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Moving On

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While analysing the reasons for the BJP’s Jharkhand defeat, some analysts have stated that attention should have been paid by the party to local issues of bread and butter, instead of focusing on ‘national’ ones such as the CAA and NRC. This is despite the fact that, during the campaign, everybody was eager to hear from PM Modi and Home Minister Shah their take on the ongoing agitation on these subjects! The fact is, being national level leaders, they will naturally speak from their perspective and treat voters not just as people belonging to the state, but also as Indians.
And, indeed, without missing a step, the Union Government continued with its agenda just the day after the Jharkhand upset, holding a cabinet meeting and announcing a slew of initiatives. There is so much work to be done at so many levels, there is not time for leaders to pause, even take breaks away in foreign lands to ‘recover’ from the setback. When people talking of ‘rejuvenating’ the economy, they seem to think it just involves tinkering with tax rates, rebates, RBI interventions, etc. But it is also about better governance and delivery systems in all spheres of activity. Efficiencies introduced even in the smallest things impact upon economic activity. So, a government in power cannot just be thinking about what is required to win a particular election – particularly in India where it is almost continuous process – it has to take the risk of working in the long term.
In this larger agenda, it is also incumbent upon all state governments, be they even from opposition parties, to cooperate. It cannot just be opposition flowing from a basic cussedness, as many seem to believe. Some Chief Ministers have displayed this maturity and, despite supporting the Centre on several issues, continue to retain support in their states. The Congress may believe it is the tail that wags the dog in Maharashtra or Jharkhand, but those in the seats of responsibility will have to act independently if they are to make their mark. This comes from having an understanding of what the nation needs for overall progress. It must also be acknowledged that there are many forces – internal and external – that do not want this sense of national identity to emerge for obvious reasons, as neo-colonialism has its own agenda and manifests in various ways. They may give their opposition fancy nomenclatures, but their past is the best indicator of their present designs.