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 (Sunset for Modi?)
 
The prime mover advantage in political narrative is shifting from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the opposition parties. 
The shift is set to gather momentum following the BJP’s debacle in Bihar polls that was preceded by drubbing in Delhi from rookie politician Arvind Kejriwal. The election results have delivered a decisive blow to Modi’s waning charisma and credibility. 
Many a citizen would henceforth view with suspicion whatever good initiative that Mr. Modi takes in future. They would suspect it as a part of larger Hindutva agenda.  
Similarly, the Opposition would take credit for anything good that Mr. Modi does in any socio-economic domain. They would say something like this: Modi is doing this because we created public pressure for him to act. He is backtracking because… and so on and so forth. As this process gains momentum in the coming months, Mr. Modi would be seen as a reactive leader and not as a proactive leader. 
Barring sound and fury, he failed to act as a proactive leader on all fronts except his hobbyhorse, Swachh Bharat. And action in this domain has been more theatrical and not holistic. It has hardly changed the ground actuality.  India thus continues to stink.  
When electorate gave BJP the Lok Sabha mandate to govern well, then it was swayed by Mr. Modi’s perceived passion for growth and reforms. The public saw him as a proactive leader who would cut Gordian knot of hurdles to herald Acche Din for all.
He failed to rise to the occasion perhaps because he trusts only very few colleagues, who in turn have created their own cliques of trusted advisors. The bane of Modi regime is the distrust for established institutional framework and outside professional talent.
 Mr. Modi is also indifferent towards well-meaning advice that flows from institutions, analysts and small fries at large.
Be it the attacks on churches, be it arrogance-inspired land ordinance, be it ghar wapsi (conversion of Christians and Muslims back to Hinduism), be it cow slaughter, be it beef tamasha, be it abusive tongue-lashing by certain BJP leaders, Mr. Modi’s initial response has always be stoic silence. 
 
Take any case and make a Google search. Pop comes the headline that runs on these lines: Modi finally breaks his silence. 
In each case, the Opposition and other opinion leaders goaded PM to break his silence. And he always spoke too late and too little, thereby consolidating his image as reactive leader, who drew comfort from great escape from domestic grind by flying abroad ostensibly to build India’s image.
With this background, consider reactive PM scenario with five hypothetical situations. 
Take the case of farmers’ suicides and worsening agrarian crisis especially in drought hit areas. Mr. Modi has avoided healing touch at the ground level like an ignorant person distancing himself from HIV patient. Now when PM finally spares time from his foreign tours and visits families hit by suicides, Rahul Gandhi would take credit for it. And rightly so: Mr. Gandhi has been taunting Modi repeatedly on this issue. 
Consider now PM’s truancy from Parliament. Mr. Modi is the leader of Lok Sabha. He is country’s CEO. And yet he is extremely frugal in sparing time to participate in discussions in Parliament on burning issues. As and when, he now improves his visibility in Parliament, the Opposition would take legitimate credit for bringing escapist PM on the line. 
Take the case of population explosion, an issue that Modi has shunned like plague after becoming PM. His Government has categorically ruled out formulation of new population policy (NPP) to replace the one framed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government in 2000. This policy was unveiled to implement recommendations of  a committee constituted by National Development Council (NDC) during Narasimha Rao regime in the nineties. 
Modi has not even-reconstituted the National Population Commission (NPC), which last met in October 2010. In that meeting chaired by his predecessor, NPC resolved that “population stabilisation should be accorded high priority and brought back into the political discourse at all levels. (And) the Chief Ministers should provide leadership to the promotion of small family norms.”
As and when Modi Government revives NPC or initiates a move to frame NPP, it would be viewed as handiwork of RSS. 
The Opposition would promptly point out that RSS had recently demanded formulation of NPP taking into consideration the decline in share of Hindus’ in total population and rise in share of Muslims. RSS articulated its stance on demography with the situation in Assam.
As put by RSS’ resolution passed at its conference on 30th October, Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal (ABKM) observed: “severe demographic changes brought forth by the analysis of the religious data of Census 2011 highlight the necessity of the review of population policy. Vast differences in growth rates of different religious groups, infiltration and conversion resulting in religious imbalance of the population-ratio, especially in border areas may emerge as a threat to the unity, integrity and cultural identity of the country.”
And Modi critics would not fail to articulate their attack by recalling his 2002 quotable jibe “hum paanch hamare pachees” (We five (husband plus 4 wives and our 25 Kids) directed against a community.  
Leave aside this sectarian angle, the country urgently needs a NPP to rein in population growth to avoid further erosion of benefits of economic growth through multiplication of population especially among the poor. As it is, the existing population is unsustainable from the standpoint of limited natural resources particularly land and water. 
Consider now the case of PM-chaired National Integration Council (NIC), which last met in September 2013. Modi’s distrust for institutions is obvious here: He has not reconstituted NIC, leave aside the remote idea of convening it. Now as and when Modi convenes NIC, the media would jump to conclusion that it is being convened following incessant campaign against growing Intolerance. Award Wapsi and Tsunami of other protests. 
Take now PM’s rhetoric on cooperative federalism and Team India. The credibility deficit is yawning in this arena. Mr. Modi has not cared to reconstitute Inter-State Council (ISC), whose half-yearly meetings he demanded as Gujarat CM. ISC, a constitutional entity, has not met for almost nine years. 
He has also not constituted ISC Standing Committee (ISC-SC) which is chaired by Union Home Minister.  
Like his predecessor Dr. Manmohan Singh, Mr. Modi is keeping Maun Varat on recommendations of Commission on Centre-State Relations (CCSR) that submitted its seven-volume report in April 2010.  
Now as and when ISC is revived and meets, the Opposition would take credit for it. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Chief Ministers’ Conclave on Cooperative Federalism would be cited as an instance of political pressure on Modi to respect federalism in letter and spirit. 
We can consider more such instances of Mr. Modi’s failure to bank on institutions and established practices for good governance. When BJP licks the dust at the next Lok Sabha polls, Mr. Modi would have enough time to reflect over his failure to take the right decision at the right time.  
He might like to recall what almost every student learns in a good school: time and tide wait for none.
Published by http://nareshminochapolity.blogspot.in on 12th November 2015
 
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