I think I can safely say that the upcoming Indian general election in 2014 is going to be the most crucial election in recent times for the country, maybe even the most crucial election ever. The country has been governed by undoubtedly the most pathetic government in recent memory. The electorate has been used to scams, inflation, poor law and order and the like, however, what makes this particular government of Indian National Congress (INC) outstandingly atrocious and downright sinful is that they betrayed the collective hope of a depressed billion, and there’s just one thing worse than betraying hope, having hopes from someone who’s gonna betray them.
Touted as a rising power, with even the odd designation of a future superpower loosely thrown around, the country is plagued with weak leaders and near zero decision making today. The booming economy has disappeared, the currency has tanked, Chinese troops have found Indian Kashmir to be their latest holiday home, and governance is at an all time low. Arguably the only good thing to have come out of the country in the last decade is the rise and rise of Narendra Modi, thrice elected Chief Minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, and almost certainly the Prime Ministerial candidate of the main opposition party-BJP- in the next election.
Mr. Modi is a man of extremes, and he most certainly evokes the most extreme reactions from his supporters and detractors alike. Hailed as the messiah of Hindus, he has been vilified for having masterminded the infamous Gujarat riots of 2002, when, in reality, he has been cleared of each and every iota of suspicion by even the apex court in the country. If statistics are anything to go by, Modi’s state is the richest, arguably the fastest growing, and definitely the best governed in the entire country. Personal female acquaintances boast of how they can roam the streets of the state capital Ahmedabad, alone at midnight, without having to watch over their shoulder, surely a seething contrast from the national capital New Delhi, which is governed at the state as well as the union level by the intellectually and morally bankrupt coterie of Indian politics, which is the INC.
The detractors of Modi have been crying their throats hoarse over how he is going to be ‘India’s Hitler’ and how another Holocaust, this time for Muslims, awaits the world. Aside from the fact that all this is utter rubbish, with even the VP of India’s most respected Islamic body having hailed Modi for his efforts at bettering minorities (of course, he was fired for such blasphemy), a threadbare analysis of such anti-Modi noises reveals an underlying pattern which hints at a reason completely different from any genuine concern for minorities- it is that some Indians are afraid of a strong leader. Conditioned to be colonized- first by the Muslims and later by the British- a small chunk of Indians quake in their boots at the mere mention of this complete misfit of a typical Indian politician, who believes in taking the reins of the country in his own hands and driving it forward like a responsible and dedicated charioteer. For the first time in history, we have a leader who publicly proclaims that he sees these billion and a quarter people as Indians, and not as Hindus, Muslims, rich, poor, forward caste and backward caste. This is what irks and terrifies his opponents, for they fear that the brazen divide and rule politics of INC, as well as other political parties, might just come to an end forever.
Intellectuals such as Amaratya Sen lead the anti-Modi brigade and claim that his rightist agenda is damaging for the nation, and urge continuation of INC’s leftist, subsidy laced policies. What they conveniently forget in the name of Modi baiting is that it is these very policies, followed by successive INC governments since 1947, that have left India a laggard nation with 26% people below Indian poverty line (which mind you is well below WB’s line of $1.25/day). Sen claims that Modi is going to devour the minorities, what he forgets is that the INC, which has ruled India for nearly 55 years since independence, has created and managed the communal fissures to serve its interests.
India needs a strong leader. One who is capable of making tough decisions keeping the well being of Indians in mind. For the first time in independent history, we have a leader who has the gall and the will to do just that. I wish the collective conscience of this once great nation arises and does not let this one last chance at redemption slip.
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