To hear his well-wishers-turned-worriers, one would think it’s the end of Narendra Modi’s five year term, and he’s achieved nothing in it.
Well-wishers tear at his conspicous “silence” on issues that make headlines every day, the absence of big bucks reforms in his government’s first budget, and his “fear” of making a clean break with the past.
On the economic front, they say, instead of scrapping the leaky and costly employment guarantee scheme, he’s increased the outlay for it and on the political front, instead of showing “leadership”, he’s morphed into a consensus player.
But those who criticise him don’t know the Virgo personality.
Modi, you see, is a true Virgo, and like a true Virgo, heh is not given to sudden, rash moves, but believes in the power of long, incremental change backed by careful planning. His entire life, built brick by brick, is the best testament to the Virgo spirit.
IMAGE VS REALITY
The problem is that most people have come to associate him with the larger-than-life orator who was always making fiery and aggressive speeches on TV: the tough guy who promised to sent Bangladeshis home, the tough guy who mocked the Maa Bete ki Sarkar, the tough guy who boasted of a 57-inch chest and the Messiah who promised the poor that their good days lay right ahead.
This was the image they bought. This was the PM they thought they were rooting for.
But by asking for a revolution overnight, the armchair analysts only reveal their naivete and lack of understanding of political reality. It also betray rashness, and the inability to appreciate nuance and planning.
What they saw was just an image, an image whose purpose was to win votes. It was like a good film trailer. Wringing hands after two months into a five-year term is like walking out of a movie theatre after the first five minutes saying the film is not as exciting as the trailer.
Imagine if, instead of promising Achhe Din (good days), Modi had said “I don’t have all the answers, but I promise to try my best to give you the best results!” Yeah, unlikely that it would have sold well in the era of news television anchors who beseech viewers in the name of national interest everyday.
The real Modi is a long term guy, a boring, but meticulous nuts-and-bolts person who, like it or not, did not have all the answers with him, and believes in taking him time, but doing the right thing. He wants to be the Lee Kuan Yew of India, not the Arvind Kejriwal of Delhi.
So it’s time for everyone, especially his vociferous supporters, to take a chill pill. Know that Rome, or for that matter anything worthwhile, was not built in a day. The details of a good administration are very tiresome, even boring. Leave Modi to do his boring work. Don’t distract him with loud cries of “Oh, My God, I feel let down” etc.. If anything, such cries will only have the opposite impact.
Some amount of feedback is good, but some of the expectations seem unrealistic — “We have lost the moment,” said commentator Bibek Debroy, someone who had high hopes from the former Gujarat Chief Minister.
To Debroy, Surjit Bhalla, R Jagannathan and other Modi well wishers: Hold your horses. Reform is not a one-day, or even a one-month, affair. Give the man some time. Judge him after a couple of years. If he’s not put in place the bold reforms that everyone expected him to, by all means, criticise him.
But give him space. Give him time.