The first time I travelled back to my state Karnataka after joining the council of ministers was for a Jan Ashirwad Yatra. Over four days, this Yatra took me through six districts and allowed me to meet hundreds of citizens, social leaders, and karyakartas.
Through the entire journey, there was a singular response from those who came out to bless me and wish me — the trust, faith and pride that people felt in their PM and leader Narendra Modi. From a farmer in Shivamogga thanking me for the government’s support to transform his life; to a housewife beneficiary of Ujwala in Sirsi; to revered Swamijis in the different Mutts I visited for blessings; to the health warriors and Karyakartas I visited to thank for their service —they all saw themselves as participants in PM Narendra Modiji’s vision of a new India. The outpouring of affection, support and blessings to me was because I was also in Narendra Modi’s team, just as each of them were.
September 17 is Prime Minister Modi’s birthday. It is also Vishwakarma day. His 13 years as the chief minister of Gujarat and seven years as prime minister has set new standards in government leadership, hard work and policymaking and raised the bar significantly for all those in public life and public service.
He has dismantled myths of permanent political dynasties, corruption, and status quoism about our democracy and about many issues including terror response that have prevailed since 1947 when we became an Independent country.
He has also reset the confidence, ambitions and aspirations of every Indian. These achievements are particularly significant today and now, as we celebrate the 75th year of Independence and set our sights on the future of India.
On May 30, 2019, he had won a tremendous, unprecedented mandate, the most decisive one by any leader in recent history, an absolute majority for a leader and political party after almost three decades. This popular vote after 61crore peoples cast their vote, was a vindication of his first five years. This victory was despite being targeted almost continuously with a vicious campaign of lies and calumny by a coalition of vested interests.
His political and governance philosophy has remained consistent — around an equal opportunity to all. Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas.
Narendra Modi delivered in these seven years as prime minister what most governments weren’t able to do for decades. In areas ranging from cleaning up the financial sector, expanding economic opportunities to all, national security, record high investments, technology, Article 370, new state of Ladakh, Citizens Amendment Act, amicable resolution of Ram Mandir etc. There’s much for all of us to be grateful for.
But it is his leadership, foresight and untiring hard work during this last 18 months of the Covid pandemic that we are truly grateful for.
He rallied every citizen to make it the country’s collective resolve to fight and overcome the virus — leading all 1.4 billion Indians through this difficult lockdown period with calm.
When the Covid pandemic hit us, we had little or no capacity in PPE manufacturing, limited hospital and ICU beds, patchy healthcare capacity in states, limitations in pharma, vaccine, equipment and healthcare staff. As if these real challenges weren’t daunting enough, PM Modi also had to deal with terrible behaviour of China at our Northern borders and continuing terror by Pakistan and of course some of India’s politicians who seemed to see Covid-19 as a political opportunity rather than a time to serve and inept and/or irresponsible CMs in some states.
But through it all, he led us undaunted.
India’s resilience and response during this pandemic was also possible due to many far-sighted decisions of Narendra Modi in his first term. The poor and vulnerable who were the most impacted by the shock were provided quick financial relief through the Jan Dhan Yojana (JDY) scheme bank accounts. JDY, PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, PDS and PM Kisan have ensured that rural, farmers and poor are backstopped financially by the government directly without any leakages.
Digital India helped crores of people to connect to information and for businesses to continue to remotely work. Schemes like Ujala for cooking cylinders, Jan Aushadhi Yojana and PM Ayushman all came in as great support to the common people during this pandemic. PM Modi's leadership has ensured India could handle the shocks and keep deaths to much lower than most other even more developed nations. On September 13 India crossed 75 crore vaccinations.
The world is seeing deep tectonic changes post Covid. India too is emerging more resilient, confident and ambitious about its future - led by PM Narendra Modi's vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat and his strong belief that India’s time has come. As he said on August 15th this year, Yehi Samai hai, Yehi Samai hai. This is our time. This is our time.
The best way to celebrate PM Modi’s birthday is for all Indians to believe in and work to his dream of a strong, prosperous India for all. Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, SABKA PRAYAS. On this day, I wish him many years of good health and service to our motherland.
Author Name : Rajeev Chandrasekar
This article was first published in The Economic Times.
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.