Narendra Modi has completed almost mid tenure as Prime Minister of India. Now from here he has to complete the other half of his tenure. Till now Indians have seen the interval part of this movie and anxious about the second half of this political drama.
Narendra Modi made his entry on the hot seat of power in the background of allegation of corruption, Anna Hazare movement, the second freedom struggle of India and the slowing down of the economic growth story.
He brought "fresh vision" to look at the Indian architecture that was shaping up. This vision was laced with a bagful of promises to turn around the pace of the economic development of the country.
However, now in the mid-course , if we make a balance sheet of PM Modi's growth story, it can be said that instead of accelerating the economic growth he has put breaks into it.
In the balance sheet of his two and half years of rule, his failures outwit his achievements. He failed to bring black money from abroad that he made an electoral promise. He also failed to unearth the same from the country with his "surgical strike googly of note ban".
On terrorism front, he drummed to have gone for hot pursuit crossing the Line of Control (LoC) but provided no evidence and left this deadly bouncer as a matter of trust. However in the process he has ignited a reign of terror and numbers of our jawans being killed shows no sign of receding.
His Kashmir policy is a total failure. Stifling the democratic aspirations, he has belittled the stature of India as a largest democracy in the world. One line summery of his Kashmir policy is, ‘one can rule with the buoyant but can’t sit over it.’
He promised to tame Pakistan but the World Bank censoring him on tempering with the Indus water treaty has made him dwarf by a few centimetres.
He met the outgoing US president several times since 2014 but still the nuclear deal, the centre piece of Indo US relations, is in limbo.
He is credited to have toured most of the capitals of the world but he is unable to get any significant amount of FDIs that can make his pet project 'Make in India' show dramatic results. His ‘Sawacch Bharat,’ ‘Smart Cities’, ‘Bullet Trains’ all seem to be "a work in progress".
His good neighborly relations are caught in the web of trust deficit. His hobnobbing in South China Sea has left Beijing red-faced. He gave preference to multilateralism at the cost of bilateralism but no such forum has served the cause of India’s national interest.
I can go on citing more such examples but suffice would be to say that somewhere down the line our beloved Prime Minister has lost the script of his much publicized plot to change India at a dramatic pace.
Now the question is, from here where PM Modi will go? There are two paths defined for him.
One is to take further risks and try to tread into uncharted territories by doing more such political economic stunts to cover up his failures.
The second option is that he may play safe from here.
The gut feeling is, he is someone, who will not be just bidding time and give up without a fight. I am sure he is keeping more aces up his sleeves and he will not desist from cashing them, especially when his power and authority is being questioned.
The big question is what are these aces up his sleeves; 1) Go to war with Pakistan 2) Build ram temple 3) Announce uniform civil code 4) Announce abrogation of article 370 5) Impose Hindi as national language 6) Revoke minority character of AMU 7) Reservation etc and such other emotive issues.
These agendas are like hot potatoes that can whip up national sentiments. His two and half year of rule is nothing but playing to the nationalist gallery. He whipped up nationalistic hysteria with cow protection and Muslim minority bashing, his surgical strike at LOC made many heads turn, his demonetization drive, was another nationalist propaganda.
In spite of any credible survey, the general impression is that the nation has become tired of PM Modi’s nationalist drama. The premonition is if the PM from here does not reinvent himself, he is destined to be consigned to dustbin of Swacch Bharat.
[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at email@example.com]