23 May 2019 – India’s Day of Reckoning

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Will 23 May 2019 be a day of reckoning for the nation? Will BJP and Mr Narendra Modi win a second term? Or will the nation see a coalition of all kinds of politicians and their parties coming together to form a government? The former will certainly be a better option for the nation since national pride, growth and development will remain on track. The latter will certainly put a damper on all the three as a coalition government would be more about sharing of power and spoils after the win. The nation and its needs will be forgotten while leaders from the twenty one parties make merry.

The second option presents a very scary scenario since nowhere during the elections has any coalition stated why the nation must vote for them. Their war cry has been limited to either ‘do not vote for BJP and Mr Modi’ or “BJP Hatao Desh Bachao’. These parties and their leaders have taken no decisions on how they intend to govern the nation if they come to power. They have left such important matters to fate and would address them only after they come to power. The question is will they be able to address them effectively if they win? With at least four confirmed aspirants for the chair of Prime Minister and others hoping for plum ministerial positions this may be a farfetched dream. It is no secret that most opposition politicians and their parties are starved of funds and power, things they had taken for granted over many decades.  They would be looking to correct this scenario in a hurry if they come to power. Nation and its people would be the last thing on their mind. By the time their appetites are satiated it will be time for next general elections.   

The only thing that binds the opposition together today is their hate for Mr Modi and in turn for BJP. The coalition government will push with all its might to crucify Mr Modi. One can expect nonstop investigations against perceived corruption and wrong doings of Mr Modi and his government. They did it when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat and it will be worse this time since the new coalition government will pull out all stops. If it requires fabricating evidence or making false cases then so be it. Congress and some of its allies have shown their mastery in this regard in the past. This vendetta will extend to RSS and other organisations perceived to be close to BJP. As far as investigative agencies, police and administrative services are concerned the less said the better. One really wonders how they can change tack overnight to comply with the wishes, genuine or otherwise, of their new political masters. Perhaps they are the weakest link in our governmental structure instead of being solid pillars that do not buckle irrespective of who resides on top.

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Economically one can expect the nation to go back many years since the coalition has neither any vision today nor is it expected to have any in the future. They would rely more on doles and freebies to ensure short term gains for themselves as opposed to sustained development for long term gains of the nation. Congress has said that if they come to power they will fill 24 Lakhs government jobs before end of current fiscal year. One wonders if anyone has done any mathematics in this regard. Assuming most of these jobs are in the Class three or lower categories and taking an average monthly salary of about Rs 40,000 per post, the annual recurring cost to government would be one lakh, fifteen thousand two hundred crore (Rs 1,15,200 crores). Has Rahul Gandhi ever wondered where this money will come from? This is just one case. Mayawati of BSP will want to give matching doles for Dalits and backward classes. Most ministers, who would be like representatives of regional parties at the centre, would fight for more funds for their parent states. Then there are promises of loan waivers and freebies by other parties too. Surely no government can hope to take the nation on a growth path with such expenses built in to appease their vote banks. So, it would not surprise anyone if Indian economy takes a nose dive.

The opposition will have to reopen dialogue with Pakistan to live up to their prophesied line of thinking. If that happens all separatists and anti-Indian terror outfits in the valley will come back in reckoning once again. There privileges and perks will be restored while they will make sure that no solution ever emerges in the troubled state. The centre will once again play to their tune and leave the problem to simmer. In the same vein it is difficult to imagine such a government standing up to China or ensuring development in North Eastern parts of the country despite threats from China. Rafael deal with France will never reach fructification and defence will once again be put on back burner, implications to the nation notwithstanding.

In the other scenario, if BJP comes to power a status quo can be expected on most fronts as government will continue with its current policies and agendas. Many rural centric schemes that have been launched will certainly be fine-tuned to ensure greater efficiency and to extend the reach. Infrastructure will continue to be a key area for development and in turn that will lead to more investment and growth. Somewhere down the line private sector investment will have to come in and that will be a game changer. It is impossible to believe that money in private sector will continue to lie idle. Tax and other compliances that have already improved will get a fresh boost which should auger well for the nation. India will continue to deal with Pakistan from a position of strength as hitherto before. China will be a tougher nation to deal with but given the track record of last four years it is obvious India’s national interests will never be compromised.

One can certainly expect some new game changing serious decisions with respect to the state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) with Article 370 being in the eye of the storm. Most opposition parties and pseudo intellectuals will cry hoarse as is their want. But what has to be understood by the nation is that it is time these anomalies were rectified and if ever there was a political will to do so it is with this BJP government. Just as Balakot surgical strikes have busted Pakistan’s nuclear bogey, it is time to do likewise with Article 370 in Kashmir. India must bring whole of J&K in national mainstream and restrict the disputed area to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) only.

Will the communal divide between Hindus and Muslims widen if BJP comes to power again? Opposition parties and many liberals opposed to BJP and Mr Modi would like the nation to believe so. Frankly this whole issue is about accepting realities and that is where Muslims, their leaders and sympathisers have been found wanting. India today is in a resurgent mode. It is up to every citizen to take a call if he or she wants to be a part of this resurgence and move ahead in life. There will always be those who, for selfish reasons, will act as fear mongers or act as road blocks to either stop or slow down this change. It is for individuals to shun them or to fall prey to their machinations. India is a democracy and therefore voice of majority will sound louder than minorities. This is an axiomatic truth that has to be understood by all. The government comes into the equation only to ensure that sound of majority does not drown the sound of minority. Mr Modi knows that he cannot achieve his vision of a strong and developed India if its minorities are not heard. Therefore, it stands to reason that BJP in its second term would certainly do better in this regard, minor aberrations from either side notwithstanding.

Five out of seven phases of national elections have been scheduled from 21 April to 20 May under the Zodiac sign of Taurus. Taureans are loyal and trustworthy with strong work ethics supported with firmness of resolve. They are trustworthy, loyal, reliable and very protective of what they love. For the sake of the nation one hopes that we get a government that fulfils all or most of these Taurean traits. But then results are due on 23 May 19 under the Gemini sign where dual personalities, weaker work ethics and playing games in relationships is a given!!

Saroj Chadha, an engineering professional, is a successful entrepreneur. Having retired from the Indian Army after having served for over 23 years, he has also been a consultant for leading Indian and Multinational electrical companies. He lives in New Delhi.

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