2024: Entitlement (I.N.D.I.A. Alliance) vs Empowerment (Modi-led NDA)
Even if you know next to nothing about Indian politics, two headlines in the front page of Times of India dated July 27 tell you enough, for you to give a discourse on LS Elections 2024!
The two headlines:
DKS to MLAs: No funds for development work in constituencies
Modi ki guarantee: India will be among world’s top 3 3 economies in NDA third term
Like a pictorial, this starkly reveals the vision of the opposition INDIA Alliance and that of Modi, period.
After riding to power on the strength of the five guarantees, the Congress government in Karnataka has now officially confessed that it has no funds for development. It was only a matter of time for the people to realise that the freebies they are enjoying has actually come at the cost of development, and so the state will inevitably head towards becoming a Bimaru state in the years to come.
In contrast, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is staking his work, image and track record to storm back to power in 2024 on his guarantee of making India the world’s third largest economy in the world.
So the people of India have a clear cut choice before them: They can prefer the Opposition’s INDIA alliance to live for the present and enjoy the freebies till they last and eventually realise they have no future worth talking about or stick with Modi for a better future for themselves, the next generation and their country.
This is the big picture before the people. Everything else — the mayhem in Manipur, the violence in Bengal, the atrocities in Rajasthan, the stories of Hindus being threatened in Kerala, the Udupi college incident in Karnataka — is secondary, notwithstanding their seriousness.
That is because they are temporary and will pan out in course of time. If the government takes prompt action, they can be nipped in the bud. And if affirmative action takes time in coming, we will have to pay a bigger price and wait for the solution to emerge.
However, there is now no dispute and not even an iota of a doubt about the divergence in the ground zero vision of the Opposition INDIA alliance and the Modi-led NDA’s grand vision for the country, because we are already seeing the result of the opposition’s vision being played out in states ruled by them like Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Himachal, and the inevitability of India being among the top 3 under Modi, as also predicted by reputed global agencies.
For the supporters of the opposition, it would be honestly difficult to deny that their disposition against Modi is not on the grounds of lack of vision or even lack of performance since India is already the 5th largest economy in the world under Modi as against being a fragile economy and the 10th largest in the world under UPA, but because they either — a) hate him at worst or b) disapprove of his selective action against the opposition leaders on the issue of corruption, or c) question his secular credentials.
These grounds are easily dismissed if only one is candid and objective.
The charge of misuse of CBI and ED may appear to be plausible on the face of it, but one has to remember that most of the cases being pursued against the opposition leaders are due to pressure from the courts, or merely a matter of the law finally taking its due course with the government proactively pursuing old cases against them.
Even if the charge of bias is justifiable on the ground of selective pursuing of the cases, the alternative is to let the corrupt go free by maintaining the status quo. Does maintaining the status quo serve the public interest or the political interest? What matters to the people is that the corrupt are brought to book — whether selective or otherwise doesn’t really concern them.
As for questioning Modi’s secular credentials and the charge of being a majoritarian leader, the mainstream media continues to betray its default tendency to amplify some stray incidents and package them as anecdotal evidence to paint Modi as majoritarian.
But we have to be bipartisan and also consider the other side — of incidents which hurt the majority community — that are largely ignored by the mainstream media, and given oxygen by the social media.
And because such incidents are either not covered or inappropriately/incompletely covered by the media, the social media amplifies them. The moot point here, is, why do we have to turn to the social media to know the truth about the Hindu hurt?
For instance, the media has either ignored or underplayed the post-poll violence in Bengal where more than 40 people lost their lives. Further, the corruption charges against the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu is almost a conspicuous omission in the regional media.
A new trick being used by the anti Modi opposition and the media is to use the services of useful “fact-checkers” like the discredited Mohammad Zubair who are ready and ever willing to peddle their wares on their behalf. These rent-a-tweet social media warriors are expert in literally faking the true by confusing and confounding you so that you don’t know what is true and what is not. Eg: the Udupi college horror where Hindu girl students were allegedly filmed in the toilet by a spy camera installed by a few Muslim students. The state IT Minister, Priyank Kharge is painting it as a ploy by the Hindus to communalise the incident. If their kith and kin are among the victims, would they still see it that way?
If we were following only the print media, we would have probably not even been aware of such incidents and therefore would have been ready to believe the worst about Modi.
As for questioning Modi’s secular credentials, it increasingly sounds like the tantrums of an old woman. The fact is the secular satraps in the opposition as well as the media are embarrassed by the Prime Minister daring to openly follow Hindu customs in full view of the public. This is a red herring for them and no one is asking why it should be so when 8 out of 10 people in India if not more, follow the self-same customs in their life. And if this is majoritarian, then all democracies in the world are way more in-the-face kind of majoritarian.
Notwithstanding the disconnect between what is covered in the mainstream media and the social media, the people should focus on the big picture and decide what they want in 2024: An India which returns to be a fragile economy on the back of freebies or an India which is counted among the top 3 economies in the world.
The choice is obvious even to the unseeing and the deaf, but the beauty of political posturing and the way the media is portraying the choice seems like it is a Hobson’s choice.
Entitlement vs Empowerment s an ideological clash which will also be a litmus test to gauge the behaviour of the voter.