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Remember the widespread trend of pooh-poohing politicians and the entire political class of 2013? Just recalling how Anna Hazare, whose agitations have always thrived on ridicule of the political class fuelled by a scathing attack on their bad governance, and the tumultuous response to his rallies and fasts, one would be able to gauge the climate change—evidently for the better—that the country has witnessed after 2014. A significant feature of PM Narendra Modi’s governance during the last seven years is the diminishing impact of the business of repeatedly lampooning the political class and thereby harming the cause of democracy.

Pippa Norris, renowned political scientist of the Kennedy School of Government, has rightly argued that democratic responsiveness and state effectiveness have to go hand in hand for the very survival of democracy. She further says that while it is indisputable that institutions of democracy do prevent the abuse of state power, it doesn’t mean that those elected to govern will automatically have the capacity to implement effective public policies addressing social needs. Obviously, therefore, a merging of democracy and governance, particularly state capacity, is the only way to achieve developmental goals. What Modi has done is exactly that.

This year, October 7 marks the completion of two decades of Narendra Modi as head of government: 13 years initially as chief minister of Gujarat and later seven years as prime minister. There are many aspects of his governance that have brought remarkable success to him. However, one cannot overlook at least three important features of the significant value addition that Modi brings to the table. Firstly, his intent and purity of purpose; secondly, his innovative and imaginative ideas; thirdly, his untiring efforts for robust, flawless implementation.

To start with, the purity of purpose with which the PM has been leading the nation is extraordinary. True, there may be people criticising the government over certain issues, but even among them, many support Modi because of the strong and transparent sense of purpose with which he has been working. Nobody has been able to make any allegations that would put a question mark on the PM’s intent. He has come with no baggage. Remember, he had to work with the same legacy, same bureaucracy, same judicial system, same legal framework and same functional set-up, yet he has been able to motivate officials, produce results and establish that transformational politics or politics of performance can also win. His emphasis on certain themes like people’s participation, more governance with less government, enhancing the quality of life and making democracy deliver makes him stand apart.

When it comes to innovations, no previous government has worked as passionately to promote an out-of-the-box approach while dealing with knotty issues in public administration. Personally, Modi has always been very keen on finding solutions through innovations. When he was the Gujarat CM, he made the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) in Ahmedabad work successfully when it was a failure in almost all other cities in different states. He ensured this while introducing a litany of innovative reforms. His creative bent is evident through several of his first-of-its-kind initiatives. This list includes the MyGov portal, direct communication with countrymen using Mann Ki Baat, Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal, his monthly PRAGATI meetings aimed at following up on mega infra projects, his annual elaborate interactions with top police officials … The list is endless. He refuses to continue with the status quo or accept that unproductive systems are a fait accompli. Catch the bull by its horns is his signature approach to innumerable challenges that come his way. He comes up with new ideas, from People’s Padma to Pradhanmantri Sangrahalay and from Capacity Building Commission to International Solar Alliance. Without making any noises, he has quietly converted Most Backward Districts into Aspirational Districts and Viklang or physically challenged/differently abled into Divyang. These are not just changes in the nomenclature. These are examples of transforming the mindset and changing the outlook.

Resolutely undertaken measures for a flawless implementation is the third key feature of governance under PM Modi. Wait for a few more months and a new Temple of Democracy, the new Parliament House—equipped with many new tech-driven facilities—will be ready. The same can be said about the Central Vista project. A few years ago, he undertook a thorough review of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana independently and, having reviewed most educational outcomes and recommended reforms, instructed officials to have a thorough relook. What people had earlier written off as either too ambitious or almost impossible, Modi had ensured that it happened. The way he has resolutely worked on ultra-politicised issues like the nullification of Article 370 and ending the practice of triple talaq—ignored for long disregarding the constitutional mandate—is indicative of his unflinching commitment. It is not for no reason that it was during his tenure that the pace of road construction increased, efforts for better performance in Olympic and Paralympic Games gathered momentum, entrepreneurship and start-ups became buzzwords of the GenNext and the New Education Policy started taking concrete shape. Even his critics would agree that PM Modi has handled the challenging situation during Covid-19 pandemic remarkably well.

Bhagavad-Gita talks about adhisthana (confidence in/commitment to a set of eternal values/principles) and karta (the doer) as fundamentally essential ingredients when one sets off on a mission. PM Modi’s mission is Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat and a karta of his kind alone, possessing a certain adhisthana, can accomplish this great mission in the foreseeable future.

लेखक का नाम : विनय सहस्रबुद्धे

डिस्कलेमर :

यह आर्टिकल पहली बार The New Indian Express में पब्लिश हुआ था।

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Modi’s Human Touch in Work, Personal Interactions Makes Him The Successful Man He is Today : Japan K Pathak
October 20, 2021
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On October 7, Narendra Modi completed 20 years as the head of a government. For those of us in Gujarat, we have closely seen the rise of Narendra Modi and how he altered the trajectory of the state. People often ask what is the one thing that separates Modi. For me, it is the human touch, be it in work or personal interactions that has led to him scaling heights.

The 1980s were an interesting period in the politics of Gujarat. The Congress was comfortably ensconced in power, both at the Centre and in the state. Despite its lackluster governance, bitter factionalism and misplaced priorities, it was unimaginable that any other political party would come to power. Hardcore BJP supporters and workers were also uncertain.

It was in such times that Modi made a shift from RSS to a more political life in the BJP. He took up the challenge of preparing the party for the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation elections. One of his earliest steps was to integrate professionals with the BJP. The party machinery reached out to eminent doctors, lawyers, engineers and teachers to join the electoral and political process. Similarly, Modi attached great importance to talking about governance issues in addition to only politics. He was constantly thinking of innovative ways of uplifting people and transforming lives.

As a communicator, Modi was always outstanding and more than that he was motivating. I recall this one particular speech at a medium sized gathering at Nirmal Party Plot in Ahmedabad’s Dharnidhar. For the first few minutes, he made people laugh through the witty comments he was known for. He then went on to ask the crowd — shall we continue joking or shall we talk about issues of national importance? I do not know what courage I developed at that time that I shouted – Both. On hearing me say that he turned to me and said – No, we cannot do both. He then talked at length about BJP’s governance vision, Article 370, the Shah Bano Case and more. The ideological clarity left me spellbound.

Those outside Gujarat would not know that Modi’s cassettes of speeches were very popular in urban Gujarat during early 1990s. These cassettes would include parts of a speech Modi would have given in some part of the state.
One more of his moving speeches came in 1994 just after the Latur earthquake. From the RSS Karyalaya in Ahmedabad, relief material and a few volunteers were sent to Latur. Modi gave an impromptu speech. After the speech, at least 50 people said they want to leave for Latur right away and that Modi’s words have had a great impact on their mind. He dissuaded them and said it is more important relief work reaches than people going, and that they must keep working for the nation where they are.

Narendra Modi’s connect with different sections was also linked to his ability to reach out to different sections of society. The world saw his ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ in 2013-2014 but I cannot forget how Modi forged a bond with different people over cups of tea by interacting with morning walkers. During the 1990s, I met him at Ahmedabad’s famous Parimal Garden where he was addressing a group of morning walkers. I could instantly see the connect. One of the doctors who knew me told me that similar interactions with Narendra Bhai were very helpful for him to understand current affairs.

There are two anecdotes, which to me show the humane side of Narendra Modi. One of them dates back to the early 2000s. Historian Rizvan Kadri and I were documenting some of the works of KeKa Shastri, a doyen of Gujarati literature and veteran of the Sangh eco-system. We had gone to meet him and one thing that struck me was his poor health. I took a photograph and got it sent to Narendra Modi’s office. At soonest, KeKa Shastri had a nurse who would attend to him.

The other relates to author Priyakant Parikh. He had a strong desire that his 100th work be launched only by Modi but the only glitch — he is immobile and homebound due to a major accident. I remember CM Modi going to Priyakant Parikh’s house at Ashram Road and launching his book. Gujarati literature circles were spellbound that a sitting CM would go to the drawing room of an ailing author and launch his book!

Two virtues that have stood him well, which would serve every political person well are – his sharp listening skills and his love for technology. His only regret about technology — that the art of remembering phone numbers was going!

Through his political career, party disciple has been paramount for Narendra Modi. Ambition is not known to him. No wonder the BJP has never lost a single election – be it Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha or local body, when Narendra Modi was given the task of coordinating the party strategy. The only time the BJP saw electoral setback was in the year 2000 and that was when Narendra Modi was outside the state.

As journalists, we have to meet several people but Narendra Modi told me when I was a young reporter that these must not be transactional relations but bonds that last a lifetime. Sometime around Holi in 1998 I happened to be in Delhi. Narendra Modi said something I will never forget. He said, “You must have 5,000 numbers in your telephone diary and you must have met them once and that too not in a formal way. You must know them just not as a source but as an acquaintance or friend.” I have not met 5,000 people as Narendra Modi asked me to but it did make me realise the importance of a human touch that is so important. Narendra Modi has it in plenty, which is why he is so successful.

 

Author Name: Japan K Pathak

Disclaimer:

This article was first published in News 18

It is part of an endeavour to collect stories which narrate or recount people’s anecdotes/opinion/analysis on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi & his impact on lives of people.