By Siddharth Prusty
Edited by Anandita Malhotra, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist
According to the Webster dictionary, a superstar is someone who is considered extremely talented, has a huge public appeal and enjoys wide recognition. Being the largest democracy in the world, Indian politicians enjoy a lot of recognition in general. But very few can be genuinely called as “superstars”. Our current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi is definitely someone who qualifies as one.
From his high-profile visit to the US to his recent cleanliness drive of ‘Swacchha Bharat Abhiyaan’, his every move is extensively covered by the news-hungry media. A billion eyes are always directed towards him, analysing his every decision. Even petty daily activities like fasting for Navratri or meeting his mother on his birthday find their way into the headlines. Given that he is the Prime Minister of India, there can be no escaping the attention. But what NaMo enjoys is not only the attention of people but a mass appeal and evident super stardom.
Even before his coming to power, he had a wider fan-following than anyone in the political scene for a long time. The pre-poll campaign wasn’t a battle between parties; it was simply Modi vs. the others. When the verdict came out, it was rightly said that the people voted for the candidate, not the party. The recent by-poll debacle of BJP in many states has again asserted the fact that BJP needs Modi more than ever before.
But why is Modi such a superstar, a “wave”, as people call it? The answer lies in the fact that the style of governance Modi brings in is quite different from what people have been exposed to so far. His very persona gives the air of a strong leader, who can take swift decisions and is not afraid to assert his authority. Whether people like it or not, he is a harbinger of change; one who can’t just sit idle and do the boring work, but who likes to take risks and dares to think outside the box. His restlessness for change is evident from his concern that the Central Government machinery is quite slow to his taste, as he himself admitted to Obama in his recent visit.
Not only his governance but his style of policy-making and bringing change is something which appeals to the people. Being a great orator, he easily connects with people and hence efficiently communicates with the ‘aam aadmi’. From the ‘Jan Dhan Yojana’ to improving public sanitation across the country, from introducing bullet trains to addressing the country’s children on the Children’s Day; all his activities or policies have been carefully planned and have had widespread social, economic and political appeal. For a man who has just assumed office, he has reached out and has had talks with his political counterparts all over the world. His gesture of inviting the SAARC leaders to his swearing-in ceremony was also a bold initiative which even his political adversaries applauded. His stance of aggressively encouraging foreign investment in India is certainly going to attract investors throughout the world and do away with the economic stalemate India has been facing for a long time. The effects have started to show; with steady economic growth and stabilising inflation rates becoming true at last. Here is a man who is hell bent upon hitting boundaries even during the first session of the first year of his five-year term; delivering political masterstrokes one after the other.
But is he really the leader India needs today? Is he the one who could provide India the impetus to grow into a ‘developed country’? Only time can answer that. But one thing can be said for certain. NaMo will definetly not be in the sidelines anytime in the near future. Every decision he has taken, small or big, good or bad; would be intensely scrutinised by the whole country. Moreover, the people of India, as unforgiving and fickle as they are; will not hesitate to hound on him even for a small loophole in his governance. But being the leader that he is, we can expect him to continue in his unique trademark way of governance regardless of whatever music he faces. It would therefore be premature to comment on whether the promised ‘acche din’ are here, but certainly interesting days are round the corner.
Siddharth Prusty is currently pursuing his B.Tech in Electrical Engineering at IIT Kanpur. He is an easygoing and fun-loving person with a deep interest in financial, economic and political activities. He has had previous working experience as a Research Intern in Ecole Normale Superiere, Paris and as a Content Developer with the start-up Avanti Fellows. He loves reading, travelling and playing chess. Reach him at [email protected]