Riding on the Modi wave-remember the whirlwind trips across the country and record number of public addresses by former Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP’s campaign committee chief Narendra Modi- and the promises of Acche Din (better days), the saffron party led NDA, stormed into power with an emphatic victory in the 2014 general elections. It was for the first time after 1985 general elections (post Indira Gandhi assassination ), that a single party, of its own -BJP-had secured absolute majority.
The series of chaos around the Lok Pal bill, spate of high level corruption allegations, a dormant government suffering from policy paralysis, and of course the public movement of the century led by Anna Hazare, etc, grounded the second stint of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA II), piloted by the Congress, leaving the oldest political party with only 44 seats, its lowest tally since India’s independence.
As, on 26 May 2014, Modi took oath as the Prime Minister, a new chapter in the history of India was being written, the hero of which was the one and only Narendra Modi. On that fateful occasion not only BJP or NDA supporters had rejoiced and danced in joy, the entire country celebrated, as well. Of course, in anticipation of a change. For better days.
After four tears, with the Central government celebrating the occasion, it’s time for Narendra Modi and his government to announce to the people how far the government has fulfilled the pre poll promises. With 2019 polls less than a year away, it’s time now for the reality check. As the nation really wants to know, what has happened to the promises made.
No doubt the government has taken a number of gutsy decisions with success-be it linking the countrymen with the banks (Jan Dhan Yojna), demonetization, managing the Doklam issue, GST or the surgical strikes across border against Pakistan. The cleanliness drive of the PM has been hailed at home as well as abroad. Crores of families have been provided LPG connection, and a major thrust has been given towards infrastructure development and communication. The reform measures by this government have been praised by the premier international financial agencies-world bank, IMF etc.
One of the most courageous steps by the NDA government has been the legislation of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, that makes triple Talaq illegal. Many consider it as a historic and believe, as the President Ram Nath Kovind had tweeted, after this bill, the Muslim daughters and sisters can live a life free of fear and dignity.
And soon, the government is all set to launch the ambitious National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), popularly known as “Modicare”; the scheme will provide a cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year and is targeted to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families. Many more social welfare measures have been undertaken and few are in the pipelines, likely to be rolled out this year.
However, Modi’s opponents are surely going to ask him how much black money his government has been able to bring back and the number of employments it has generated against its promise of 2 crore jobs a year. Modi has less than a year to reply to them. Despite the Skill India, Make in India and other such ambitious projects initiated by the government, unemployment continues to be a huge issue in the country, today.
No doubt under Modi’s leadership, internationally India’s image has gone much higher, ties with the US and many other countries have strengthened, yet the Jammu and Kashmir continues to be in a mess. And worst of all, the skyrocketing of oil prices has come as a headache, particularly for the lower and middle class families. The common man is not interested in the economics of crude oil prices, or figures, fact sheets containing statistics announcing the government’s success stories. How they can manage their own budget and run their family is what matters them the most.
In 2004, amidst a nationwide euphoria, thanks to the India Shining slogan, the country had witnessed, contrary to everyone’s imagination, the defeat of Vajpayee led NDA. Given the unpredictable nature of voter behaviour the government must ensure that the consumers had at least some Acchhe Din, as far as the oil prices are concerned, months before going into next year’s polls.