-sponsored terrorists either to surrender or are being eliminated. Gone are the days when terrorists struck in J&K and elsewhere and safely went back to their hideouts. A sizeable number of commanders and deputy commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad etc. have been done away with, something unheard of earlier.
Pakistan and the main opposition party Congress appeared to be on the same wavelength on this issue. They earned appreciation in Pakistan and hogged headlines in Pakistani media.
Modi government also passed an amendment to the Citizens Act (CAA) which provides for grant of Indian citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Budhists, and Christian minorities being persecuted in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, etc. forcing them to leave their country and seek refuge in India. Some opposition parties wanted Muslim to be included. It looks funny that Muslims would be persecuted in Islamic countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to an extent they are made to leave their country for India.
First, China tried to test the waters of India’s ocean of strength in 2017 by raking up the Doklam border issue. India stood firm behind a lifetime friend, Bhutan on this border dispute. Trying to overawe India by reminding her of the 1962 war, Modi government made China understand that India was not what she was in 1962 and was now under a much different leadership of PM Modi which can make any sacrifices to protect the territorial sovereignty at all costs. The strong stand paid and China made a retreat.
In May 2020 China once again repeated its treacherous game in Laddakh region. Modi government reiterated its firmness to brook no nonsense. That made China to see the reality. It drew India to talks at the level of Lt. Generals to settle the matter peacefully. But China cannot live without its treacherous mind. While, on the one hand, it was seeking to settle the dispute through mutual talks with three rounds of negotiations had already taken place and, on the other, it killed 20 brave Indian troops while its own loss was reported to be about 43. The sentiment in the country is now tit for tat. PM Modi has already declared that the sacrifice of patriotic soldiers will not go waste.
During the last six years of the reign of Shri Modi the very outlook of India throughout has witnessed a sea-change. Today India is looked up with respect and her view matters, is sought after and it is she which sets the agenda. India has come to be recognized as a world leader. Under Shri Modi every country, be it USA, UK, France, Arab countries, Germany, Israel and others wish to have the best of relations with India. India succeeded in isolating Pakistan which tried to seek support of Muslim and Arab countries against India on latest steps in J&K. No country came to Pakistan’s side on the issue.
What else could be the proof of India’s standing in the world that she has been elected to the two-year term as member of the Security Council garnering 184 out of 192 votes cast.
Prime Minister Modi has brought great laurels to the country. He has been conferred more than eight international awards for himself. It is an honour both for Shri Modi and the country. No politician and Prime Minister had been able to receive such and so many international honours for the country in the last 73 years.
India has come to be recognized as a world leader. US President Donald Trump has repeatedly declared that India is a great friend of the world’s oldest democracy of the world. He has invited India to the G-7 summit. This step is ultimately expected to pave the way for India joining this prestigious group of nations in the times to come.
It goes to the credit of Prime Minister Modi to have taken India’s friendship with USA to greater heights.
The ‘Howdy Modi’ event organized by American citizens of Indian origin in Houston (USA) on September 22, 2019 was attended by 50,000 people. This not only established PM Modi’s popularity among Indian diaspora but also provided the US President Donald Trump an occasion to meet and address such a large audience in USA. The occasion provided President Trump the opportunity to address such a large a gathering unheard of in USA.
In February 2020 an event “Namaste Trump” was held in Ahmedabad (Gujarat) in which US President was entertained to address a gathering of more than one lakh 25 thousand people, another unusual event for the American President. Enthused by the sea of humanity that had gathered to greet him, President Trump declared, “America loves India, respects India”. To the roars of approval by the audience, he added, “India gives hope to all of humanity”. In his gushing speech paying tribute to PM Modi as an “exceptional leader….and a man I am proud to call my true friend”, President added, “Everybody loves him but I will tell you this, he is very tough”, obviously referring to occasions when matters of interests of India are concerned. (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/24/namaste-donald-trump-india-welcomes-us-president-narendra-modi-rally)
Besides USA PM Modi has taken India’s friendship to much higher heights with Japan, Israel, Russia, UK, France, Germany and many Muslim nations. He was greeted in those with feelings of greater warmth.
The Modi government has vowed to take India’s economy to $3 trillion mark in two years. It had taken numerous positive measures in this connection. But in the meantime Covid-19 stepped in. The lockdown for about 60 days has taken a great toll of our economy. PM announced a Rs. 20 lakh crore financial package to boost the country’s economy. The role of the Reserve Bank of India in these difficult times had also been very helpful. It is expected to make up many of the country’s losses. The lockdown was also followed by a huge exodus of labour, skilled and unskilled, to UP, MP, Bihar, Jharkhand etc. It will also cost the agricultural and industrial production sector heavily because labour is going to be scare. The government is looking into this aspect of the problem also.
It was Modi government’s apt handling of the Covid-19 problem that for about more than 3 months India’s share of infections was minimal. Had it not been for Modi government and the States to have taken steps in time, India would have stood at number one position in this calamity unknown in the history of mankind. In contrast to smaller countries, the Covid-19 is much under control as compared with the situation in other countries. PM Modi prepared the people of the country for hard steps when he first gave a call for a one-day janta curfew and later lockdown.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has lauded "India's tough and timely actions" against the Corona virus under the leadership of Prime Minister Narender Modi. Bill Gates too has showered praises on India’s handling of the situation.
India could not be put under lock for indefinite period. It would have proved very destructive for the country.
But the role of the Opposition has always been critical and negative. First it criticised the lockdown. Now that lockdown has been made to usher in unlock, it is again critical. It has no constructive suggestions to make.
Some chief ministers in States have failed to handle the situation effectively. Some are even indulging in politics to deal with this humanitarian and health problem. The worst States in the country in the matter of dealing with Covid-19 are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi and Rajasthan.
From June 8 some States have opened places of worship, hotels, restaurants and malls while observing the social distances norms a must. Their effect needs to be watched. The success of this measure will make the government take a decision in other matters as well in the time to come.
Despite the Modi government having done exceedingly well in so short a time for the welfare of every section of society, Opposition’s blurred vision unfortunately fails to see the reality. ***
The writer is a Delhi-based political analyst and commentator.