Modi's Double Personality: Image Making vs. Sincerity
30 March 2016
By Dr. Abdul Ruff
For years before the 2014 parliamentary poll, the right wing BJP and the media
lords supporting the BJP plus Hindutva ideology have systematically carved out
a super personality called Modi to assume power as Indian premier. As the
elections approached the growing Modi phenomenon become very strong as a loud
messenger for development, making India a super power to outsmart the USA and
other world powers. People believed all gymnastics the media and Modi
supporters showcased in public and voted the BJP to power, not knowing the
real hidden agenda of Hindutva forces that have maintained links with Congress
Reports are yet to come out in the media about the process of corruption in
the Modi government. Nothing moves in India without out corrupt practices as
the rulers consider corruption as a necessary ingredient for development. That
explains why government does not punish big political leaders engaged in
corruption and only occasionally punish small clerks for taking a few Rupees
Except that he originally belonged to a poor family, Narendra Modi as prime
minister of India does not differ from his predecessors – at least most of
them – as he suffers from a split personality – one side showing he is sincere
and another – he is also a dramatist. Although his aggressive rhetoric and
total silence on the RSS program of ''Ghar wapsi'' and other sedition drama
taking place in the country ever since he assumed power in New Delhi, Modi
never cared to assure the people of the country that he would not let the
purely Hindutva agenda over power democratic and secular traditions of India
under his leadership. He like any other shrewd Hindutva politician of the
majority community (Hindu) took care not to offend the Hindutva forces with
any kind of warning or mild warning not to express their ultra fanaticism so
Unlike his Hindutva predecessor in PM's chair Atal Bihari Vajpayee, PM Modi
has never tried to be a (secular) statesman in order to take entire nation not
just the RSS and BJP – behind him. He seems to aim at an image by applying a
combination of the political, intellectual skills in speaking and touring the
Modi has been very effectively using his marketing skills so that the
perception general people of him and Hindutva BJP eventually changes to
benefit him and the party so that Hindutva vote bank increase nationally.
Being a RRS leader, PM Modi simply cannot criticize other RSS members, after
all, he overs to them for his phenomenal rise to power from being a tea sale
boy at a Gujarat railway station. Also, if he is eager to rerun as PM again in
future, he requires their help and he know it too well.
Modi's gigantic electoral victory was built on his ability to combine all
possible skills plus the RSS ground work.However, the corrupt Congress led UPA
government of Sonia-Manmohan Singh in which every minister was free to loot
the nation resources seems to have assured Modi the benefits of being a
Congress man by mold.
Modi has been a work-in-progress for almost a decade before the 2014 election.
Since he became the Gujarat chief minister, several key events and his own
performance conspired to turn Modi into a mix of many features: Massacre of
Muslims in his home state Gujarat when he was the CM made him a hero among the
lawless Hindus in Gujarat and elsewhere in India. He soon became the
embodiment of Hindutva, Development, Clean, Patriotic and Terminator of the
Congress and its corrupt, dynastic, incompetent culture.
Anti-corruption movement launched by Hazare-Kejriwal in Delhi offered the
right kind of opportunity for Modi to take the centre stage of Indian
politics. The absence of real competition with Congress and other parties
falling aside and thus alternatives politics or leadership proved fortuitous.
Within the BJP, former Deputy PM LK Advani was old, sidelined and politically
washed-up and his ally Sushma Swaraj didn't have a mass base or a history of
administrative distinction. Outside, Manmohan Singh was weak, meek and
discredited, Sonia Gandhi was unacceptable because of her Italian origin, and
Rahul Gandhi was unacceptable because of his dynastic past, made even more
disagreeable because of pathetic track record; regional leaders were political
minnows. Rahul Gandhi is like a fighter trying to make his way back into the
ring after being knocked out in the first round in the previous bout.
The political space and popular mind space was ripe for invasion. Modi became
Mr. Right if not Mr. Clean (in every sense of the word), who swept the nation
off its feet and captured the throne and the title of Indian emperor with
dynastic suits. PM Modi's greatest achievement is his image of Mr. Right
initially but it is slowly waning as he is not sincere enough. In his first
year in power, there has been no scandal. It seems PM Modi and his team has
shown no signs of continuing the UPA culture of a scam-a-month. Then there
came a bundle of scandals involving ministers and a BJP CM. PMO is heavily
guarded fort and not many can enter there and so no one for sure knows what is
happening in PM's office.
Even while following the UPA template of governance, implementing some of his
predecessor's decisions, Modi seems to have ensured that his government
remains free of taint with a simple yet effective ploy: complete
centralization of power and making his ministers powerless.
PM Modi's refusal to decentralize administrative powers seems to have saved
his skin so far. In a government, money can be made only if decision-making is
decentralized and people down the administrative ladder have the power to
grant favors and accept bribes. In the Modi government since the PM is the
fount of all important decisions, none of his ministerial colleagues is in a
position to grant favors and seek money in return.
Thus far, PM Modi could not implement his favorite Hindutva ideology as the
RSS wants him to do. Before the election, many had feared that Modi would
follow a sectarian agenda; his government would actively divide the society to
ensure that the BJP rules for many years. There were fears of more of Godhras
and Gujarats on national scale. But Modi possibly has not given green signal
for ''patriotic'' Hindus to engineer and execute them as their favorite hobby
so that BJP could increase its mass vote base. However, Modi has been guilty
of being silent on such criminal issues and letting off the loonies in his
government and parliament and assemblies for raising the communal temperature.
Hindutva lives on thanks to expansive networking by the RSS, aided by the
Congress governments. Modi retains the title of Hindutva maharaja, primarily
because of his past and his position on the spectrum of mixed secular and
Hindutva politics. As long as the Congress and regional parties like Janata
Dal, Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party are perceived as anti-Hindutva,
Modi will remain the choice of the right wingers by default.
Electoral key phrases like development, smart cities, bullet trains,
double-digit GDP growth and more employment opportunities have remained just
slogans. India economy is falling as production is very slow and stagnant.
Though on the economic front, inflation is down, the government has met its
fiscal deficit targets, and industrial production and GDP have not shown any
Modi has been barely able to save his reputation of 'Mr Development'. There is
little sign of the one who vowed to bring rival nations to their knees, stare
down Pakistan, compete with China, solve the Kashmir conundrum. Diplomacy
cannot be dictated. Modi's foreign policy has been more about usual business
deals and NRI events rather than ill-advised machismo that was meant to bully
neighbours into submission. It is impossible. It is good that Modi has turned
out to be a pragmatic statesman than a rabble-rouser. But this vanishing act
may, in fact, cannot be counted as a victory for Modi or BJP.
In the troubled Kashmir Valley, the BJP is purring like a docile partner who
is unusually quiet just to ensure its alliance with the PDP lasts as long as
possible so that Hindutva could be put into practice in Muslim dominated
Modi had vowed to terminate the Congress, rid India of the ma-beta government.
For a while, it appeared the Gujarati Terminator had achieved the dream of a
Congress-free Bharat as Congress lost the parliamentary poll and subsequent
assembly polls miserably. However, one can't say Congress is dead in India.
More over BJP has the potential to revive the Congress prestige by promoting
corruption. In the Parliament, the Congress is putting up a spirited show,
blocking Bills it wants to delay, helping Modi pass the laws it wants.
Modi is still the undisputed leader of India. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has not
shown any interest to spread the AAP message outside Delhi while entire
nation's looks for Kejriwal or a leader like Kejriwal to guide them. He is
more a state leader fighting petty battles than a man cut-out for a larger
national role. While idea of Modi is no longer as compelling and powerful as
it was in 2014, he would soon become just another leader playing to his base
It is indeed unfortunate that Modi led down the people of India who trusted in
his capability for shaping their future much better. Anna Hazare would not
play the poll politics and Kejriwal is still undecided about his national
Efforts to make an unreal or false image of a leader would vanish in due
course, only genuine concerns for the people and nation can make the image and
personality of a leader grow from strength to strength. People benefit only
from such selfless leaders.