Prime Minister Modi has established high standards in leading present day India, with its myriad challenges. He has utilised resources to their maximum, adopted creative disruption to energise various sectors of the economy, introduced new management practices in the dusty corridors of babudom, used technology to bring change in service delivery, deftly outwitted the opposition, etc. This has taken the BJP ahead in the political game.
Unfortunately, apart from his handpicked lieutenants in the Union Government and other top appointments, those down the ranks, particularly at the state level, have not learned from these techniques. It seems the party cadre has been taken in by the opposition propaganda that attempts to project the PM as a Hindu fanatic, whose temple visits bring in the votes. While traditional politics of caste, community and family cannot be entirely ignored, there also has to be recognition of the new aspiring India that Modi has managed to connect with so effectively. The Chief Ministers in the BJP ruled states should adopt out of the box and disruptive practices to bring about the economic and social changes required for progress. Modi cannot be left alone to do the job, even if he is largely responsible for the victories in assembly elections.
Leaders must have the ability to recognise talent and then use it to maximum benefit. An example of this is the rise to prominence of current External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. When first chosen by Modi for the post, there were many doubts about his ability, particularly when compared to his predecessors. However, he has emerged as one of the most articulate and effective players of the diplomatic game. India’s foreign policy has never been as balanced and effective as at present.
Chief Ministers and state level party units have to take the necessary risks to promote talent so that the BJP’s present momentum is maintained and built up, instead of dissipating into the quagmire of conventional politics. By not doing so and failing to pull their weight, the leadership in the lower ranks is hurting the larger cause for which all are aspiring. This applies particularly to Uttarakhand, which has many advantages that need to be leveraged by an alert and innovative local leadership. Don’t just depend on Modi, learn from him.