The leader makes a world of a difference in any organisation or nation. It is the leader who gives direction to the organisation or nation by formulating policies and strategies. The people go where the leader takes them, leaving aside a few who will always have their own vision and opinions stemming from that vision.
Narendra Modi came to power in 2014 with a resounding victory. The majority his party enjoyed in the Lok Sabha could have been used to transform India into one of the best nations in the world: best in every way – economically, politically and morally. Instead the 5-year Modi reign has left India a caricature of what was promised in the powerful rhetoric of Modi which won him the popular votes.
Let us take just a few examples.
Modi promised to create 2 crore new jobs per year. The fact is that more jobs were lost in the country during Modi’s rule. In the first four years of Modi’s reign, a meagre 18 lakh jobs were created and most of these jobs belong to what the International Labour Organisation (ILO) classifies as vulnerable employment. The unemployment rose further to 6.10 per cent in Modi’s last year in power (so far). Contrast that figure with the 3.41 per cent in 2014 when Modi assumed office. Today India has more unemployed people than any country in the world. The Prime Minister’s solution was the mockery of asking the youth of India to sell pakodas in the streets.
One of the most popular promises of Modi was to contain inflation and bring down prices. But prices of most things skyrocketed during his reign. No Indian will ever forget how she paid record prices for her vehicle’s fuel when the international crude oil rates were the lowest.
Demonetisation may have become history by making its entry into school textbooks which are created by the Prime Minister’s own writers. But the thousands of people who lost their livelihood because of that dastardly act won’t accept textbook theories.
Modi’s promise of ache din bore fruit only for a few corporate giants who looted the country in various forms, bank frauds being the most popular. On 2 May 2018, The Times of India reported that during the four years of Modi’s rule there were 23,000 bank frauds amounting to Rs 1 lakh crore. Add to that the other scams like the Vyapam scandal in Madhya Pradesh, the PDS scam in Chattisgarh, GSPC scam in Gujarat and mining scam in Rajasthan. Which Indian will ever forget the Rafale scam?
A staggering 36,420 farmers committed suicide in the first two years of Modi’s rule. After that the Indian government refused to publish the statistics of farmer suicides. Suppression of harsh truths is the typical Modi way of solving problems. Propaganda is another.
In the first 4 years of Modi, a whopping sum of Rs 4,343 crore was spent on propaganda, just for advertisements and publicity. Forget the thousands of crores spent on the Sardar Patel statue (Rs 3,000 crore), Shivaji statue (Rs 2,500 crore) and the Lord Rama statue which is expected to swallow Rs 330 crore.
I can go on and on. I’m choosing to ignore the vitiated communal atmosphere in the country, the foreign policies that have put off all the neighbouring countries, and the umpteen slogans that Modi gave us which now echo agonisingly in the country’s toxic air.
One leader, just one leader, made all these differences. One leader, just one leader, can make an entire new difference. But such a leader is yet to emerge on the national scene. That is India’s current tragedy.
PS. Written for Indispire Edition 267: What is the biggest evil that plagues Indian politics? Corruption or lack of leaders with vision or...? #IndianPolitics