Also: Gujarat’s foreign policy gaffes exposed
New Delhi: The continued sluggishness in the Indian economy is an ‘inalienable proof’ for the fact that Narendra Modi’s influence is confined to Gujarat alone, and it is clear that his much-touted administrative acumen has had no real impact outside of the State, according to an international affairs expert specialising in the internal matter of Gujarat
‘It is quite obvious that Modi has not been able to replicate in the rest of the country whatever that has been touted to be achieved by him in Gujarat,’ Talil Tirumala has written in Policy is Foreign, a widely respected publication among those writing for it. (For the record, nobody else other than those working for it has heard about it).
‘If Modi’s administrative acumen are as impressive as his legion of clamorous cheerleaders claim it to be, then it begs the obvious question why is it effective just in the small state of Gujarat, lying like a tiny speck in the western margin of the vast country, alone,’ Talil wrote rather trenchantly and added ‘isn’t it an inalienable proof to the hard reality that vast and very vast swathes of the country lie beyond the pale of the magic of this minatory messiah?’
‘It is understandable that his supporters, who happen to not just in Gujarat, think that he can do well as the Prime Minister of the country. But it is an opinion. And anyone can have it. But statistics are different. They can be had and shared only those with a high-end computer,’ Tirumala pointed out. ‘To say that India is not Gujarat is an opinion, and I will not peddle that. But I can establish the same thing with a load of statistics that nowhere in the country people have jalebis for breakfast’.
‘In the last 9 odd years, while Gujarat’s economic performance has improved considerably India’s has slipped sharply. In the face of such an overwhelming statistic, it is impossible not to arrive at the conclusion that the presence of Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister has worked wonders for Gujarat, and Modi, even as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, has failed to inspire the rest of the country’.
‘It will be disingenuous, and also self-defeating, to argue that Modi cannot be held responsible for the economic ills that the country is facing now. The moral question facing us is: How can anyone even aspire to become the Prime Minister of the country if he or she is not ready to take any kind of moral responsibility?’ Tirumala wondered. ‘If he can be so irresponsible when he is not in power, it shudders my imagination how things will get worse if he actually makes it there’.
Anyway, India’s economic performance alone is not ranged against Modi. Experts argue that Modi is bound to trip badly on foreign policy issues. ‘As the Chief Minister of Gujarat, one of the chief failings of Modi is to totally ignore external affairs issues,’ according to Ranganathan Street Journal, the international business newspaper.
In an editorial, titled ‘Internalise the External’, the journal opined ‘it beats conventional wisdom as to how Modi, whose bandwagon hopes to zip from Gujarat to the national capital, has remained strangely stoical on foreign policy issues. It cannot be mere coincidence that India’s deteriorating relationship with Pakistan has run parallel to Gujarat’s studied nonchalance on external affairs matters.’
‘Gujarat should not forget that it cannot but be a microcosm of India. If New Delhi can talk tough with Islamabad, what is that prevents Ahemdabad from taking a similar line?’ the Journal asked.
‘The impression that Modi has become tame and slightly pusillanimous when he is pretty much within touching distance of a big goal (the Prime Minister’s chair) is inescapable. It is a failing that, alas, he may be accused of sharing with the other big modern icon of India, Sachin Tendulkar.’
The Journal also noted that Modi’s silence on Pakistan’s transgressions on the LoC reverberates ironically in a scenario when the chambers are echoing to the loud roar of Manmohan Singh, who has told in no uncertain terms that business cannot be as usual with Pakistan. ‘Manmohan’s is verily a clarion call to smugglers and underground operators, the unusual business operators, to pick up the gauntlet in the circumstances that the two neighbouring countries find themselves in now’.
Meanwhile, responding to Tirumala’s column in Policy is Foreign, Modi’s supporters, in a joint letter to its Editor, said they welcomed such articles that encourage diverse opinions. ‘We are never against opinions. We may be against people, though. We look forward to reading such thought-provoking pieces in the future, too. We also request you to publish our letter unfailingly in your next issue for the coming quarter, dated April 1’.
(Disclaimer: The battle between ‘paid media crooks’ and the ‘Modi-roadies pack’ is always equal. Because they are the same, anagrammatically speaking)