For a man who’s been asking the electorate for the past 18 months to change the fate of the country, Narendra Damodardas Modi has a plan up his sleeve. Insiders confirm that Modi already has a team in place to look at priority areas. Members of the team working on the development plan say, “Modi will work like a project manager who has a deadline to meet. Work for the 60 months of development that he is looking at will begin on day one. There is no time to waste.”
So CEO Modi has laid down five flagship projects as top priority. These would include economic, social and political projects. A team member told Outlook, “Top on Modi’s mind is providing a huge impetus to manufacturers. He wants business to grow because he is convinced the economy will grow if business is allowed to thrive.” It is with this in mind that a complete revamp in the sectors of road, railways, freight transport and ports is being planned. Immediate action would be seen on the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Calcutta corridors. Modi’s emphasis, sources say, will be to shift freight transport from railways to road and to reduce oil import.
Modi’s team confirms that attention will be paid to the revamp of ports, in fact a complete facelift is being planned. Team Modi is looking at possibilities of opening newer ports and competence delivery will be top focus. Modi, sources say, is also keen on turning around the coal, steel and power sectors with focus “first on solving the current mess in the coal sector and then working towards providing quality power generation”. Special attention will be paid to the Northeast.
On the social projects front, the Ganga will remain Modi’s pet project once he takes charge of the government as prime minister. Sources concede that the Ganga project has political significance for Modi which is why Team Modi has been told to have a special plan in place revolving around the river. A team member says, “Electoral dividends for Modi came from the Ganga belt of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Both the BJP and Modi know that if we want to keep that goodwill coming our way from that region intact, then something concrete needs to be done for that region.”
Sources let on that Modi has also directed his team to come up with skill development programmes for both women and youth, two sections that Modi had been rallying for and seeking support from throughout his election campaign. Skill development programmes will look at providing training in the fields of vocational, technical, rural services and even the small manufacturing sector.
Those close to Modi confirm that he would be looking at the next five years also as a time to consolidate his position politically. On the agenda therefore is an expansion plan for his party. A source says, “Contrary to popular belief, there will be no witch-hunting of opponents. There is a sound legal system in the country and therefore there is no need for anyone to hound an opponent, especially when Modi wants to ensure that his opponents become irrelevant...occupy little mindspace with an electorate hungry for development.”
Modi would therefore be working hard on increasing the imprint of his party in states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Orissa, West Bengal and Assam. A source explains, “In future elections, we don’t want to be dependent solely on the Hindi heartland for an election victory. These states then become very important bases for us and Modi is clear he wants a massive geographical expansion to ensure that.” Emphasis therefore will be laid on strengthening the BJP and its cadre and building the party separately in states where it falls short of an impressive presence. It is with this in mind that Modi is likely to pull in a lot of district-level leaders with defined participatory roles in his government.
Not just that, sources also say that Uttar Pradesh and Bihar feature big in Modi’s action plan. A source says, “Politically, strong regional leaders outside of the BJP don’t represent an ideal situation for us. We will therefore attempt to have BJP governments even in these states in the near future.” And to achieve this, Modi’s mantra in this new stint will be to provide “bijli, sadak, paani to every household in every village”, as his aides put it. Clearly, Modi’s ambition is not a five-year run but an aspiration beyond just one term of prime ministership.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
An excellent article on how the Modi govt is working
Nira Radia type meetings have come to a complete stop. Modi's task is to ensure that the current working climate created by him stays for the next five years. No room for slack.
In the last paragraph of my previous post it should be "India will never become a theocratic state."
Modi has already taken some interesting decisions that point to his leadership and management style. The invitation to SAARC leaders was a masterstroke. It will allow him to get to know the leaders in the neighborhood. Even the US was appreciative of this gesterure. Requiring the departmental secretaries to make presentations to him, which apparently has never happened with past PMs, shows that he will be a hands-on leader. He will not be asleep at the wheel. This also shows his willingness to listen and learn. There is some expectation that outside experts will be called on to serve in key roles. He is willing to reach outside the political class to find expertise.
During the elections the one area where I saw a big difference between Modi and Rahul was that Modi seemed to have a vision. When it came to education, economy and other matters, even in political rallies he talked about where India should be. In sum, I do see some outstanding leadership traits.
Whether one voted for Modi or not, every Indian has a stake in India's success. The tired ideas of Congress have not worked (according their own stats 67% of Indians are in poverty after nearly 6 decades of Congress rule). It is time for some fresh thinking and new ideas. Not everything that Modi tries will succeed. But going by his track record and his speeches, he certainly has ideas on what needs to done.
I thought the comment in his acceptance speech "If the 125 crore people in the country take a step forward, the country will move forward by 125 crore steps" was comparable to JFK's "Ask not what your country can do for you...". Modi's subtle call for people to take personal responsibility is very different from the previous approach of handouts and entitlements. India can't move forward if citizens don't do their share to become more productive, to discourage corruption, to keep the streets clean and so on.
I am disappointed to see pessimism and personal attacks in this forum. It will never become a theocratic state. The vast majority of people are tolerant and peaceful. It is time to be optimistic.
UP and Bihar, purely in terms of development, are the core of the challenge. Anyone who can turn these states around deserves to rule India.
Just like you have a "fear of Saffornisation" theory, I too have a theory.
Manmohan Singh virtually wiped out the Congress and Gandhi Family (with his 10 year rule) to avenge the 1984 Riots!
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