My Jewish friend in America asked me recently, Does Modi get along with Trump? I laughed and said that Modi gets along with every world leader, be it Obama, Trump, Xi, Abe, Merkel, Putin, the list is long.
My friend had just returned from Israel. I reminded him of the hand-in-hand bromance between Modi and Netanyahu on a Tel Aviv beach. My friend laughed. He is a big admirer of Modi. He said he wished America had a leader like Modi.
I also told my friend that Modi gets along with the chief minister of almost every state in India. Arvind Kejriwal now calls Modi my prime minister. Didi has stopped ranting against him. Uddhav Thackeray has forgotten and forgiven the BJP’s midnight folly, and was up there in Delhi recently meeting Modi, where the latter hugged Uddhav’s son Aaditya.
Donald Trump reportedly makes fun of Modi’s accent in English, but the prime minister takes it all in his stride.
Arvind Kejriwal said that he would have cleared the Shaheen Bagh sit-in within half-an-hour, but Modi has allowed that to go on and on unimpeded for weeks on end. Even when Donald Trump is visiting Delhi.
The economy is still in a rut, but Nirmala Sitharaman (how earnest she is, but remember the importance of being earnest) has presented a good, solid B+ budget.
No minister, even from an allied party, has anything to say negative about the prime minister. And really it’s not because they are afraid.
CAA is well-intentioned. Where are the most-persecuted minorities in our neighbourhood to go? Akbaruddin Owaisi, Waris Pathan, and their ilk say such bad things against the majority community, but they are still tolerated in India. Is India too tolerant, too accommodating?
But then you have the junior minister of finance aiming to become a shooter. The UP chief minister derides one of the nation’s staple diets, biryani. There is no end to loudmouths within the ruling party. The question then to be asked is if the prime minister the right man in the wrong party?
Such a question was asked of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Vajpayee was a fervent admirer of Nehru, which the prime minister is not, to say the least. It was implied that Vajpayee would have been better off in the Congress.
Post-Babri Masjid demolition, it was speculated that Vajpayee would jump ship, but he refused, saying that only rats desert a sinking ship. The Congress today is a pale shadow of its former self. The prime minister would be a complete misfit there. But the prime minister is a complete misfit within the Sangh too.
He has instituted a 10% quota in jobs and education for the poorest of the poor. Who, according to the Sachar Committee report, are the poorest of the poor in India? They are the Muslims. They stand to be the ones to benefit the most from the prime minister’s novel programme. How then can one call the prime minister parochial.
Like Manmohan Singh before him, Modi is hard working and personally incorruptible. He is making slow and steady progress. But the Sangh isn’t. They have just been thrashed in Delhi. Maharashtra has slipped out of their grasp. Another pasting awaits them in West Bengal.
The Sangh practices divisive politics. So do many Muslim leaders. The prime minister is not the divider-in-chief. He is the unifier-in-chief. He just finds himself in bad company. But he has nowhere else to go to. Instead of him correcting the bad elements in the Sangh all the time, it is high time that the Sangh learns compassion and patience from the prime minister.
Yes, we know, the tukdey-tukdey gang is alive and well in India, but let the prime minister deal with it in his own way. He knows how to tackle them. After all, he is their prime minister too.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.