With just around 12 months before the next parliamentary election, Modi has little time to lose in meeting the expectations of the people in eradicating corruption.
Whatever the sworn critics of Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, may say about his administration, the ground reality is that a cross-section of Indians living across the country and abroad are of the view that India has changed for the better in multiple directions during the last nine years since he took over power. Many international expert groups as well as UN observers applauded India for its strong economic growth trajectory even as several countries in the world are facing recessionary trends.
Several opinion surveys carried out in recent times have clearly revealed that Modi is the most popular and charismatic leader in India and none of the leaders belonging to opposition political parties can match his standing. Even some global agencies have hailed Modi as a very important and popular world leader.
In such circumstances, the result of the recent election in Karnataka state in India where Modi’s party was not able to retain power has come as a bolt from the blue.
Reason for Karnataka defeat
There is now feverish debate across India as to why this has happened. While the critics of Modi say that this Karnataka election verdict indicates the beginning of the end of Modi’s leadership, most discerning observers dismiss this view. One credible view is that the BJP party, which was in power in Karnataka, had not given the quality of governance that is expected of it and, perhaps, there were several instances of corruption in the government machinery that turned off the people of Karnataka. People must have been particularly disappointed since the ultimate leader of the BJP is PM. Modi.
When Modi was voted as Prime Minister of India nine years back, people recognised him as a strong and committed political leader with courage of conviction and a high standard of personal integrity. Of course, people expected that Modi would launch and implement several development projects in the Industrial, commercial and social sectors in the state which he has done. At the same time, people certainly expected that Modi would eradicate the cancer of corruption in the country at every level.
The ground reality is that the expectation of rooting out corruption in the country has not been adequately met despite Modi's strong commitment to do so. Certainly, the central government, under the direct administration of PM Modi, remains corruption free and transparent but this is not so in the case of the several state governments. Still, people think that it is Modi’s responsibility to eliminate corruption even at the state level as he is a national leader with a strong mandate.
With just around 12 months before the next parliamentary election, Modi has little time to lose in meeting the expectations of the people in eradicating corruption. While development projects are moving well and the climate of growth built up in the country is likely to be sustained, the one-point agenda for Modi in the coming twelve months should be a determined crusade against corruption. Of course, the anti-corruption steps will be resisted and motives would be attributed. But Modi has to move on and catch and punish the corrupt forces iin a way that would give confidence to the people that corruption would be eliminated soon.
Modi should call out dynasty politics
In the coming parliamentary election, Modi will be tested based on his success in the anti-corruption drive.
Many Indians seem to think that the root cause for political corruption and consequent administrative corruption in the country is that almost all political parties in India, other than the BJP and Communist parties, are family-controlled and have vested interests. Perhaps, the pre-condition to eliminate corruption is that the family control of political parties and the consequent development of vested interests should be eliminated. .
As a part of his anti-corruption crusade, Modi should also launch a strong movement against dynasty politics in India. He needs to speak out very strongly about this, which will be received well by the people and would catch their imagination.
(The writer is a Trustee, NGO Nandini Voice for the Deprived, Chennai. Views are personal. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)