Thursday October 19, 2017
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Modi’s strongman image losing its lustre

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The head of state showing concerns over deteriorating condition of the country twice is quite unusual especially if he holds a largely ceremonial position.

Because of his stature, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will not be able to brush aside his views as those of a “Nehruvian” or a “Leftist”, as it has done with regard to the protests by the 40-odd writers who are also upset, like the president, about the signs of intolerance.

The BJP’s other ploy of saying that the vandals are being arrested will not be convincing since, as the Shiv Sena’s acts of criminal intimidation show, a few hours’ detention followed by a release on bail are not a sufficient deterrent.

What is needed if the Narendra Modi government is serious about restoring order is a harsh step against the offenders such as the clamping of sedition charges on Hardik Patel in Gujarat.

Yet, similar threats by saffron storm-troopers, including BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj, who said that unless leaders change their mindset, they can be beaten up “in full public view”, have gone unpunished.

All that the BJP has done is to ask such purveyors of hate in the Hindutva camp to be more restrained. It doesn’t take much political insight to see that such demonstrations of “minimum governance” will do little to bring the law-breakers into line.

The latter are also probably encouraged by the description of the various tragic incidents as “small” by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat.

It is obvious that the BJP is caught in a bind. It is one thing to use a law redolent of colonial rule against a pesky political adversary, or let the Central Bureau of Investigation lose against an activist like Teesta Setalvad for having stood by the riot victims in 2002, and quite another to discipline the party’s ideological brethren.

Even if the BJP succeeds in reining in the hate-mongers in its own ranks, it is virtually helpless where the rowdies of an ally like the Shiv Sena are concerned.

Although the BJP knows that the Sena’s long-standing tactic of blackening faces will besmirch its own image, Maharashtra’s political arithmetic makes it practically impossible to break the ties with the champions of Marathi manoos, whose leader, Uddhav Thackeray, has insolently pointed out that the Dadri lynching brought more shame to the country than the spraying of ink.

The government cannot be unaware that the disregard for law shown by the worshippers of cows, killers of rationalists, opponents of India-Pakistan cricketing ties and others with such limited, violence-prone agendas will spread the feeling of unease among the average law-abiding citizens and of terror among the minorities.

Moreover, the virtually daily litany of shocking incidents, including the rape of children and burning alive of Dalit infants by upper caste men, will tarnish India’s reputation abroad and make prospective investors think twice before sinking their money into a country where the police appear unable to control the rampaging hoodlums.

There is little doubt that because of these “sad” and “unfortunate” incidents, as Modi said about the Shiv Sena’s hooliganism in Mumbai, his strongman image is losing its lustre.

He had built it up and sustained it within the limited confines of Gujarat, but is evidently unable to do so in the much larger national arena.

His challengers are undoubtedly aware that the geographical spread of their lawlessness – lynchings in UP and Himachal Pradesh, killings of rationalists in Karnataka and Maharashtra, blackening of faces in Mumbai and Delhi – can make the task of imposing order difficult.

As a result, what must be worrying for the prime minister is that his efforts of modernization and economic growth cannot succeed in an atmosphere of tension and uncertainty.

It is not only the prime minister and a small pro-reforms group around him that find the present situation “extremely disturbing”, as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said, but large segments of the 31 percent of voters who supported Modi last year are also disheartened by the government’s failures on several fronts – economic and now administrative.

It has to be remembered that a good percentage of these voters are not traditional BJP supporters, but are largely apolitical who have been impressed by Modi’s energy and commitment to development.

But if they see no positive development in the economic and administrative fields in the near future, they will slowly drift away to other parties.

Their first priority will be to see the government crack down on the wild elements so that the confidence of the ordinary people as well as the investors can be restored.

India lost the chance of taking the path of development under Manmohan Singh because of the roadblocks put up by the socialistic inclinations of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Now, the pro-Hindu rashtra objectives of the Sangh Parivar extremists and the narrow parochial ambitions of outfits like the Shiv Sena are hampering Modi’s endeavours to move ahead with his pro-market policies.

Needless to say, both these groups have a blinkered outlook which is cut off from the modern world and have no idea of the vision of a 21st century nation which guides Modi.

(Amulya Ganguly, IANS)

 

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Richard Thaler Supported Demonetisation, there is More to the Story

Demonetisation is what Richard Thaler had long supported. However, he remarked "Really? Damn," when he was informed about the introduction of Rs. 2,000 notes in place of the discontinued Rs. 500 and 1,000 notes thereby highlighting how his joy of seeing a step towards a cashless economy and reduction of corruption was momentary.

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Richard Thaler
Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences on 9th October.Wikimedia

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to scrape Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes last November, Nobel Prize winner Richard Thaler supported demonetization describing it as a policy that he had long supported.

Dr. Richard Thaler, a Professor of Economics and Behavioural Science at the University of Chicago won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences on 9th October.

Did Richard Thaler really support demonetization in the way BJP took it? There is more to the story than what meets the eye.

As soon as Thaler was declared the Nobel Prize winner, members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started sharing Thaler’s tweet regarding demonetization on social media affirming that the move which was severely criticised by the members of the opposition was actually supported by a Nobel Prize winner. The BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya retweeted the old tweet within a fraction of a second.

However, Richard Thaler remarked “Really? Damn,” when he was informed about the introduction of Rs. 2,000 notes in place of the discontinued Rs. 500 and 1,000 note thereby highlighting how his joy of seeing a step towards a cashless economy and reduction of corruption was momentary.

It was not only the BJP supporters but also a large number of BJP leaders who were flowed away with incomplete picture depicted by Malviya and tweeted about it.‬ This included Union Minister Giriraj Singh, former BJP IT Cell Head Arvind Gupta, and many others.

Soon after, twitterati realized that the full picture of Thaler’s statement on demonetization was rather hidden.

Prime Minister Modi declared that the motivation behind scrapping Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was to promote cashless economy and reduce corruption. This decision was severely criticised by different sections of the society putting on Modi the ultimate responsibility for heralding economic deceleration. Demonetisation pulled down India’s GDP growth rate to a mere 6.1% in 2016-17.

Some highlighted that the introduction of Rs 2000 note was an ephemeral panacea for remonetization and that its printing has been terminated.

-Prepared by Mohima Haque of NewsGram, Twitter: mohimahaque26

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PM Narendra Modi: Don’t believe in vote bank politics, Nation comes first

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia

Varanasi, Sep 23: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday, said that the BJP did not believe in vote bank politics as the country was above party politics. This is his second day of the visit to his parliamentary constituency in Varanasi.

Modi told a gathering that he had launched a major war against corruption and the corrupt to ease the life of the common man. He also said cleanliness was worship for him as it could rid the poor of various diseases and a lot of economic burdens.

“Governance for us is not about votes or winning elections. The priority is the development of the nation. For us, the country is bigger than party,” he said, in his address to farmers in Shahanshahpur on the outskirts of Varanasi.

He said most of the problems faced by the common people in India were rooted in corruption.

“I have launched a war against it and will take it further to ensure that graft is weeded out from the country.”(IANS)

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PM Modi in Varanasi: Sanitation is worship, Cleanliness Is a Way to Serve the Poor

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The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addresses the gathering, at Shahanshahpur, Varanasi Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on September 23, 2017.

Varanasi, Sep 23 :  Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing a public gathering in Varanasi said that sanitation is worship for him, as it can rid the poor of various diseases.

The gathering was largely attended by people on the second day of his Varanasi visit. Modi visited, Shahanshahpur a village of his Lok Sabha constituency. Where he laid the foundation stone of a public toilet in the area.

“That is because sanitation is also a kind of worship for me. It will rid the poor of my country of various diseases and the economic burden due to those diseases that result from dirty surroundings,” he said while addressing people there.

He said while no one likes garbage, everyone in India shies away from the responsibility of keeping their surroundings clean.

“It is the responsibility of every citizen and every family to keep their surroundings clean so we are able to build clean villages, clean cities and a clean nation,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister urged people to take one resolution each, to improve the nation by 2022. The year will also mark the 75 years of independence.

“In the coming five years, we have to be committed towards that resolution. If 125 crore people take one resolution each and live up to it, then the nation would move 125 crore steps forward in the next five years,” he said.

(IANS)