Is Narendra Modi a hero or the proverbial bogyman, is he the savior or the tyrant, is he the real deal or just “hype”. These are the many questions everyone is asking about Narendra Damodardas Modi or just Namo, the four most popular words in India right now. Maybe he should even consider having it copyright. Is it possible for one man to become the number one contender for the most powerful office in India purely on hype? Well, there may be few at state level, but certainly not one for the office of Prime Minster. There has got to be more to this man.
The political maneuverings one has to do just to get the ticket to contest election from their own respective party is hard, never mind building a clear consensus and also be anointed as the BJP party prime ministerial candidate. That has got to be some undertaking, a herculean task in Indian politics. Now, was there hype? Yes-because behind every successful politician there has to be some hype, some myth and some magic, and sans it, it is just not possible to reach the finish line. The history has witnessed this for long. But let us also not forget, he has been elected three times as Chief Minister (CM) of the state of Gujarat which is a record and all cannot be just hype. The GDP of Gujarat has been sturdy at ten percent; the infant mortality rate has decreased. Infrastructure has been improved and foreign investment is at an all time high and multinationals want to set up factories there. So some work must have gotten done in Gujarat. And if he wants to showcase it, we cannot fault him. So what is the hype everyone keeps talking about? Is not true with over twelve years of executive experience he can say that he is the right candidate for PM Job? Is it wrong for him to use this serious political capital which he has also successfully managed to cash?
There are some politicians who have also achieved the same feat of getting elected multiple times as CM just like Modi in other states but could never replicate it to make themselves as a viable prime ministerial candidate. Do they not know how to use hype? Shelia Dixit was CM of Delhi three times, played host to a successful commonwealth games. The Delhi metro expanded under her administration. Now she is politically redundant. Others like Mayawati a two time CM of India’s most populace state of Utter Pradesh which has always been the state which used to and still decides who will be future prime minister. However she failed to capitalize and could not move past local politics and did not know how to use the hype which she so successfully generated. The examples do not end here, there are plenty other in the bandwagon, but all of them did not have the courage to move their hype beyond state politics for the fear of being caught and decided to remain in their own serfdoms. Modi not only managed to sell his Gujarat idea over the borders of Gujarat he also successfully moved his hype beyond the borders of Gujarat. And hype travels faster than message.
Sheila Dixit won her first two elections with sharp political tactics and the third victory was due to hype. She could have won the fourth term which is debatable, but the APP managed to highlight her failures, her apathy towards the people but never attacked her personally which automatically neutralized her hype. Delhi was lost by both the BJP and the Congress to APP by attacking Arvind Kejeriwal the person not the politician which helped build his hype, but the congress did not learn from its failure, BJP did.
Now politicians like to create hype for themselves which is a known fact, but it is always highlighted by the opposition. And the congress party fell right into Modi’s trap. If Modi is comfortably placed on top, a lot of credit has to go to his opposition. If he started his hype they increased it for him. Instead of attacking him for many shortcomings of his leadership in Gujarat and the administrative debacles, they attacked him on personal level, called him all sorts of name which is not necessary to mention.
The Congress party and other so called secular parties would attack Modi on real issues but it all got lost under the noise of personal attacks and the hype grows more. So many issues could have been highlighted with regards to Gujarat’s so called development, but Modi managed to easily slip it under the carpet. Issues like farmer suicide, funds not being used for its earmarked purpose, poverty rate, misuse of state security apparatus and the rampant and unchecked bullying by rightwing Hindu Nationalist groups often ignored by officials. So many issues to highlight, so many issues to turn the focus of the voters, which could have changed the outcome of these elections, but it never, happened.
No one has asked Modi about the corruption in Karnataka, a state not long ago ruled by BJP. Stories of corruption reviled even the congress party-the cradle of corruption in India. The Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa had to resign and one can write a book about the Bellary brother’s shenanigans. Millions of Rupees lost to the exchequer and not to mention the damage caused to the environment. Bellary district can be called a federally designated disaster area. Has Modi spoken a word against them? Has this been highlighted? The answer is no, these questions which should have been asked to him, but it just got lost in the hype.
There is an old saying in Hindi which can be used here to elaborate about the term “Hype”. The elephant uses a set of teeth for eating which you cannot see and a set of teeth for showing, which we can all see and admire. Narender Modi has done exactly that, he has managed to show us what he wants, but by using clever tactics has also managed to sidestep a few critical issues which he does not want us to see. The problem is we want see what we can and not what we should and Modi should not be blamed for that because he is first and foremost a politician. If he is using hype to win he cannot be blamed.
Narendra Modi is real and he is here to stay. Like him or hate him, he has managed to capture the imagination and the aspiration of India and he has done it mostly by placing himself above the political fray. He used his hype and the myth and the legend he had so successfully managed to create. All the opposition did was adding a few more stories and sticking to its guns labeling him as hype which has now turned him into a legend.
India is waiting, holding its breath and praying that there is more to Narendra Modi then just hype. Because hype can only take him so far and the “hype vehicle” is notorious for running out of fuel very quickly and hopefully he knows it. Hype is nothing but a mirage an optical illusion and the people have the capability to look beyond it.