PM Modi’s success owes to his striking a chord with people, not because there isn’t anyone to challenge him

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I have been in for the past five months, writing extensively — a book on COVID is on the way — working on interesting film projects, spending quality time with myself and sometimes with my mother (Kirronji being in Chandigarh). I have also been reflecting on various subjects. That I am passionate and outspoken about matters pertaining to my country is well-known. Among the many topics, the one that has caught my eye is the repeated political success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Is it destiny? Or hard work? Is it about facing an easy opposition? My thoughts and research took me to the different arguments, which I will touch upon before sharing my views.

Modi’s critics — they like to call themselves Modi haters as well — have been consistent on one thing. They have spun tales about him, used all sorts of adjectives to describe him.

On October 7, 2001, when Modi first took over as Gujarat CM, the dominant view was: One year and he will be history. That was soon proved wrong. Through his tenure as CM, Modi was portrayed as a regional leader — satrap at best — who had no takers outside his home state. In the winter of 2013 and spring of 2014, the project “Modi is unelectable” reached its climax. The subsequent summer obviously proved them horribly wrong. The years after 2014 were spent convincing themselves and each other that Modi is a one-term phenomenon. Had any government voted to office with such a large mandate returned again, they asked.

On May 23, 2018, an oath-taking ceremony in Bengaluru became the cynosure of many eyes. Standing on one platform were the all ends of India’s political spectrum, hand in hand, together in letter and spirit. This grand alliance would ensure the end of Modi, they avowed. Exactly a year later, on May 23, 2019, Narendra Modi returned to office with even more seats. (On a side note, the government in Karnataka did not last long, tumbling due to the weight of its contradictions a few months later.)

Since May 2019, the naysayers, cynics and so-called Modi haters have taken to another delusionary tablet — the TINA medicine. “Modi wins because there is no alternative”, “Modi’s best friends are the Opposition today”, “Only Modi can bring Modi down,” they now argue.

Unfortunately, the more Narendra Modi grows, the more delusional his critics become. Democracy can never have one pole. There will always be two or more poles, however minuscule the non-dominant one may be. The fact that the voting machine has a list of multiple candidates, represented by multiple symbols, shows that democracy is never short of alternatives.

Modi bashers have toyed with dozens of alternatives. Everyone has been kosher including extreme leftists, jihadists, failed dynasts, anarchists, separatists, even those who had earlier worked with Modi in the RSS and BJP. In 2013 and 2018, “alternatives” were seen even in Modi’s own party. Therefore, if any Modi basher is telling you, Modi succeeds because there is no alternative to Modi, they are obviously lying and being delusional.

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