India’s Divider-In-Chief is living in the past

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Time Magazine has featured Narendra Modi on its cover page and called him “India’s Divider in Chief”, a title that best describes his agenda. It is not the first time India has been left red-faced in front of the global community for PM Modi and his communal image. The article in the magazine, written by Aatish Taseer, has the headline “Can the World’s Largest Democracy Endure Another Five Years of a Modi Government?”

The 39-year old Aatish Taseer is a British-born writer-journalist, and the son of Indian journalist Tavleen Singh and late Pakistani politician and businessman Salmaan Taseer. The write up compares former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s idea of secularism with the prevailing social “stress” under Modi who “demonstrated no desire to foster brotherly feelings between Hindus and Muslims”.

Apart from his communal agenda, it is also problematic that he is living in the past. All his speeches revolve around the personal life of Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi, Indira Gandhi etc. and events that happened decades ago. The voters are waiting for him to address the issues of unemployment, education and corruption of today and not half a century ago. When voters swept Prime Minister Narendra Modi into power five years ago, it was in no small part because of his vows to create millions of jobs and vault India into an era of prosperity.

But now, just months before the next general election, Mr. Modi is facing a potentially troublesome challenge on the jobs promises that may be partly of his own making.

Based on a major survey conducted between October and December 2018 by the Delhi-based research group, Association for Democratic Reforms, jobs are the top issue on voters’ minds.

Jobs were also the top concern in last year’s survey, but as the election nears, the scrutiny has intensified further. And the news for the government is not good. Some 273,000 people were surveyed in 534 Lok Sabha constituencies across 32 states and Union territories, and their rating of the Modi government’s performance in its first term is that it has been decidedly below average.

More than 70% of Indians surveyed during May-July 2018–the beginning of the last year of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government–said the lack of employment opportunities and rising prices are India’s most pressing challenges, as per a new Pew Research.

Corrupt officials, terrorism and crime are the next major problems identified, with over 60% of people saying they are a ‘very big problem’. The findings mark no change from last year when employment opportunities also topped the list as the biggest problem facing the country.

Despite all these pressing concerns, PM Modi is hell bent on probing the lives of leaders who met their demise decades ago and not addressing the problems facing the country today. It is not a good sign for the largest democracy of the world to remain oblivious to today’s issues while spending most of his time in the last century.

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