Modi wave in India is all fluff

The amount of hype Modi has received as BJP’s PM candidate, his first rally should have been high on the party’s electoral agenda, instead was all fluff.

The amount of hype the Modi wave has received over the past few months lead me to understand that his first rally in the capital city since he’s been named BJP’s PM candidate would be rather significant and high on the party’s electoral agenda. What I heard instead was all fluff and no substance. Typically, Modi spent most of his time criticising the Congress government and far less on what makes him and his party better alternatives. If the logic that he’s a firm nationalist and does not come from political royalty makes sense to you, then by all means vote for him, but I found his speech to be devoid of anything concrete or specifically positive and not to mention severely problematic.

I can agree with his comments regarding the governments within the government at the centre, however, implying that his own rule is anything but tyrannical is stretching it a bit far. “Delhi is burdened by governments. Here, there are governments within governments – one of the mother, one of the son,” he said at the rally. He also projected himself as a peoples’ ruler, one who wouldn’t ‘rule’ but ‘serve’. Looking at his government in Gujarat it is quite apparent that there is a clear disregard for the rule of law and all authority seems to be invested in one person — Modi. Fissures within the Congress and within the UPA coalition are significant problems but none as troubling as a country’s future in the hands of a megalomaniac.

Similarly, in cleverly defending Dr. Manmohan Singh against Rahul Gandhi’s very public snub, he appeared to be projecting himself as the bigger man — “The PM has no respect within his party, how will he have respect in the world? His own party calls him ‘nonsense’; Congress ke vice president ne PM ki pagdi uchal di hai.”  Only that just a few minutes later he made the prime minister the subject of some pretty nasty insults and jibes. “Humaare pradhanmantri Sardar hain, par asardaar nahi. I hope he’ll be able to converse with Nawaz Sharif since we know how he’s not used to talking much.”

In defending and snubbing the PM simultaneously, he appeared less bitchy than he was actually being. Referring to Nawaz Sharif’s alleged derogatory comments about the PM, Modi suddenly turned ultra nationalist —“How dare Nawaz Sharif call India’s Prime Minister a dehaati aurat village woman? India is a country of 1.2 billion people, we will never tolerate this. Where does Nawaz Sharif get such audacity?” he said. So it’s okay for you to abuse the prime minister but when a foreigner does the same, that’s not cool. Modi’s lessons in patriotism 101. 

I also found Modi’s speech to be rather chauvinist at several points. On the Delhi rape incident, he criticised Sheila Dixit’s comments and I was quite intrigued, wondering why he had brought it up. “The CM said, being a mother I advise girls to return home before it gets dark. Is she not responsible? Does she not have duties towards this? Delhi Chief Ministers are not accountable for what they do neither are they responsible,” he argued. What he found problematic here was not Dixit’s patriarchal response, but an administrative and leadership failure. Likewise, I failed to understand what was so infuriating about being called a dehaati aurat? It’s quite disturbing that someone who wants to be the next PM of a country that is still largely rural shares the mainstream notion of reading the phrase dehaati aurat as a pejorative one.

Much has been said of Modi’s charisma and I know several people who are going to vote for him solely because they believe in his skills as a leader, his aura of authority and his supposed ‘vision’. This recent speech made it quite clear that this impression of charisma and magnetism that surrounds him is nothing but good PR and his so called vision is simply put, quite hollow.

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