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Staying Ahead

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It is disturbing that there are so many politicians, some extraordinarily ‘successful’, who do not have even a basic understanding of the Constitution, India’s civilisational impulse, ‘political science’, tradition, history or human psychology. This is a clear indicator of how mere control over finance and electoral skullduggery play a role in rising to positions of power. The fundamentals of administrative ability, which are honed and developed by taking responsibility at several levels, are lacking in too many of them.

In this context, it doesn’t come as a surprise that a ‘veteran’ like Sharad Pawar should criticise the BJP for taking interest in construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya in the time of Covid. Is he implying that governance involves one-dimensional activity and jettisoning of all ongoing projects and long term plans because of a single crisis, howsoever severe? In fact, good governance means the ability to stay on course irrespective of unexpected challenges. A statement such as this probably emerges more from the strong urge to seem ‘secular’ (in the confidence that such symbolism will go a long way with those they believe to be anti-Hindu) than from wanting better governance.

It is India’s good fortune that a functional political organisation like the BJP and an adept multi-tasker like PM Modi are at the helm of affairs at the present. Despite all the taunts and attempts to upset Modi’s balance, he has handled the twin crises of the pandemic and the stand-off with China very skillfully and with equanimity. Even more, he has managed even to continue pursuit of his economic policy objectives by dovetailing them with the necessary boost to the Covid hit economy. The ‘revival package’ thus was not a giveaway – except for the poor, farmers, etc. – but an incentive for industries to reinvent their business models. The crisis is being sought to be turned into an opportunity to grow stronger Indian roots (self-reliance) before competing internationally.

In all of this, why should parties with single-point agendas expect the BJP to suspend its political crusade? Why should the pandemic become a time for the opposition to experience relief from the pressure it has been under? Particularly as the pandemic has not prevented these parties from indulging in internal strife and factionalism, such as the present one being witnessed in the Congress? Why should they be surprised that the BJP has made the transformation to holding ‘virtual rallies’ to keep the political momentum going, or that preparations for the 2022 assembly elections are already underway in Uttarakhand? One cannot fault someone for being a better player!

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