Source: The Morung Express

The rise of Indian politician Narendra Modi from Chief Minister of a State to Prime Minister of the country, and now the global recognition of his leadership, all point to a new kind of politics that is taking shape, one that has more to do with pragmatism and not just some political dogma. The huge reception that was reserved for Mr Modi by the Indian-American community at the famed Madison Square Garden and his other successful public engagements during his recent visits to South Asian countries, Japan and the United States are all sign of the legitimacy that has been given to Modi’s leadership, first by the Indian electorate and now by the global community. With this wide acceptability, Mr Modi can now turn attention to providing the much needed leadership. That at one time Mr Modi was seen as the face of the Godhra riots in Gujarat and his kind of politics despised not just by his political opponents in India but even by the West. It is therefore truly a transformation that a leader once denied a visa to visit the US should be treated with admiration by the American people led by President Barack Obama. So how did this change take place? What kind of leaders do people really want to see in the 21stcentury? The answer to Modi’s rise and the new politics could well be found in these discourses.

Various factors have contributed to the rise of Modi. One is the failure of the decade long Congress led UPA governments to provide strong leadership to the country. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was a gentleman but he did not have the strength and authority to lead a country of one billion plus people. India was yearning for a strong and capable leader. The Congress continued to waver on the leadership issue with Rahul Gandhi reluctant to enter the fray. The BJP on the other hand came out with a clear choice of Modi as the PM candidate. So you see, everyone admires a leader with a clear sense of mission and someone who will get things done. And this perhaps explains the rise of Modi. The other aspect of leadership that requires great consideration is the need to be inclusive. Given the negative image he had carried because of the Godhra riots, Modi had to work even harder to assure that he could unite all sections of people. In a country as diverse as India where there is plurality of caste, creed, religion, language, and region yet issues of peace and development are commonality that bring people together, political leadership must also necessarily be inclusive and broad based. This applies even to the Nagas where we have so many divisions and differences.

Modi and his party the BJP is essentially a conservative-right wing party in orientation. The BJP has its own core ideology such as building of a Ram Temple at Ayodhya, imposition of uniform civil code and abolition of Article 370 (giving special guarantees to the State of Jammu & Kashmir). Now ever since Modi took office as PM, heading the BJP led NDA government, there is hardly any talk of ideology and much more emphasis has been given to things like governance, leadership, foreign policy, national security, economic recovery, institutional reforms, Centre-State relations, development programmes etc. The rise of Modi is closely linked to the erosion of ideology, at least when it comes to leadership and governance. Mr Modi would do well to continue in this path of pragmatism and inclusive model of governance if his leadership is to be acknowledged beyond the present.