How not to criticize Modi

Nuance is always welcome: Congress can make a beginning at least in its response to Ramesh, Tharoor

GN Bureau | August 29, 2019


#Narendra Modi   #Congress   #Shashi Tharoor   #Jairam Ramesh   #BJP  
PM Narendra Modi
PM Narendra Modi

Jairam Ramesh and Shashi Tharoor have stirred the hornet’s nest in the Congress. They have argued that the party should not “demonise” prime minister Narendra Modi. The two leaders believe constant criticism and negativity would only help Modi and therefore the party should calibrate its reactions. Most in the Congress think these remarks are nothing less than heresy, and the Kerala Congress has even slapped a notice on Tharoor, seeking explanation.

For Ramesh and Tharoor, these remarks are not surprising: they have spoken in favour of some or the other move of the Modi government (in Gandhinagar earlier and now in Delhi), even if the appreciation comes rarely. They are not alone in the Congress: right in the early days of Modi’s first term in Gujarat, the senior most opposition leader, former chief minister Amarsinh Chaudhary, had remarked something like, “Whatever you may say about Modi, you have to agree that he is not corrupt.” Towards the end of his last term in the state, it was Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit who had praised his ‘Gujarat model’. There are enough instances of leaders from other parties, including the CPM, praising Modi’s administration, grudgingly or otherwise.

So far, there used to be words of praise from the opposition camps albeit rarely and often followed by hasty clarification and claims of being misquoted. Now, thanks to Ramesh and Tharoor, a debate is taking shape, which should be welcomed. Trouble with political discourse in India is that it is almost always carried out on partisan lines. Rare is the time when there is ‘bipartisan’ or unanimous support over what are obviously steps in national interest. In recent years, we have seen acrimonious debates over Aadhaar, food security law, NREGA and GST, among a slew of issues, even if they have continued apace even after the regime change. The contest, it seemed, was not about the steps per se but about garnering credit for the same.

By the same token, the past five years have seen obviously praiseworthy initiatives – from cleanliness drive to distribution of cooking gas cylinders among the poor – not mention the appeal to the middle class to give up subsidies. The opposition should have wholeheartedly welcomed such moves, which would have added credence to any criticism on the implementation later. Instead, the constant criticism has blunted its edge, reducing it to the crying wolf syndrome.

The result, then, is heightened divisiveness among supporters of different parties, hardening of prejudiced postures instead of an open-minded conversation. Also, when the government has repeatedly proved its popularity, now in the general elections too, opposition leaders seem to make negative remarks solely for their own consumption and not for any public course.

The health of the democracy, needless to say, depends more on a healthy opposition than a healthy regime – and that is what India has been missing of late. Nuance is welcome everywhere, and the Congress can make a beginning in its reaction to at least two of their own.

Comments

 

Other News

India set to bolster ties with Brazil during Bolsonaro`s visit

As India gears up to celebrate its 71st Republic Day on January 26, it will host Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro as the chief guest of the event that marks the day when the country formally adopted the Constitution as the guiding document. This will be Bolsonaro’s maiden visit, which he would like

India gears up to meet Coronavirus challenge

With the outbreak of Coronavirus reported from China, India has started taking precautionary measures, and begun screening passengers of selected flights. “As of 21st January, a total of 43 flights and 9156 passengers have been screened for novel Coronavirus illness. Till now, no case

Reit: Real estate for retail

Every middle-class Indian dreams of a home coupled withlanded property to live off the rent. However, large initial investment, particularly inmetros, and low yields ensure that real estate is out of the reach of the common man. A return of 7-8 percent from commercial properties is considered highly commen

Maharashtra poll panel rolls out Electors Verification Programme

The Maharashtra State Election Commission has urged the residents to take advantage of the ongoing Electors Verification Programme (EVP) and register their names along with those of the members of their families in the electoral rolls. The drive, which started on November 11, 2019, will continue till Febru

Budget goes to print with Halwa ceremony

The budget season is here, and the annual document has gone to print, beginning the lock-in period till its presentation in parliament on February 1. The Halwa ceremony, marking the commencement of the budget printing process, was held in North Block Monday morning in the presence of finance

‘Desh Apnayen’ is a movement to partner with your country: Vallabh Bhansali

Investment banker, venture capitalist and stock-market expert Vallabh Bhansali is the co-founder and chairman of Enam Group, a pioneering equity research company in the country. He is a promoter of spiritual and cultural traditions and also an expert on development economics, behavioural science and co



Archives

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter