There used to be a time when hardcore politics, round-the-clock politics involving agitations and struggle would work. Time has changed. Whether you are in power or in opposition, what matters is whether you come to people's help – these were the remarks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He also reminded that things like ‘how much agitation you did, how many 'morchas' you took out and how many times you went to jail would matter to your political career 20 years back, but things have changed now’. The Prime Minister was addressing the parliamentarians and legislators from states at the National Legislators Conference held at the Central Hall of Parliament on Saturday. The two-day conference held with the theme ‘We For Development’ was also related to the all-round development of 115 most backward districts of the country. At the same when he drills home a negative approach to day-to-day politice, Modi is also espousing positive approach. The suggestion that the word ‘backward’ must not be used for any district but they should be identified as ‘aspirational’, is an instance. He also reworks the notion that social justice is linked to the social conditions of a society. Modi said that if there is electricity in one home or one village but not in the neighbouring home or village, then that was not social justice. The idea he presented was that social justice consists in providing access to education for all children and electricity to all families. Through this, he calculates, we can eliminate the social organization in the name of backward-forward and caste discriminations.
Modi’s ‘apolitical’ speech proves that the BJP which has been trying to change the governance into totalitarianism by playing the card of polarization politics of hardcore nationalism and boundless affinity towards one’s own nation, does not have its own independent stance and that they have no choice but to adopt the feudal and imperialistic lines of governance. Through this, he not only ridicules the paths trodden by the nation, but also turns a blind eye towards the present-day realities. The latter part of his same speech proves that he was speaking without being unaware of what he was saying. It is not the lack of resources or budget allocations that is the reason for backwardness but an inept and dysfunctional government which does not effectively implement the schemes and focus on issues. Modi says that the average age of a district magistrate is generally 27-30 years but majority of them were aged 40-45 and have only concerns such as family and career. So the Prime Minister is only being loquacious against the people instead of finding solutions to the problems in his control. The governance so far proves that Modi who has a bunch of assistants and advisors to make his speeches and stage shows a huge success, has a dearth of experts and resources in only one thing which is administration. It is this failure that invites anti-government protests across the country. It is the agitations arising against the inefficiency of the governments ruling the Centre and the states which upset the Prime Minister.
It was four days before the Prime Minister's speech that tens of thousands of farmers started their march of agitation from Nasik in Maharashtra bound for Mumbai. This long march led by CPM's farmer organization All-India Kisan Sabha received huge popular support all along its 200 kilometer route. By the time it reached the State Assembly premises for blockading it, the grand agitation was taken up by all parties except the BJP. The reason was nothing else than that even when farmers were suffering from crop losses and seeking refuge in suicides, and their number increasing, the government still was not prepared to listen to them. Their demands are: fulfill the promise given last year to write off agricultural loans; grant support price for the produce at one and a half times its cost of production; provide land to the tribals in line with the Forest Fights Act of 2006; stop granting forest land to corporates, and give compensation of Rs 40,000 to those who lost their crops, It may be recalled that the government, left with no alternative, had brought the previous strike to a compromise by giving promises, when the farmers had brought the city to a halt for two days and nights, and barricaded the residence of Minister of Tribal Development and last year spread the agitation to Vidarbha and Aurangabad. A whole region was rallying in the strike with a slogan that strikes, not suicides is the way. But the speech writers of the Prime Minister, who inserted the boast that the era of agitations is over, may not mention the protests that are gaining strength in BJP-ruled states. But the Prime Minister by himself, coming as he did via the path of strikes as a swayam sevak, should not fail to realize that there is a vast world beyond the podium. In other words, even if he pretends to be unaware of it, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra had to bow before the people's determination that life itself means strikes, as long as governance is mired in inefficiency, just as the CM's counterparts in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana had to do. Therefore, the Prime Minister himself has to decide what to blame: strikes or the government of his own and of his own men.