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

Remove unauthorized constructions without pressure: Thackeray to BMC

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has instructed the Mumbai civic authorities to take immediate action on unauthorized constructions on war footing. In a virtual meeting held on Wednesday, Thackeray said no illegal construction will be tolerated in Mumbai and called upon the BMC to

Covid norms relaxed; Mumbai restaurants, shops to remain open longer

After extending timings of shops and restaurants as well as the reopening of cinema halls and theatres under specified SOPs from October 22, in view of the festive cheer, the Maharashtra government has allowed restaurants and eateries to remain open till 12AM and shops and establishments to function till 1

Global Hunger Index data collection flawed: Arvind Panagariya

Rubbishing the recently released Global Hunger Index 2021, wherein India has slipped to 101 position to be placed below Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, Arvind Panagariya, professor of economics at Columbia University and former vice chairman, NITI Aayog, has said that data collection and methodologies used

‘Blue Zones’ concept of healthy living and its relevance in India

A long life span free from diseases and disability, the so-called healthy aging, has been a matter of prime interest to humanity. It is widely held that the life expectancy is a function of interplay between various genetic and environmental factors. There is scientific evidence to support the fact that on

Motilal Nehru too had petitioned for release of his son: Vikram Sampath

Defence minister Rajnath Singh’s statement, that Mahatma Gandhi had asked V.D. Savarkar to file a mercy petition before the British, has ignited a debate. Vikram Sampath, a historian and author of a recent biography of Savarkar, says two weeks after Jawaharlal Nehru was lodged in Nabha jail, his

Gati Shakti: The National Master Plan

The launch of the Gati Shakti master plan will be a booster dose for India growth story. The plan, as the name indicates, will ensure Gati, i.e., speed and Shakti, i.e., empowerment to the ₹1 trillion national infrastructure pipeline. The plan will break inter-ministerial silos. For examp

Visionary Talk with Dr Arvind Panagariya, Professor, Columbia University & Former VC, NITI Aayog



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter