Parameters to win people’s hearts

| | in Oped

The level of political decadence rests solely on the parameters of good governance and development. This is why, amid a degenerating scenario, major political parties have been able to retain power. Voters can no more be fooled

The main cleavage in practising politics today is not Left versus Right but open versus closed. In this model, attitudes towards social issues and globalism are more important than the conventional economic Left-Right issues. ‘Open’ voters tend to be socially liberal, multicultural and in favour of globalism, while ‘closed’ voters are culturally conservative, opposed to immigration and in favour of protectionism.

Traditionally, Indians believe in the co-existence of diverse ways and means. Accordingly, different political parties were formed in early post-Independence days, depending on ideologies or openness, as professed, and caste loyalties.

Then, there were earnest discussions and debates on various issues of national importance and the Press played a very important role in analysing, interpreting and conveying to the people and the Government, relative developments and prescriptions.

Amidst all these, ideology of intellectuals, journalists, editors and publications was clearly evident. But over the years, ideological fervour started waning and in recent times, especially in the wake of coalition politics with its own compulsions, a brand of politics, depending on opportunities and convenience, has emerged.

Thus, ideological differences lost its meaning and the urge to obtain or retain political power and a Government seat attained greater importance.

Interestingly, similar regroupings happened with the intellectuals and the media too. Those, used to benefits, privileges and sinecures provided by the erstwhile Governments, have started a motivated campaign against the reigning dispensation, whereas the nationalists are pro-Government. Such considerations motivate the journalists too.

Desperate and concerted onslaught by the Opposition, select intellectuals and largely the English media through stage-managed highlighting of intolerance episodes; so-called attack on Dalits and beef eaters/cow smugglers; criticism of One Rank One Pension implementation; challenging the authenticity of surgical strikes; showing of unhappiness of soldiers and demonising demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax, failed to influence the voters.

People realised that such advocates pick stray incidents, colour them to their liking and create an issue when none actually exists. For example, the economy’s growth rate slowing down in the July-end quarter due to certain structural changes and the Government’s clean-up act — even though it can’t be denied that they were necessary and that the Government did not cringe from taking bold measures — was projected as spelling impending doomsday.

As a matter of fact, the Indian economy has revived since. Interestingly, this led to loss of credibility not only for the liberal intellectual — journalists alone — but also for the political parties supported by this group.

In this scenario of degeneration, the parties which retained credibility are the Trinamool Congress, the Biju Janata Dal, the Janta Dal (United), the Aam Aadmi Party and Punjab Congress, apart from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The remaining parties, including the Congress, are facing political obliteration. Talking about the six parties mentioned above, how are they retaining public confidence and what is common among them?

It is good governance and focus on development that has kept them relevant. The sitting Governments mentioned above have a track record of some positive governance and developmental efforts and are, therefore, retaining power.

The BJP’s electoral victory in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, despite long incumbency, was possible mainly due to its developmental work done in both States.

It is through good governance that public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources. Governance is the process of decision-making and implementation.

Under the Modi Government, maximum emphasis and efforts have been put on energising the decision-making process and making it corruption-free and transparent.

In India, before the present Government came to power, the focus was on select minorities to be favoured on the basis of religion or caste. The Modi Government was the first one to follow and push good governance and development for all sections, irrespective of religion, caste or creed.

Underscoring the importance of people’s participation to make the Government’s efforts successful, at least 20 lakh people have surrendered their gas subsidy.

In the railways too, 9.39 lakh senior citizens have voluntarily given up their ticket under the Government’s ‘Give up’ scheme. People have so much faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi that they are giving up subsidy at his call.

When India votes again for the 2019 Lok Sabha poll, it will be a new India — 99 per cent of the homes will have electricity; 90 per cent will have toilets; 87 per cent will have cooking gas and each one of them will have bank accounts. This is why the Prime Minister is getting more and more popular.

This rate of development under Prime Minister Modi augurs well both for the present dispensation as it braces for the next General Election and also for the masses that stand to benefit due to

people-inclusive welfare schemes.

 (The writer is an author and a commentator)

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