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This refers to the articles in the latest issue of Outlook (Conqueror-in-Chief, June 3). Let India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message of inclusion ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, win Sabka Vishwas’ be received with positivity. But the unfortunate incidents of harassment on minorities during his first term stick out like thorns on his performance chart. The message of inclusion cannot be selective; it is for all, especially minority communities. It is important for the new ministers to ensure that their coordinated effort help in uniting the country, not dividing it. Whatever changes India, and change is something the government talks about all the time, should be within the constitutional framework and should never lead to injure the doctrine of secularism.
Ramachandran Nair, Muscat
No prime minister made any difference to my life but Narendra Modi. Let me explain. As the son of an army officer, roti, kapda, makaan, bijli, sadak, pani, padhayee, etc. were hardly issues for me. I was not an adult during the reign of Nehru and Shastri. It was only after about seven years of Indira Gandhi’s tenure that I became an adult. I got a job bang in the beginning of Emergency. Gaadi, bangla and bank balance also came. For the benefit of the doubting Thomases—I also had my ‘maa’ for the first fifty years of my life. I would listen to government budget announcements only to know how they would impact my job in the financial sector and not for personal reasons. Since retirement, I have stopped listening to budgets. There was, however, one thing lacking and I got to experience it during my first few foreign trips from around 2007. The manner in which immigration officials looked and spoke to me till about 2015 completely changed thereafter. The value, image and respect for the Ashoka Lions on a passport went up a hundred fold. And I, along with millions of others, owe all that to Mr Modi. He made India sit tall in the comity of nations. Indians were looked at with a totally different perspective before. And apart from Mr Modi, who gave a direction and velocity to the country’s erstwhile sloppy affairs, we must also appreciate the quiet round-the-clock efforts of Sushma Swaraj, former foreign minister, whose back office vigilantism and implementation were top class.
T.R. Ramaswami, On E-Mail
A 20th century dictator firmly believed that a great leader must speak only a few lies but repeat them again and again so that people actually believe him, albeit for some time. Modi looks like his ardent follower who has managed to fool people for another five years.
Richa Juyal, Dehradun
The election verdict has many lessons for the Congress. The Gandhis need to introspect hard and selflessly about why their combined efforts were not enough to check the return of Modi. They failed to learn any lesson from the 2014 defeat or to fix responsibility. Instead of raising issues of bread and butter, the agrarian crisis, unemployment and water scarcity, Rahul Gandhi kept harping on Rafale, almost like a man possessed.
P. Arihant, Secunderabad
Refer to the editor’s word titled ‘Sabka Vikas’ (June 3). The piece makes a very realistic assessment of our democracy at the moment. Modi stands out as an excellent merchant of non-tangibles, selling liberation from hardships and national security. In 2014, he had mesmerised the people with dreams of ‘achhe din’ and ‘mukti’ from the corrupt dynastic rule of the Congress, but those plans flopped. His 2019 merchandise is different. He has played on our insecurities and unconscious fears. First, clouds were gathered when the Pulwama bomb blast happened, but the Balakot strikes removed those clouds of fears. Modi sold himself as the true saviour of the country. Finally, finding the right camera angles, he also managed portray himself as a rishi-munee of yore doing tapasya in the caves of the Himalayas towards the last leg of the polling. On the other hand, the Opposition remained bitterly divided and failed to set any constructive agenda for the election campaign.
M.N. Bhartiya, Alto-Porvorim, Goa
India’s verdict on Narendra Modi is out. The unpredictable Indian voter has once again surprised all. Before the polls, BJP president Amit Shah was claiming that BJP will cross the 300-mark on its own and NDA will cross the 350-mark, but none took him seriously as it was difficult to believe that any party having been in power for five years, can have no anti-incumbency factor, particularly when it faced agitations in the last phases of its tenure and lost in three major state elections in assembly polls a few months ago. In the 2014 polls, BJP had won 71 seats out of 80 in Uttar Pradesh, which sends the maximum number of MPs to the Lok Sabha and, as a consequence, plays a vital role in forming government at the Centre. The SP-BSP-RLD gathbandan in UP was in high spirits on the simple arithmetic of cast vote-banks. Most of us expected the BJP loosing most of the UP seats it won in 2014. Rahul Gandhi and Congress leaders chanted “Chowkidar chor hai” and claimed that Modi was on his way out, Akhilesh Yadav said that the country will get a new PM on May 24, Mamata Banerjee said she wanted “democracy’s slap” for Modi, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu—a self-appointed king-maker—ran from Calcutta to Delhi to Lucknow and met Mamata, Kejriwal, Akhilesh and Mayawati to mobilise them on the government-formation front. As the trends started coming in on news channels and progressed with the rising sun on counting day, May 23, the graph of the BJP and the NDA unstoppably went up and up and Amit Shah had the last laugh.
M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
Five years ago, Narendra Modi had cast himself as the ‘challenger’ against a tired and discredited UPA II regime and secured 282 seats for the BJP. That feat was surpassed manifold on May 23 as Modi, projecting himself as the ‘saviour’ reaped a pro-incumbency harvest not seen since the days of Nehru and Indira. He has literally transformed India’s 17th Lok Sabha elections into a virtual referendum on himself and his governance, and received a resounding endorsement. Key elements of the Modi appeal have been his perceived honesty and hard work. Far from denting his image with raucous cries of ‘Chowkidar chor hai’, Rahul Gandhi’s attack was dismissed as baseless and immature because it was perceived that the Congress had failed to provide solid evidence, a ‘smoking gun’ that conclusively proved corruption. But possibly the biggest factor that contributed to Modi’s success was the lack of a credible and clear alternative. In a presidential-style contest, Rahul was seen as too inexperienced to offer even a semblance of a challenge. The Opposition failed to see how much India had changed and how Modi represented—for better or for worse—an angry, aggressive, ambitious and aspirational new India.
J.S. Acharya, Hyderabad
There can be no doubt about the fact that the spectacular mandate delivered in favour of the BJP-led NDA is, in reality, proof of India’s unshakeable faith in the leadership of Modi. Remember, on becoming PM in 2014, he had asked the electorate to give him at least 10 years to put India on a path of progress. Five years later, India’s voters have agreed—resoundingly and unhesitatingly. For now, India must rejoice in the selection of a stable and strong government, while the ruling party assesses how it may learn from the mistakes of the past five years to provide better governance in the next five. The NDA will have its work cut out within India and internationally. Having raised the pitch on security, it will also have to adroitly handle relations with Pakistan and China.
J. Akshobhya, Mysore
As the BJP reclaims its place on Raisina Hill, some conclusions are inescapable. First, India has not had a leader of the stature of Narendra Modi in a long time, certainly not after Indira Gandhi. Like Jawaharlal Nehru, Narendra Modi has won every election he contested. The BJP’s campaign was centred on Modi and the outcome demonstrates that he delivered spectacularly. There were at least four PM hopefuls: Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Chandrababu Naidu and Mayawati. The last three, all regional satraps, were eyeing a larger-than-life role on the national stage.
K.S. Padmanabhan, Chennai
Kudos to the RSS for letting Modi reap the 90-year-old sow of an ideology based on insecurity.
Anil S., Pune
The editor seems to be a black cat crossing the road of every good cause indicating an augur ill (Sabka Vikas, June 3). Modi’s full slogan goes like this: ‘sabka sath, sabka vikas and sabka vishwas’, the last two words have been conveniently ignored by Mr Banerjee. While the electoral analysis says the BJP got more than 50 per cent votes, where is the polarisation, when every sect of society has voted for Modi? The editor, it seems has followed in the footsteps of Opposition parties—who say that secularism has been choked. But now the whole of India (the people who got the BJP 304 seats in the Lok Sabha!) has exposed the doubtful credentials of these naysayers. To save the face, your magazine also wanted to celebrate, forgetting that only a week back, the magazine had put Rahul Gandhi on the cover with a very positive narrative. The BJP’s victory is difficult to digest for biased establishments such as this magazine. To these depressing souls, the only remedy is to accept the fact of Modi’s victory and put their efforts in nation building.
Wadekar Vishwas, On E-Mail
This refers to Congress Law of Inertia (June 10). True, Rahul lost the Lok Sabha polls, but he won three states for the Congress in the Hindi heartland. He managed to install a Congress coalition government in Karnataka even though the BJP’s tally of seats was much higher than that of the Congress. He set a new record for the largest victory margin in Wayanad and led the United Democratic Front to a massive win with 19 seats in Kerala. Pundits will pontificate about what caused Rahul’s poll debacle, but just as Modi needs another term to fix the economy and deliver on his promises, Rahul also needs another chance to rebuild his party and rejuvenate its cadre. As Wendy Mogel put it, “Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment”. Rahul is young and energetic and has learned the ropes. As a Congress senior leader has rightly pointed out, the party needs to go back to the drawing board, reach out to the masses and focus more on crucial issues like unemployment and atrocities against minorities.
Kangayam R. Narasimhan, Chennai
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