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Let’s Hope Narendra Modi Can Fulfill The Aspirations Of Millions Of Indians

By Dr. Bikkar Singh Lalli PhD

What a historic win by Narendra Damodardas Modi!  India voted in what was the largest-ever act of collective franchise by any country in history.  In this election, an extra 130 million voters entered the electoral rolls  A huge majority won by BJP, which will usher a new era in India, stunned the world and even the BJP supporters. BJP garnered 282 of the 543 seats in the lower house of Parliament. It is the largest mandate ever to be won by a party other than the Indian National Congress, allowing the B.J.P. to form a government without wooing any postelection allies. The outcome of 2014 election, has ended the 25-year-long era of unstable coalition politics. By giving the BJP an absolute majority  the Indian electorate has voted for hope and trust. Let us hope that the CEO, of the Republic, whose slogan was  “ sabka saath, sabka vikas“, succeeds in fulfilling the aspiration of the 815 million electorate. A new hope has arisen in the common man. This is the biggest significance of this election results.

The swearing-in was held in the open air to accommodate the larger crowd.  Narendra Modi, the son of a provincial tea-seller, was sworn in on May 26 as India’s 15th prime minister. He introduced a  council of only 45 ministers compared with 71 under the previous government.  There was a large contingent of Hindu holy men present, and at one point, voices in the audience could be heard calling out “Jai Shri Ram,” or “Victory to the Lord Ram,” a trademark shout of the right-wing Hindu movement that gave Mr. Modi his political start. Mr. Modi’s foreign policy debut — his invitation to South Asian leaders for his swearing-in — has demonstrated that he has a flair for glittering theatrical gesture

“People have voted for hope and faith and I will do everything to fulfill their aspirations. In this election, we stressed on two things — sabka saath, sabka vikas“, said the new “Ruler” of  India. A new under-30 generation, which  see in him as their collective hope for the future, is seeking jobs, equal opportunity, freedom from corruption and it is also seeking and demanding good governance untrammelled by excessive and largely self-serving ideology. “Narendra Modi has helped catalyse that change and it would be churlish not to congratulate him on his historic electoral victory”. Now the Academics, who were deeply concerned at “the implications of a Narendra Modi-led BJP government for democracy, pluralism and human rights” in India and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, who said-“Minorities have reason to fear Modi” , should  show magnanimity by giving their blessings to the new prime minister

It must be pointed out that only 31 per cent of the Indian electorate saw Mr. Modi as the nation’s  guardian, and 69 per cent of the voters did not see him as their  saviour/rakhvala. The slogan that gave the BJP its decisive edge was ‘achhe din aane wale hain’, which was about the future, not the past. Indeed, by trying to make secularism and the so-called ‘idea of India’ the theme song of the election, it was Modi’s ‘secular’ opponent, whom he called a “Shazada”, who tried to inject identity politics into the arena. “In the coming days I have no doubt that devotees of the dynasty will continue to write long, passionate pieces about the end of India and the death of Nehruvian socialism, but for the vast majority of Indians, who do not understand English, their words are meaningless”, (Tavleen Singh).

The new  Cabinet at its very first meeting, announced that a SIT headed by Justice Shah will be constituted to unearth black money. According to Transparency International, India is 94th among  177 countries, as far as corruption index is concerned. The study estimating the extent of global private financial wealth held in offshore accounts, excluding non-financial assets such as real estate, gold, yachts and racehorses  puts the sum at between $21 trillion and $32 trillion. The black economy is now over 50% of India’s GDP and if brought into the white economy or checked, it would lead to a rise in the tax-GDP ratio by about 20 per cent  India has one of the highest number of billionaires and the largest number of extremely poor in the world. It is ironic that criminality has no meaning for Mr. Modi. Thirty percent of ministers in the Narendra Modi’s  government have declared criminal cases against themselves and 18 percent have declared;  “serious criminal cases”, according to an analysis, of their election affidavits, done by National Election Watch (NEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR;  91 percent of the new ministers  are “crorepatis”

Mr. Modi must govern like a seasoned statesman keeping equality, fairness , equal opportunity for all, as the main mantra of his governance. He is facing some daunting problems which include inflation-and high unemployment. Poverty in India is widespread, with the nation estimated to have a third of the world’s poor. India has an estimated 300,000 child beggars; every year 44,000 children fall into the clutches of the beggar mafia. There are 50,000 homeless children in the streets of Delhi alone. India has the highest number of newborn deaths in the world — nearly 780,000 babies under 28 days old die every year, with many deaths happening within 24 hours of birth, according to a series on newborn survival  published in “The Lancet” Experts have long known that India’s air is among the worst in the world. Delhi’s air quality worse than one of world’s most polluted cities. Then, there is a question of illiteracy- India has by far the largest population of illiterate adults at 287 million, amounting to 37 per cent of the global total, a United Nations report said highlighting the huge disparities existing in education levels of the country’s rich and poor. India is sadly the home to the largest number of child labourers in the world- highest among schedules tribes, Muslims, schedule castes and OBC children.

One of the main messages of Mr. Modi to the electorate was “development”. He Should know that, for development  a country needs outstanding research  institutes. India has  about 400 hundred universities  compared with over 25 hundred in China. India’s GER of17% is much below the world average of 27%, as well as that of other emerging countries such as China (26%) and Brazil (36). India must invest heavily in productive and marketable graduates with higher degrees in order to be creative and productive. So invest-invest heavily in education.

It is absolutely imperative that Mr.Modi, wins the trust of the minorities. All religious minorities in India, not just the Muslim, bear scars in their psyche even as Hindus and Sikhs displaced from West Punjab, and Kashmiri Pandits do. In the 16th Lok Sabha there are only 22 Muslims, their lowest representation in the last 50 years when they constitute 13 per cent of the Indian population. In terms of parties, never in the past had the winner of general elections in India counted zero “Appeasement of none, justice for all,” is not a reassuring slogan for Muslims, who justifiably  feel frustrated, marginalized when  they find themselves excluded from decision-participation. It was unfortunate that UPA did not  ensure effective implementation of the various recommendations that emerged from the Sachar Committee and the Srikrishna Commission. The post-Sachar evaluation committee report led by Amitabh Kundu, which was only submitted to the government of India recently, highlighted the lack of progress in almost all areas of deprivation of Muslims in India.

This election has been about renewal, change and hope in the deepest sense of those words Mr. Modi had made it clear that he will pursue development, and bring the change the people want. Let us wish and hope that Modi Sarkarwill abide by the constitutional obligations of good governance and help build a just and democratic world order under the rule of law, distances itself from religiosity and  considers “Jai Hind” more appropriate a slogan  than “Jai Bharat Mata”. (Dr.Bikkar  Lalli- member of UBC senate).

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