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Differing Agendas

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Even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi leads the BJP, it does not mean the party’s members even at the higher levels are aware of the economic and social agendas that underpin his politics. In fact, having come to power, many ministers of the party are more than comfortable with the feudal and socialist top-down structures developed by the Congress. At the same time, there are many politicians in the opposition parties who understand Modi’s politics better and would be more comfortable furthering his policies and goals. In fact, one of the ironies is that the former Chief Minister Harish Rawat, whose ministerial colleagues deserted to the BJP before the last elections in Uttarakhand, comprehended Modi’s policies more than them.

So many of the initiatives taken by Modi require between ten to fifteen years to fully mature. India cannot suffer the repeated jolts of heading in different directions every five years merely because the government has changed. It may be noted that the Deng Xiaoping reforms in China and the changes brought about by Vladimir Putin in Russia took more than two decades to take effect. India’s ‘strongman’ Modi emerged from the liberalisation baby-steps undertaken by Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh. He has taken them forward with much greater confidence. His ardour comes from Hindutva single-mindedness but his policies are shaped by a strong think-tank comprising India’s expanding expertise in numerous fields. He may not entirely please the experts, but they are happy with the general direction being taken. This is in sharp contrast to the ‘new’ Congress under Rahul Gandhi reverting to an almost fundamentalist socialism. On the other hand, the purpose of too many individual politicians in every party is to rake in the money and ultimately that shapes their politics and governance. This results in the imbalance between privately held wealth and availability of funds with government for development. This is why there are potholes in the roads outside mansions made of marble, metaphorically and literally speaking. It is a practical issue – not one of ideology – the flow of money should be transparent and taxable. It is still possible to hide away hundreds of crores of rupees in the case of officials, and thousands of crores in the case of politicians. When examined carefully, all of Modi’s policies and schemes are directed at removing these anomalies and inefficiencies. It is only natural that a certain class of politician would be unhappy the impact these have on their personal fortunes.