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Editorial

Modi is on the Move

The invincibility of Modi is gone. His decline seems inevitable and irreversible. It’s the beginning of the end of Modi raj, rather dictatorship, though he is in the saddle for the third time, with a dejected face. Modi’s victory is Pyrrhic. Voters refused to subscribe to his lies which were professionally manufactured by the pliant media houses and foreign agencies. The ‘one-eyed king in the land of the blind’ finds it too difficult to stomach ‘defeat in victory’. Not for nothing Modi’s post-election speeches sounded subdued. He made the electoral campaign all about him, as if it was a personal referendum and subservient media people tirelessly tried to create a personality cult that now stands shattered. And the cult found an apt expression in his assertion that he has begun to doubt he was a ‘biological being’. The living god is no more than an ordinary mortal being! It’s no longer a Modi government; it is a coalition government. He will have to depend on the king-makers to keep his crown safe. That he has equalled Nehru in becoming prime minister for the third time may be a consolation prize but that doesn’t mean he enjoys absolute power as before.

Their much touted slogan of ‘this time beyond 400’ is now a big joke across the country. The implied threat in the ‘400 gamble’ that Modi might change the constitution to suit their saffron agenda, finally backfired. Voters now understand that Ram Temple cannot feed the hungry. Nor can Muslim-bashing generate jobs. They lost Faizabad, the constituency where Modi inaugurated a controversial grand temple in Ayodhya in January this year, on the ruins of the Babri Masjid. Despite what manipulated opinion polls say his margin of victory in his own constituency, Varanasi, dropped sharply, sending a clear message to the Ram brigade.

Most of the media responded to Modi’s autocracy either by collaborating with the government or toning down their adversarial news instincts. And quite naturally they didn’t face brazen intimidation, late night raids, arrests and imprisonments. The humbling of Modi was beyond the imagination of his storm-troopers who have been trained over the years by their fascist ideologues to terrorise their opponents and minority community people.

The domestic agenda for Modi at the moment is daunting and it includes precisely the issues he didn’t address during the prolonged election campaign. No doubt governing a parliamentary coalition is an art, which requires compromises and conceding ‘unjust’ demands of partners. But he cannot evade the main issues that affect people on the street. Though its working age population numbers one billion, India has only 430 million jobs, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy.’ The failure of economic growth to yield more jobs is in large part the story of how India missed out on the manufacturing boom that played out in East Asia over recent decades. From South Korea and China to Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, hundreds of millions of people escaped poverty via wages earned in factories’. They didn’t depend on government doles. Modi’s promise of making India a manufacturing hub is at worst a hoax. The percentage of Indians who can afford a modern middle-class life-style is pitifully small, albeit at 432 million, the Indian middle-class still appears bigger than the US population.

As Modi begins what may be his final term as Prime Minister it remains to be seen how he manages to continue his plan of dividing people with contentious policies driven by religious and cultural practices. Without a majority in Parliament, he is vulnerable like no previous point. How long this coalition with a lot of opportunistic elements will survive is anybody’s guess.

09-06-2024

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Frontier
Vol 56, No. 52, Jun 23 - 29, 2024