The day in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to check all the right boxes by projecting himself in a bipartisan manner insensitive comment about rape by Chief Minister of the most populous state of the country shocked one and all. It showed the increasing disconnect between the political leaders and common masses, something India can’t afford if it wants to be “Sresth” (best) in reality.
Narendra Modi tweeted early in the morning that he doesn’t want his life to be part of any educational curriculum. Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, both BJP controlled state were planning to include the story relating Narendra Modi’s meteoric rise in their school texts. Modi virtually vetoed the idea today saying that he doesn’t believe any living person should be part of school books.
PM said that the country has a rich heritage and kids should learn about the past stalwarts who have made India what it is today. Narendra Modi by these tweets have effectively tried to put across a message that sycophancy won’t be tolerated in his government. Modi often accused Congress of being a party of sycophants and used to label UPA government as “Ma- Beta ke sarkar”. He certainly doesn’t want those allegations to hit him.
Another significant step Modi has taken is to strictly tell his ministers that they don’t need to rename flagship programmes run by UPA. There has been a suggestion that MGNREGA scheme may be renamed. Modi by this gesture is trying to send a message that he is not interested in petty politics.
Modi sarkar is already looking to give the infrastructure sector a massive facelift. It has proposed to raise FDI in defence production to 100% from the current cap of 26%. This is a bid to modernize the defence equipment many of which are no match to those used by the likes of Chinese army. Commerce Ministry has already floated a note and is up for consideration by other ministries.
Reforms like FDI in railways are also in the pipeline. It is not that these are new ideas. Even UPA thought of increasing private partnership to build infrastructure. But it didn’t have the political mandate to push through these reforms. Hence often the past government was accused of being indecisive when it was probably merely helpless.
Modi government has already stressed that health will be one of its priority area. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan today tweeted that he is looking to ensure that each state gets an AIIMS, so that quality healthcare is near the footsteps of every citizen. This in reality though may well turn out to be an arduous task especially due to severe land crunch in many states.
One state which will be in need for all sorts of help shortly is Andhra Pradesh after formation of Telengana. Soon to be sworn in CM of divided Andhra, Chandrababu Naidu today met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. UPA government while announcing creation of Telengana had announced that Seemandhra region will be given special status for 5 years as virtually everything needs to be constructed from scratch there. The state devoid of its jewel Hyderabad will have to set up a new capital and build up massive infrastructure in the next few years. Jaitley has promised Naidu that they will be extending their full support and assured that Planning Commission is looking into the sum which can be provided as monetary help.
Another high-profile CM is likely to visit New Delhi on 3rd June. Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa is slated to meet Narendra Modi amidst talks that AIADMK may formally extend support to NDA government. Modi and Jayalalithaa have had a bitter-sweet relationship so far. Once friends they sparred during elections. But now rumours are rife that Jaya is willing to bury the hatchet to lend her support to the Modi sarkar. Although NDA has robust numbers in the LokSabha it doesn’t have majority in the Rajya Sabha where support from Jaya’s party is likely to help Modi government breathe easy and work with freedom on contentious issues.
Today GDP growth figure was published for the financial year 2013-14. Economic growth has been recorded at a modest 4.7%, just a touch over 4.5% in 2012-13. Former Finance Minister Chidambaram constantly said that growth figures will exceed 5%. But reality is starkly different.The onus is now on Modi to kickstart the economy and to push rate of increase in GDP near the two digit mark.
Narendra Modi after living in Gujarat bhawan for more than a week has finally shifted to his official residence at 7 Race Course Road. Modi to be specific will be living in 5 Race Course Road whereas 7 RCR will be used as office space. Modi unlike many politicians is not big on things like Vaastu etc. Thus only with a coat of paint, the entire residence is ready for use. Currently he is clocking over 12 hours in the PMO leaving the babus in a tizzy. The message is that of perform or perish from a politician who is known to have run Gujarat in a similar CEO like manner.
After much speculation finally Ajit Doval has been appointed the National Security Advisor. Ex IB Chief Doval is a Kirti Chakra winner and is hailed as the closest India possess to a real life James Bond!! It is to be seen if Doval can indeed track down most wanted criminals like Dawood Ibrahim and Hafeez Sayeed.
The only setback for Modi sarkar in an otherwise flawless day came from the cautionary words of Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal. Badal, a veteran in politics has cautioned Modi against any hasty decision regarding abolition of Article 370. Fears also have been expressed by leaders like BSP Supremo Mayawati, Bihar CM Jiten Ram Manjhi that this issue can potentially divide communities across religious lines. Article 370 gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, which BJP for long has sought to abolish saying there should be one rule for all Indians. It is to be seen if/how Modi government takes up this issue in view of opposition from its oldest ally.
Priyanka Gandhi has done a great face saving exercise. Just as talks started that Robert Vadra may lose his special privilege of not being frisked in Airport, Priyanka has written a letter to SPG. In the letter she has asked to withdraw the special privilege which she and her family enjoy. Playing the role of an ideal bahu to the hilt, Priyanka said that if her husband is not entitled to the privilege it makes no sense for them to enjoy it. She has further reiterated that Robert was only included in the list by ex SPG chiefs perhaps to streamline the security process. In the meanwhile Venkaiah Naidu has clarified that they are not interested in running a witch hunt against Robert Vadra and things will be done in accordance to the law.
By now most of the readers have probably seen the gory images of two teenaged girls raped and hanged to death in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh. When asked about this incident, foreign educated Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav snapped asking a female journalist not to get bothered since she is safe personally. This deep insensitivity has created a storm in the social media. Earlier Mulayam Singh had opposed capital punishment for rapists saying boys do mistake. One can’t fathom how even after the nationwide outrage during Nirbhaya incident, politicians can be so much flippant over such issues.
Thankfully better sense has prevailed with the Central government. They have decided to set up a rape crisis cell for speedy action on such horrific incidence. Home Ministry has also sought report from Uttar Pradesh government. It remains to be seen if sanity prevails or political “tu tu main main” repeats again…
Finally, a look at the key economic parameters as of today…