No wonder, Modi is judged by his critics based on half-facts and cliches instead of a deeper dive, which would bring out the actual reason why Modi has become what he is today.
No wonder, Modi is judged by his critics based on half-facts and cliches instead of a deeper dive, which would bring out the actual reason why Modi has become what he is today. The Modi phenomenon is a combination of various factors, each of which makes an important contribution to his persona and style of working.
First and foremost is direct contact with people. There are very few leaders with such extensive mass contact. The Modi way of solving problems is not to sit back in an air-conditioned room, closeted with officers but to take the bull by the horn, be among people and find solutions that are practical. Those who worked with Modi in Gujarat recall how he attained success in solving a major problem the state was facing when he took over as CM — that of girl child education.
He made his entire team from ministers, MLAs and senior officials visit the villages of Gujarat to mobilise parents to educate their girl child. In the gruelling summer months, the entire state machinery was among people, in the remotest areas, explaining the benefits of educating women. This movement, called Kanya Kelavani had two positive impacts — enrolment increased and dropouts reduced.
During the peak of the 2014 poll campaign, Modi critics pointed to the below-par social indicators in Gujarat, including girl-child education numbers. But none of that cut ice with the voters because they saw Modi working hard on the ground, initiating a credible mass movement. Before assuming chief ministership, Modi had spent a night in almost all districts of India. After becoming the CM, he had toured all districts of Gujarat and during his first term as PM, he had been among people of all states and UTs, something no Prime Minister has done previously.
During the pre-Covid times, PM Modi always had some or the other public programme across India on Friday and Saturday. When Parliament session is on, he is among the earliest to reach and last to leave. MPs cutting across party lines drop in, bring delegations from their constituencies and school children. PM Modi meets them all, happily obliging for an occasional selfie, too. The second factor is Modi’s quick response. The speed with which he reacts to situations, particularly unplanned emergencies, is worth learning from.
Recently, parts of West Bengal and Odisha were ravaged by rain and floods. The Covid threat was obviously looming large but the PM said it is essential to visit the two states and consult with the chief ministers on rehabilitation works. PM Modi’s hard work can be seen in the area of politics too. Old timers of Gujarat BJP and Congress would often joke with him — ‘You have ruined everything; earlier, we never had to work this hard to win. A rally here, another one there, name in the newspapers and we were home’. Modi, on the other hand, would work at the block level, engaging with as broad a spectrum as possible.
Delusional Modi critics have always attributed Modi’s electoral success to Hindu versus Muslim politics. But that is not his style. His speech analysis would show that he has the most positive discourse compared to his opponents, who only spew venom against him. During the 2017 UP polls, political pundits made it seem like the entire election was about ‘Shamshan versus Kabristan’ when the truth is Modi uttered that merely once. Political commentators argued that he was communalising the election due to an underwhelming performance in the initial phases, covering western UP. When the results came, it was clear that the BJP sweep in those regions was overwhelming.
The same happens regarding the Ram Temple. There is disproportionate space given to the Ram Mandir and the BJP’s politics. The Mandir does find a place of pride in the BJP manifesto but there are several other points as well. None of these self-proclaimed intellectuals have even bothered to look at that!
People who have worked closely with Modi describe him as a powerhouse of ideas. On one day it could be about making a government initiative more effective.
On the second day it could be about how to make the BJP organisation stronger. His desire to do more in less time makes it difficult for both colleagues and opponents to keep pace with him. There is always a premium on hard work — it keeps one grounded, endears the person to others and brings sincerity. By being hard-working himself, Modi has been able to have a positive impact on millions of others, who will remain eternally grateful to him for everything he has done for them.