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The fact that his detractors tried to persistently target him, despite him prevailing in trials in courts and in public opinion, was resented by his support base. That not only helped consolidate his hold over them in the state, but also started the bandwagon of similar support nationwide.

It is a fact, not just an opinion, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi straddles India’s political firmament like a colossus. This is acknowledged by all, friend and foe, expert or novice. As he begins his 20th year in public life — he took oath as Gujarat’s chief minister for the first time this week 19 years ago — his ascendance and dominance is worth understanding better.

In 1987, when he joined the BJP, he had already made a name for himself as a tireless worker, quick on the uptake, making valuable contributions, and as a charismatic and strategic thinker. Nevertheless, as is all too well known, his debut as Gujarat’s chief minister was to quickly become a trial by fire, the kind few leaders survive.

No politician in independent India has been demonised in such a relentless, Goebbelsian manner as him, and none has withstood it all with such resilience and courage. Despite years of concerted attacks on him by the then-dominant mainstream media, his popularity only grew, his grip on both politics and governance only got firmer.

That ability to go beyond the circumstances in which he found himself has been a crucially important trait since his youth. From going past traditional familial constraints to wandering, exploring, seeking, and discovering his purpose, his is a classic journey that many young idealists fantasise about, but rarely dare to attempt.

The fact that his detractors tried to persistently target him, despite him prevailing in trials in courts and in public opinion, was resented by his support base. That not only helped consolidate his hold over them in the state, but also started the bandwagon of similar support nationwide.

A lesser man might have been content with that, perhaps even planned an extension of his entrenchment as Gujarat’s undisputed leader. Instead, Modi decided to, and succeeded in, transforming his image into that of Mr Development. It did not happen overnight, and it did not happen easily. He had to work against the tide of initial opposition from many quarters, not least of all significant leaders of industry and their associations. Slowly, but surely, he built a track record of decisiveness, of laying out the red carpet for investment, of out-of-the-box solutions for age-old bottlenecks like inconsistent power supply, and all that while avoiding the taint of corruption. Even as a CM he started acquiring a global reputation as a can-do leader.

That is not to say he gave up being the champion of the broadest section of the electorate, nor on his passion for a resurgent, modern India that also took pride in its ancient heritage. He has all along spoken out against the hypocrisy of those who represented what passed for secularism and liberalism in India, but made a mockery of that with their policies of appeasement, pandering to the fears and schisms in sections of society instead of trying to unite them. It is surely one of the great ironies of modern times that the person who marshalled the political will to bring about Triple Talaq reform in India was not from among those secularists and liberals, but one who has been unceasingly vilified by them.

The fact is, this prime minister has been just as staunch a reformer on a wide range issues, taking on established shibboleths. These include not just social changes, but also stunning advances on political and economic reforms that had long been given lip service by all but had also acquired the aura of being unachievable. The latest of these is the recent farm bills that have been advocated by virtually everyone, except perhaps far-left ideologues, for decades.

Looking back to the national political scenario a dozen years ago, it was obvious to many that Modi would almost inevitably lead the nation sooner or later. Even as the government of the day got ever more deeply mired in corruption scandals, infighting and palace intrigues, it continued to be blithely oblivious to the mood of the people. When the then prime minister, a member of a minority community himself, spoke of minorities having the first right on the nation’s resources, a tipping point was reached.

In the other corner stood a long-standing chief minister, exuding charisma, personal honesty, transparency, and good governance. But also unafraid to speak bluntly, against nepotism in politics, against cosseting sections of the population in ghettos, both physical and legislative, and was confidently asserting nationalism and an Indian renaissance. Born of this confluence of circumstances and preparation were such slogans as “sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas,” and “minimum government, maximum governance.”

It is worth remembering that the long-entrenched elites he dislodged pushed back with a vehemence born from seeing their world evaporating before their eyes. They united to deny him early attempts at reform, such as on land acquisition, and, emboldened, thereafter opposed him tooth and nail on virtually every decision. They mocked those slogans and dubbed him a non-reformer.

And yet, reform he did, against all odds. The GST is arguably the single-biggest economic reform since Independence. And despite the persistent badmouthing of demonetisation by opponents, it triggered the transition to digitisation that made possible the large-scale monetary aid to hundreds of millions of Indians during this pandemic. The reset that he did with India’s response to cross-border terror attacks must also rank as immensely significant. In this time he has emerged as one of the most influential global leaders.

The second term has begun with a breathtaking shifting of gears, pushing through many long-pending, big-ticket reforms. And yet, while his opponents continue as if in a time warp, doubling down on their failed tactics, Narendra Modi keeps evolving, his best yet to come.

 

 

 

 

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Happy Birthday Mr Modi: Your friend from Goa!
September 17, 2021
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I like you Mr Modi. Your are a good person and an inspiring leader.

I like you because your intentions are driven purely for India. I saw that passion, care and love for our motherland and its people, in your eyes when we meet on August 6, 2021.

You called me your friend from Goa and that too me was such a wonderful way to describe our friendship.

I remember your laughter when I told you, about my retort to people who call me a ‘Bhakt of Modi’ – ‘I am a Bhakt, are you a Kambhakt’. It showed me your witty side.

I know you face immense criticism for the sincerity of your work; some decisions, some might not understand. But I see a plan behind your actions, that plan is not for the destruction of India but for its welfare. There are short-term objectives and then there are long-terms goals.

In our discussion for 25-minutes, I understood that you care for India, as a child cares for its mother. It is this single-minded courage of conviction that you possess that endears many committed nationalists like me to you as a person and as a leader.

It is not easy managing and governing India. It is diverse and often difficult to comprehend, especially the needs, wants and aspirations of the people of India.

I know it is impossible to be appreciated by every quarter in India but I can see most people in the country admire your efforts and dedication Towards a Better India. The people of India have a sense of hope in you and they are willing to put their trust implicitly in you.

The fact about your life that is inspiring to me is that you were a common citizen, who came from humble beginnings to work your way up the ladder of success. You were not born into aristocracy or political legacy. You have strived arduously over the years to rise up and take forward your visions and missions for Gujarat first as a state and now over the last seven-years India as a nation.

Your rise in the political space in India and globally has been phenomenal but it has not come without strife and hardships. You have surfed the tough waves of your political career with confidence and taken people that believed in you and followed you, along with you.

Life, in my simple understanding has been your greatest teacher.

It is wonderful to learn from your strategies in dealing with the different hurdles you have faced as the Chief Minister of Gujarat and now as the Prime Minister of India. I have been following your work since 2000. And it has not been an easy ride for you. Every step of the way has been a struggle but with each challenge you have emerged stronger than before and more determined. It as though, your challenges in life have moulded your career for the better. That grit you possess is infectious.

I realized in my personal meeting with you, which was huge high in my personal achievements of my life, that you are not pretentious. You are who you are and you just want to give your best to India in the best that you can give.

People look for perfection in their leaders. I do not think any leader can be perfect in his actions or decisions but he can be honest in his intentions and that’s what I found in you during our conversation. You are honest about your duty to the country and its people.

Such is the honesty you possess in your intentions for India, that dishonest people in India and nations outside of India fear you. They feared you when you were the Chief Minister of Gujarat, they fear you even more now that you are the Prime Minister of India for a second-term and I am quite confident you will be the Prime Minister for the third-term too. Our nation’s enemies know that under your leadership, India can strengthen its roots to grow into a global nation that is valued, respected and feared.

Your life’s experiences of 71-years is an interesting learning for most Indians because it is about a man from the grassroots of India who dreamed of a Better India and worked for the last several-decades to do his duty to the nation.

I am in awe of you as a politician but I have even more admiration for your humanness. You are good human being. You have a heart of care and concern for the common people.

The Congress has termed your birthday as ‘Panuati Day’ and ‘Bad Omen Day’. That is the pathetic level of their political maturity. Once tall political leaders and political parties have exposed their fall into an abysmal pit of degeneration and degradation. Such is their hate for you, because you have shafted their political arrogance with your governmental policies, some very tough decision, but most of all, they cannot get over your connect with the people of India. They don’t understand what makes people connect to you.

The answer to the question of your people connect is simple. You are one of them, you think like them, you act like them, you live like them and you dream like them. It is your simplicity and lack corruption in governance that makes people believe in you.

On your 71st birthday, I wish the very best for you and your years ahead as leader of one of the world’s most promising nation – India with our people of great ethos and culture.

Humbled that you considered me to be a your friend from Goa. I am glad to have a friend like you from whom I can learn.

You are a leader that has stirred a spirit of confidence in our people. It is a confidence that will reshape the future of India for the better.

Some people can continue to mock you for reasons known to them, I see you differently. And I am glad that our country at this point of time has you as our leader. You are not perfect but you are the best we have.

From the people of Goa, my family and myself: Happy Birthday Mr Modi!

Author Name : Savio Rodrigues

Source : Goa Chronicle