The NDA came to power in May 2014 with a clear majority, because of two reasons, Congress’ failure to stand on their ground and to deliver the promises they had made, and Narendra Modi’s work in Gujarat, which attracted the Nation’s interest. “Ab Ki Baar, Modi Sarkar”, the slogan did prove itself when Narendra Modi was sworn-in as Prime Minister on 26th May, 2014. The following years did prove to be confusing, with the public not being able to decide if the NDA government was keeping up with their promises or not and the nation was divided into two opinion groups, one trying to glorify Prime Minister Modi, while the other criticizing the government for its actions, every moment. With the upcoming General Elections in 2019, the government maintains its stand as to being able to keep up with the voters’ expectations and the confidence of winning the 2019 elections, under the leadership of Amit Shah and Narendra Modi. The opposition does seem concerned with the BJP’s growing popularity in states like Maharashtra, U.P, Goa, Karnataka, which changed the perception of BJP being a “Hindi-speaking party”. Leaders of the Opposition like Mayawati, Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee look to form a “mahagathbandhan”, in preparation for the General Elections in 2019. Let’s take a glimpse at the 4 years under Modi’s rule.
Immediately after coming to power, Narendra Modi focussed more on India’s international ties, which had been severed with some countries. The (then) Prime Minister Elect invited our “not-so friendly neighbor” (then) Pakistan’s PM Nawaz Sharif for the swearing in ceremony, which was immediately questioned by the Opposition and the media, while some described it to be Modi’s trick to dealing with Pakistan, in the long run. However, PM Modi did something historical, when he landed in Lahore on December 25, 2015 while returning from a tour of Russia and Afghanistan. Again, some claimed this to be Modi’s mistake,while others sensed this as a ray of hope for peace between the two countries. Modi’s foreign tours have been a subject of constant amusement – with people making memes and others always questioning “kaha hai acche din?”. Modi did bring in investors, money and experience from the First-world countries, made amicable ties in the Silicon Valley, strengthened bonds with Japan and China, who are now sharing technology and ideas with India, which include the concept of “Smart Cities” and the construction of Bullet Train along the Ahmedabad-Mumbai route. The Opposition objected to the influx of Foreign Investment in Indian markets, which would lead to destruction of small-time businesses in India. The Government also launched “Make in India” campaign, with the main objective of restricting the outflow of taxpayers’ money. With campaigns like “Swachh Bharat” (Clean India) and National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG); calling out to people to give up their LPG Subsidies; Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana for rural electrification; and raising issues like Triple Talaq in Parliament sessions, the government did seem to be concerned about social issues. Coming to the government’s stance on anti-terrorism and on dealing with terrorism – the surgical strike on September 29, 2016 in retaliation to the Uri attack and Pathankot attack, along with the constant warnings given to Pakistan by PM Modi on several international platforms including the United Nations; the Modi government has sent out a clear message that warfare will be replied by warfare.
Censorship and intolerance are two accusations that the Government has come under constant and recurring criticism for. There have been many instances reported where people have been reprimanded or prohibited from speaking out. The Government also kept quiet on the killing of journalists like Gauri Lankesh, who was shot right outside her house. Many say it is because her articles were anti-BJP, but that makes the ruling party’s silence on this even more dark and wrong. Coming to a second example, while the Supreme Court and CBFC gave a green signal to Padmaavat, it was initially banned in some BJP-ruled states of Rajasthan(then), MP(then), Haryana and Gujarat, raising questions as to whether the party’s main motive is to maintain sovereignty in the States or to keep its vote bank safe. Although the Government claims that India is one of the “fastest growing economies” and more investor friendly than ever, the Rupee has hit an all time low 73.26.
Oil prices have increased in past years drastically, costing 92 rupee per litre in areas near Mumbai. Though the steep rise in oil prices can be alluded to the fact that OPEC cut its oil supply to gain profit through its monopolistic position, which lead to the rupee’s great depreciation as well, the fact remains that the government failed to come up with appropriate fiscal and monetary policies to combat the issue domestically. However, the Rupee has started to appreciate in value, and oil prices have stabilised, in the recent past. The Modi government hasn’t till date, been able to extradite the fraudsters of the decade, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi and bring them to justice. However, in what can be considered as a major victory, Vijay Mallya and Christian Michel were recently extradited to India.
Some actions by the Government still remain in a gray area for classification as pros or cons of the government, with Demonetization and Goods and Services Tax(GST) and Beef Ban, being some of them. Some still argue that a hike in oil prices and downfall of the Rupee are all aftermaths of such bogus policies and acts by the Government. People in various parts of the country have raised concerns over “gau-rakshaks” going around the country and beating up people if found in possession of beef or found eating beef, threatening the Right to Choose, of the citizens of the country. The Government, however strongly condemns such acts of violence threatening the safety of citizens.
No matter how many pros and cons are pointed out by respective sides, people always try to fit them within their ideologies. Hence, only the General Elections of 2019 will decide if Modi government has stood up to people’s expectations or not.