Streak of sanity – Modiji relenting or repenting at last?

Editorial, 29 November, 2015,. In the Sstatesman

                           (Note: Heartening to see that the  Ice is melting, that Modiji is arresting his   combatitive posture, We hope it is a change  of heart and not of tactics.Rout in Bihar must have brought Modi Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 8.37.28 pmperched on the pedastal of silence silence to come down to talk to the crowd shouting at him from all quarters. Modi’s bowing to Manmohan-Sonia team and their polite gesture in return are good signs provided they are not short lived. Can he  match his  eloquence in parliament with similar ones to reign in the   Hindutva fringe element who were playing the spoil sport for the ;ast one year and made him fall flat on the floor in Bihar?  James kottoor, editor)

That the political leadership appears to have inched back from the brink is noteworthy -any applause must await evidence of that being mutually sustained. While the Prime Minister’s discarding his characteristically combative posture merits appreciation (he was downright conciliatory in Parliament) the question remains whether it pointed to a change of heart, or a mere tactical switch? Other members of his cabinet stayed confrontationist enough to suggest that the BJP was committed to its bi-polar strategy. The only difference being that while of late Narendra Modi perched himself on a pedestal of silence as his minions ran amuck, this time around he projected himself as applying the balm. Has the rout in Bihar finally “got” to him; is the widespread protest over blatant intolerance beginning to “hurt”; or has he put a little pique in his pocket only to secure cooperation for the economic reforms upon which his international image hangs? It will take more than one speech in Parliament, one invitation to Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh to clarify the situation. 

The latter’s responding to Modi’s invitation for a chat is laudable, but from elsewhere within the Congress party discordant noises continued to be made. The sad truth being that domestic politics are determined by ego rather than issues: for in reality both the NDA and the Opposition have realised that a non-functional legislature has ceased to yield political dividends. The action in the Rajya Sabha on Monday might serve as an indicator.

The elevated posture the Prime Minister opted to take ran counter to his home minister’s pitching the “Constitution” debate at a low level; Rajnath Singh spoke as if on a political platform rather than from the front row of the treasury benches. Unfortunately it will remain a mere posture until Mr Modi cracks down on the “fringe elements” that have usurped the centre-stage of his administration. Rather than unleashing storm-troopers to drown the voices of dissent, Mr Modi has to display a capacity to “listen”, not write  off every lament as Congress-dictated. As well as tell his squad that harking back to the Emergency earns them no brownie points – do they seek what the voter dished out to Indira Gandhi in 1977? Modi’s line that the Constitution is the only religion would ring true only if he lives up to the “scripture” he articulated in his first Red Fort speech – and what he said in the Lok Sabha on Friday

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