Talking 2024 – 2
Shankkar Aiyar: “The buzz about a meaningful challenge to the BJP and Modi is ambition in the quest of affiliation, a plot in search of screenplay, or charitably speaking a narrative in search of evidence. There isn’t an individual or a party close to be being characterised as a real challenger… The failures of a flailing opposition though are not a cause for celebration for the BJP. It is instructive to remember that the absence of a challenger or political entity did not detain the defeat of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government… Modi arrived in 2014 with the promise of transformative change. The motto of minimum government, maximum governance awaits reclamation.”
Swapan Dasgupta offers a pro-Modi counterpoint: “By empowering culturally rooted Indians, reducing corruption, and redefining the nationalist consensus, the PM has changed India… On the face of it, the country displays outward continuity. Yet, it is striking that most of Modi’s critics — particularly those located in the Left-liberal bubble overseas —invariably preface their indictment of India’s public life or governance with the label “Modi’s India”. This gratuitous tag indicates a belief that India has changed unrecognisably and for the worse…[The change] is still work in progress. To endure, Modi’s India will have to define the new heights to scale in 2024.
Jagannathan adds: “BJP Will Win If It Chooses The Right Battlefield: The Fight Is For Dharma, Not Secular Bunkum…In its first tenure, the major Modi government initiatives were streamlining of the subsidy system (through Aadhaar), demonetisation, the drive against black money, goods and services tax, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, and the Uri and Balakot strikes against Pakistan-based terror groups… For far too long, Modi has chosen to fight on battlefields chosen by his enemies, who include the Left-liberal caucus, the Western deep states, and assorted evangelical and jihadi groups. The conversion mafia must be confronted and defeated, especially by choking their fund sources. The battlefield on which Modi is fighting them is called “secularism” or “liberalism”. The battlefield he must shift the fight to is dharma and pluralism. And he should not be apologetic about it. And dharma is not about targeting the so-called minorities, nor it is about religion. It is about levelling the playing field for the forces that fight for dharma. This means ending the discrimination against Hindus baked into the Constitution through articles 25-30, freedom to temples, and autonomy for all Hindu institutions.”
The chorus continues. Some fulminating against Modi, some rooting for him, and a few ambivalent; each wrestling with the 2024 question. In the BJP camp, there is no alternative needed for Modi. In the non-BJP camp, there is no visible alternative to Modi but hope springs eternal. What’s common to both camps, despite evidence to the contrary, is that India’s leaders will transform the nation with their decisions. [I have written about this in the past: Nations, Leaders and their Decisions.]