M Raghuram says that never before in the history of Independent India has a political leader given such a resounding and mature message of unity with inclusion. This is all over the headlines in most part of the country and some abroad. With his ‘inclusiveness push’ to his new government, Prime Minister Modi has demolished the last fortress that the combined opposition held against him - that his party belonged to the rich, upper castes, influential and powerful.
PM Narendra Modi did not bring out the element of inclusiveness in the first four years in his first term (2014-19); he started it with a bang during the Kumbh Mela by washing the feet of sanitary workers in a ceremony connected to the Kumbh Mela; the washing of the feet became an instant hit internationally.
This is where it all began, and during this many musings on his tweets he had adequately indicated that the inclusiveness push was on the anvil, but the blunt opposition chose to ridicule it as an election stunt to corner votes from particular sections of the society. The opposition did not see it coming, thanks to advisors like Mani Shankar Iyer of the ‘neech’ comment fame, Sam Pitroda, Randeep Surjewala and a few others; Rahul and Sonia were thoroughly misled and they failed to understand the ‘Inclusiveness Push’.
The BJP poll machinery had also cleverly packaged it so that opposition was kept in dark. The credit for this goes to BJP elders like Ravishankar Prasad, Sambit Patra and Sudhanshu Trivedi who led BJP’s campaign on the mainline media.
Why the inclusiveness push? Did Modi really want a device to lead BJP into a second term?
“No, the BJP did not want any device to get into the second term we were sure that we would do well, we did not even plan it, the Prime Minister always had talked about bringing in more inclusive characteristics in administration, finance, empowerment and several other facets. He always talked about taking it to the last man in the country, he went on developing one module after another towards infusing inclusiveness, he vision extended to all strata of the society, tribals, minorities, oppressed classes, financially backward classes, the infirm, labour, agriculture, fisheries, industry and across the diaspora” a close associate of union home minister Amit Shah, on condition of anonymity told Karnataka Today .
Bringing in such levels of inclusiveness to such a large country of 1.25 billion people is a formidable job even for Prime Minister Narendra Modi who won the second term with a brutal majority. Firstly the management of the intraparty political forces who even in the 21st century play the 19th-century politics hinging on caste, community, religion, poverty and vote bank. However, one thing he does not have to worry about in this term (2019-2024) is the bureaucracy. With two strongmen -Amit Shah playing the home minister and Rajnath Singh the finance minister on Modi’s side, the inclusiveness push will be easier and reach the target groups. Modi’s team, however, is not yet sure of his inclusiveness push will work as effectively as they wanted in the non-BJP ruled states like West Bengal and Kerala that are extreme left-leaning. Karnataka however that has a high density of BJP MPs (25) in the current Lok Sabha may do well to take the inclusive policies and its fruits to the target groups. In states like Bihar, where friendly parties are ruling, the inclusiveness push stands a chance of being well co-ordinated.
But are the MPs charged enough to take on the challenges that may come their way of implementing the policies? “There was too much reliance on Modi’s charisma during the recent elections and in the 2014-19 term. For any political party, a single man at the helm of affairs will not augur well. Such conditions lead to autocracy, it erodes the internal democracy of the party, it is more dangerous when that happens to a party that has an overwhelming mandate in the Lok Sabha. Such a situation is staring at the BJP right now and if my understanding is right the MPs of the BJP are still reeling under the same syndrome and the inclusiveness push of Modi.
I had an opportunity of speaking to one of my MP friends and asked him if he knew how many pensioners are there in Karnataka and are they getting their pensions? The question did not get registered and the answer was a big nothing. I think inclusiveness must include livelihood protection of the old and women too, without that inclusiveness push may not mean anything” Ivan D’Souza parliamentary secretary to the Chief Minister told Karnataka Today
At the heart of Narendra Modi’s success lies his Panchamrut philosophy that drives it. This philosophy has a vision for all-round development at the core of it. Panchamrut is the integration of five different streams which drives growth. This confluence of the panchshakti (five vital powers) of Knowledge, Water, Energy, Security and Human Resources, the five fundamental powers required to achieve holistic and sustainable growth have resulted in unprecedented growth and improvement in the quality of life in the state of Gujarat during his tenure as the Chief Minister. It is the amalgamation of the mantra of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ and Panchamrut philosophy that forms the cornerstone of Narendra Modi’s model of governance. In his speech to the new parliament he had said “it is not just Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas but there is also ‘Sabka Vishwas’ we will take this country forward by taking everybody together and with their confidence. Which in a nutshell explains the spirit of inclusiveness...”
Narendra Modi’s model of development has been unique in the sense that it has not created inequalities or conflicts between contrasting requirements. While his model embraced urbanisation as an opportunity rather than a threat, it made provisions to modernise and improve lives in urban areas. Similarly, while Gujarat has focused on industrial development & investments, agriculture & farmers have been given special attention too. While private entrepreneurs big and small have thrived in the business-friendly atmosphere, the Public sector companies have achieved a turn around too. Gujarat’s GDP growth increased significantly under Narendra Modi along with significant improvement in social indicators. Technology has been given importance and at the same time people great attention has been given to skill development.
From being the ‘Neglected States of the Nation’ to ‘Look and Act East Policy’, the past five years have been transformational for North East India. The last time North East India received undivided attention from lawmakers and policymakers was when Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the first Prime Minister to spend a night in the region. His tenure was dotted with multiple initiatives that aimed to connect North East India through infrastructure and technology, including the conception of a separate ministry, a non-lapsable pool of funds for the North Eastern Region, inclusion of Sikkim as a member of North Eastern Council and a dedicated department for the development of North East region. Unfortunately, after he demitted office, the region once again suffered from the tyranny of distance. Although the UPA enjoyed a significant political presence in the region, projects suffered from delays, cost escalation, and complete policy negligence.
Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office, he once again directed his attention towards the region across various dimensions of development including economy, infrastructure, employment, industry, and culture. In a democracy, to bring path-breaking changes, interaction with lawmakers is inevitable. The Bharatiya Janata Party with committed leadership and its unique intricate network of cadres achieved political success in the region and provided the much-needed will to collaborate with the Centre and work towards taking the region forward. To put this in perspective, during his tenure, the PM himself has visited the region more than 30 times. The party fortified its political presence across the North-East, including the bastion of the Left i.e. Tripura. The NDA is in power in six out of seven North East states in the region and these states also did well for BJP in the 2019 elections which is an indicator of the inclusiveness.
It could be recalled India’s longest rail and Road Bridge, 4.94 km Bogibeel Bridge was inaugurated by the Prime Minister in 2018. It took a Modi Government at the Centre to give railway accessibility to the region. The Government ensured that 900 km broad gauge railway track was laid in the region. The 88-km Dhansiri-Kohima railway track that connected Kohima to the national railway network along with Rajdhani Express, Tripura Sundari Express, provided the long-awaited railway access to the region. But is there a difference between the development and policy initiative? When asked, former union minister M Veerappa Moily speaking Karnataka Today from Delhi said, “This is a good initiative by Modi, the country cannot be run on the basis of caste, community, religion or any other considerations, the government will have to shed all its inhibitions about taking the fruits of development and include the last man into the process of development and empowerment. Modi has included the word Vishwas to the earlier two words Sabka Saath and Sabka Vikas. It is for him to make it work, I just hope that his stock of MPs are tuned to deliver the fruits of Inclusiveness Push.” Moily said.
Modi in his first meeting with the MPs and the workers of the part at party headquarters after the win in the 2019 elections had delivered a caution to them stating that all the pro-people policies of the government were based on the intensive philanthropic advances, inclusivity was being successfully and surreptitiously being avoided by the previous non-BJP governments, but this will have to be put to an end to inclusivity will an important element in all government programmes and plans. This spirit has to be taken to the last man in the society Modi had exhorted.
In fact, Modi had taken the spirit of inclusiveness to his international meetings with the Indian diaspora. At Stockholm University (Sweden) in his last tenure as Prime Minister, Modi had said that India was going through a phase of change, “which is characterised by high developmental and empowerment phase with the participation of every Indian” Indian diaspora numbers over 20,000 in Sweden. “We want to achieve a fully inclusive India by 2022” he had asserted.
But inclusiveness push of Modi had to augur well with all classes of people, there are expressions aired not just in India but also on international platforms. Many of these expressions were also political rhetoric AIMIM chief Assaddudin Owaisi who had been the bitterest critic of Modi and his policies had queried “ Kiska Vikas Kiska Saath or Kiska Vishwas”? Owaisi thinks he speaks for the entire Muslim community. But it is also true that some groups, Muslims in particular to some extent feel that they left out of the schemes of development, If Modi has to push his inclusiveness initiatives he must put every attempt of hate campaign committed by the fringe groups. Cow vigilantes mainly. He has to address the issues that will keep his legacy of a leader of a diverse country.
Some of the administrative initiatives taken by the Modi government during 2014-19 that speaks volumes of inclusiveness. These are the few parameters that are the indicators of the inclusivity that has reached in the socio-economic milieu.
PM KISAN scheme extended to 14.5 crore farmers, that includes marginal farmers, who did not feature in the other schemes that existed before 2014
Has benefitted 95 per cent people in 2018 as against 38 per cent before 2014
Gas connection coverage:
Has reached 90 per cent households in 2018 against 55 per cent before 2014. From 1947 to 2014, 13 crore people had connections, between 2014 to 2018 12crore people have got a gas connection.
Bank accounts reach:
Every citizen has a bank account now as against coverage of 50 per cent before 2014.
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