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Ramesh Jude Thomas

The author is president and CKO, EQUiTOR Value Advisory

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Modi Govt: Three Years Into Our Presidency

We must all agree on one thing: the last three years have been most of all, an outstanding effort at keeping the faith

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Even their most diehard cynics will not deny that as political victories go, the NDA’s triumph in 2014 May was one of the most emphatic in our short democratic history - comparable only with Indira Gandhi’s 1971 results post Bangladesh.The comparisons don’t end there. But that’s for later.

If we dwell upon these three years without over compartmentalising, there are some distinct patterns that emerge. Any reflection on the last thirty six months cannot be detached from the politics of the period. The analysis of one would make no sense without the other. And the icing on the cake has to be the social impact of that victory as well.

Enough pundits, naysayers and sycophants have dwelt all week on the various shades of performance or otherwise of this government, depending on which side you’re coming at it from. Elsewhere in this issue, you will undoubtedly see more of it. I won’t go there.

What has, however, caught my imagination over these three years has been the unique mix of administrative, political and social engineering that have gone into defining this government.

While it is very difficult to separate out fact from fiction under the current level of polarisation, there are some distinct elements of the last three years which are truly difficult to ignore.

Take administration: neither side of the political spectrum will disagree that this government (read the PM) has an enormous appetite for hard work. And that the boss leads from the front. Whatever one might think of the results of his travels and travails, that kind of a schedule is Herculean even for a 30-year-old. Fact or fiction, this perception has clearly set it apart from a predecessor which was seen as lethargic and self-serving.

Take politics: smarting from two decisive defeats in Delhi and Bihar, the NDA didn’t ever give the impression of giving up. Combative at the very least, the political establishment only pushed the leadership twice as hard to deliver UP and a host of crucial by-elections.

Uttar Pradesh was a do-and-die effort because of a variety of reasons. Its size, its Parliamentary implications and not least of all, the party’s (read the PM’s) appetite for the big fight. As a result, now NDA’s retention of power in 2019 has become a real possibility, even among the Opposition, leave alone the faithful amongst the lay public.

Take the social: this is the trickiest of the lot. But probably the most well managed. How do you retain the loyalty of the 28 per cent core loyalists, while not seeming biased to a nation. This is the most difficult fine balancing act in any political environment. Look at the management of the triple T. The loyalists are sated, the liberals have to admit to the social justice being attempted, and the community itself  is in two minds. Masterstroke. Ditto for demonetisation. Brilliant.

The genius of any positioning is how sharply defined it is in contrast. An Airbnb looks outstanding against the backdrop of the hotel industry’s structured scarcity. UBER shone brightly in the face of incumbent attitude. Likewise this government has brilliantly kept alive the impotent and lethargic final years of the UPA.

The finality of any dinner table argument will always be how difficult it is to change the sins of seven decades of misrule. How we need to be patient with a well-intended government that is making every effort in the face of a broken economy.

Whichever side of the argument you are on, we must all agree on one thing: the last three years have been most of all, an outstanding effort at keeping the faith.

Achhe din ayenge zaroor ayenge. Dekte rahiye!

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