An unprecedented second wave of Covid-19 has only recently begun receding. It has left pain and catastrophe behind. Our natural instinct, of course, is to hold those in power accountable. In these times, that power is Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Many are angry with his governance. In retrospect, indeed, many things could have been handled in a better way. However, let me walk you through a modest imagination of what India would have looked like in the absence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Let’s begin.
So many things have happened in the past few months. From successfully controlling the first wave of coronavirus to a disastrous second wave, from almost winning West Bengal to post-poll violence in Bengal after TMC’s thumping win, from being Israel’s BFF to appeasing Palestine.
Twitter is labelling anti-Congress news as fake, influencers world over are referring to the B.1.617 strain of Coronavirus as the Indian variant, a shameful coverage of India’s Covid deaths in western media is being seen. Oxygen shortage, medicine shortage and ventilator shortage have frustrated the ordinary Indians. Add to that, there are faint chances of a big economic bounce-back anytime soon.
It is natural for anyone to blame their state head in times of such crises. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is our state head and hence, it is alright to criticise him. However, is PM Modi responsible for everything? Let me present an alternate history of the last seven years.
Years 2014 – 2019
Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party looks poised to win the general elections. Congress looks weak. But result day is full of surprises. BJP registers a healthy lead over the Congress party, but things start changing after 11 AM. The day ends as a shocker for the BJP as it ends up as the single largest party but a whopping 40 seats short of a simple majority. Congress stitches a ragtag alliance of regional parties. Mamata emerges as the kingmaker.
Manmohan is given a graceful retirement and Rahul Gandhi becomes the fourth person in the Gandhi-Nehru clan to become the Prime Minister of India. Rahul Gandhi is not a clown anymore as the national media rallies behind their new king. Unknown virtues of Rahul Gandhi now dominate Twitter timelines. His gaffes are deleted and leading economists extol his skills day and night. The economy slips inevitably.
Aadhaar remains a non-standardised ID card and loses its relevance eventually. In the absence of an Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, companies keep defrauding shareholders. In the absence of a fugitive law, more millionaire fugitives keep running away from India. Lutyens media blacks everything out.
People are paying a hundred different taxes in the absence of a standard GST. Socialist policies like the Food Security bill have been enforced even as the middle-class cries in agony. Moody’s downgrades India, S&P says the India story is over. IMF does not seem to be interested.
Minority appeasement hits a new high. Communal violence Bill is passed and Hindus are at the mercy of minority communities. Farm loan waivers and minority subsidies increase. Religious violence engulfs North India as conversion continues unabated in Southern and North-Eastern India.
Congress has realised how powerful BJP’s social media supporters are. Government agencies begin audits against Right-Wing Media. Prominent social media influencers are arrested on flimsy grounds as western liberal media hails the minority friendly Indian government’s actions.
Pakistan attacks Indian soldiers in Uri. Rahul Gandhi’s pusillanimous government forgives the terror state. A standoff between Indian and Chinese forces ensues in Doklam, which ends up in India ceding some ground to the Chinese. A terror attack rocks India as over 40 CRPF jawans are killed in broad daylight in Kashmir. Rahul Government hands over dossiers to the Pakistani government which the latter laughs off at.
In the absence of a strong people’s movement, Ram Mandir remains a far cry. Terror activities in Kashmir increase as the Hurriyat amasses more power.
Years 2019 – 2021, and beyond
Come 2019, an unholy alliance of political zombies led by Congress easily crushes a dispirited BJP whose social media support has been crushed and the party has disintegrated internally after Narendra Modi’s retirement from politics.
In 2020, a deadly pandemic engulfs the world. An economically weak India is under pressure to enforce lockdowns. But Rahul Gandhi does not enforce any lockdowns as the country is short on reserves. In a week, a million Indians are dead and over five million are battling for their lives. There have been no new AIIMS or private hospitals built in the last six years and India is now at the mercy of the West. India finally announces a lockdown but community transmission has already begun. There is no stopping the virus now. China uses the opportunity to flood Indian markets with cheap masks, PPE kits and faulty vaccines.
Post pandemic, India is a third of what it used to be. It is a hopeless country. Every family has a couple of dead members. A once booming economy is devastated and there seems to be no road ahead. Chaos descends over India, and a full-fledged civil war breaks out. What finally becomes of this story is beyond my imagination.
So yes, it is natural for every Indian to blame Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But one must not forget how many fronts he is fighting on. He is the best we ever had and for a long time, there will not be any substitute for him.