The BJP’s excellent showing across the country in the just concluded Bihar assembly elections and by-elections in several states is being attributed rightly to Prime Minister Modi’s persona. It is a fact that the sincerity and hard work he puts into his job is laudable. The ability to take hard decisions when required is admired by a nation that has had more than its share of habitually weak-willed leaders. At the same time, he also can play it cool and bide his time if the need so requires. This is only possible for one who is not allowing others’ opinion of him to define his thinking and actions.
It would be foolish, however, for the BJP to leave everything up to him. It has been seen that there is a large gap between what the Modi Government decides and how it is understood by his party workers. Although many admire him, not so many are willing to emulate his dedication and application. They are happy in the traditional way to enjoy the fruits of power, make money, behave arrogantly and, above all, misrepresent the philosophy of Hindutva that inspires the party. This makes it difficult for large sections of society to develop the reverence for the BJP that they have for the individual at its helm. In this, it is preparing for a fall when Modi is no longer available. This happened to the Congress when it began to see ‘Indira as India and India as Indira’.
This is particularly so with regard to the difficult policies for economic reform that are being sought to be implemented. These need to be explained at the grassroots; particularly those adversely affected in the initial stages, or made to believe so. As seen in the Bihar elections, the silent majority appreciates the efforts and votes accordingly, but the disruptive elements still find enough ill-informed followers to push their hidden agendas as people’s movements. This has been the case with the CAA, the new laws for farmers, etc.
It is not just a party’s fortunes that are at stake here; effective implementation of polices directly impacts the entire nation. If it was only about who becomes chief minister, how would it matter if Tejashwi Yadav or Nitish Kumar adorns the chair? But, it is the policies they would implement that matter, which is why the correct choice has to be made. It is BJP’s meritocratic culture that has brought it to its present preeminent position; it should not succumb to the temptations of power and become another lazy party feeding off the leader’s charisma.