Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Why I Chose not to vote for Modi

Many of my friends in the social media (fb, twitter and Whatsapp) discussed vigorously whenever I commented or posted something on Modi (against Modi) trying to persuade me to vote for him or at least not criticize him. When I think about it all - it feels like presenting the Big picture on what I think - here it is.

A series of "Junta Maaf Nahi Karegi" campaign targeted at Congress misrule 

followed by

Another series of "Ab ki Baar Modi Sarkar" (and this one went over the board from humourous to slapstick to farcical to pornographical - I received every type on the whatsapp circuit)

followed by

Yet another series of "Acche Din Aane Wale Hai" 

Yes, this has been a season of a very clever campaign (in the words of P. Chidambram) by the BJP - craftily building a larger than life image of their Prime Ministerial candidate Mr. Narendra Modi. I agree wholeheartedly with the Finance Minister.

And Yet when I went to vote for the Lok Sabha Elections this April - despite my deciding that this time I wouldn't vote for the Congress and despite having voted BJP already in the MP Vidhan Sabha elections (for the first time, mind you) I could not press the Lotus Button. why?

Was it an emotional decision? No. Was it long lasting loyalty? No, again. So what was it? Here is the list.

1. He stands for Nothing in Particular and for Everything in General

So what does he stand for - Development, Anti-corruption, Hindutava, Secularism, Pro Women, Nationalist what? Actually he seems to be projected as being all of them. A superman who would do everything - and that too alone. 

What is the counter of most supporters of Modi to this criticism? Surprisingly - they say
** What does Rahul Gandhi stand for? Incompetence. or
** What does Kejriwal stand for? Dharna. or
** So what, even if he is able to achieve half of this India would progress. or
** For years you have believed in Congress - now Modi deserves a chance.

And they have no compunctions in making above responses. In fact, many do not see any flaws in the above responses and those who see them resolutely ignore them.

If someone were to read the rather belatedly published manifesto of the BJP - it is a list of in-competencies of the UPA govt. which they promise to remove somehow magically.

(For those who still do not see anything wrong in the above arguments - 1. and 2. are fallacious because they skirt the issue and assume that criticism of Modi by default is support for the other two. and 3. is fallacious because we are in a way supporting hype and are admitting that there is nothing wrong in promising the moon when no one knows what you intend to do actually. 4. is fallacious because it again fails to answer the question - what am I voting for?)

2. His style is dictatorial & non-transparent
I guess that comes with being a strong administrator. He has mootably administered Gujarat quite magnificently.  Here is the catch - India is no Gujarat its a potpourri of beliefs. He has silenced opposition within and outside. 

Even his supporters accept this style of his and presents it as a strength. Only certain amount of dadagiri can get some thing done in today's India they suggest. Another try to defend a stand by vindicating the less acceptable.

The best times of Indian Growth have been times with Prime Ministers at the helm who were remarkable at running consensual government - the three examples are Mr. Narsimha Rao, Mr. Atal Bihari Bajpai and in his first term Dr. Manmohan singh. I have been uncomfortable at the prospect of a PM who would rule with an Iron fist specially when he is not known to carry clear biases.

Transparency is another issue. We know very little on his plans of how he is going to deliver on his promises - he shies away from the aggressive media and is cosy only in a format that (most probably) have been stage managed by his backroom boys and girls. He does not face difficult questions about Ram Mandir, His election spending, His stand on Gays etc.

3. He is out to become prime minster at all cost
Here is the severest reason I finally did not vote for him. He wishes to become the PM by hook or by crook - principles be damned. 

The way he treated Advani, Jaswant and Sushma are well known. He promises to free India of corruption and in the same breath includes Yedurappas and Reddy Brothers to get a rather dubious hold in the south India, while he talks of economic development but has opposed FDI in multi brand retail to woo the trader votes, While he talks of including minorities in the growth agenda and yet stands by Girirajs, Togadia and Amit Shahs. I can go on and on - the nut shell is that the BJP under him has bent over its back to accommodate anyone who has the potential of garnering votes - without any compunction or ideology to stand by.

Thats not all - the way he has managed media to cultivate a superhuman image has made me hugely suspicious of him. Someone needs to understand a simple fact - why does companies like Coke, Pepsi or HUL have 100+ crores media budgets? The answer is to earn profits. Now ask the same question about a very high pitch - high frequency all media sweep of BJP communication and there is no surprise guessing here that such propaganda has to have a ROI equation somewhere.

Thats also not all - the content of his propaganda makes his supporters believe that he is one pill treatment to every ill that India has. He will remove corruption, unemployment, will build roads, will provide uninterrupted power, cheap fuel, excellent policing (security) will take care of women and will make India Terror free. It is impossible. Simple, he doesn't mean it when he promises all this.

Let me end this with a simple fact - In the 2012 manifesto of BJP in Gujarat he promised to build five million houses in Gujarat, to make Agriculture the Biggest earner of Revenue and to make Gujarat the Textile Capital of India once again. All this was to be done in next five years that is by 2017. (Here is the story). So what do you expect the Government must have done by now to meet these ambitious targets. Check yourself. The answer is zilch - in more than a year and a half now the Gujarat Govt. has done nothing - not one house built, no policy initiative in the direction of Agriculture nor improving the Textile trade. So here you have it.

Well there is more to the story but I guess if you reached here then you get the Big Picture. So, that is why I could not make myself vote for the Modi  wave because I could simply not trust the guy. I know there is not much to trust the Congress as well (as if reading your thoughts as a reader) yet I could not vote for this guy.