Calling into Question Modi's leadership style - ET Blog

There is an online blitzkrieg of information glorifying and even deifying Modi. One of those stories that are in circulation is about the boy Narendra swimming across a crocodile infested river only to hoist a flag atop a temple on the other side! Today, the deification of Modi is happening instantaneously right in front of our eyes, thanks to a focused PR campaign fueled by raw money power. It leads us to believe that Modi is the panacea to all the ills of Indian society, that he will transform India into a super power, replicate the Gujarat model of development in all the other states, kickstart industrial growth, and turn India into the land of milk and honey. That the Gujarat model could be intrinsically flawed is being pointed out by feeble voices that are drowned amidst the din of the Hindu brigade calling for change. That Modi and Gujarat have a poor human rights record in comparison with the rest of India is conveniently glossed over. For the moment, however, let us assume that it’s all hunky-dory in Gujarat, and let us look at Modi’s leadership style that has been on display since the start of his quest for prime ministership.

Firstly, it has taken eons for Modi to step into TV studios. And now at the eleventh hour, it’s obvious that his media appearances have been so carefully choreographed and stage managed with biased TV hosts that it’s embarrassing, to say the least, and makes a mockery of TV journalism in this day and age. For example, the Ghoshnapatra format was changed to suit Modi with three relatively unknown, visibly terrified journalists quizzing the soon-to-be-king. Gone was the aggressive crowd of journalists and critics that spewed venom in a free-for-all “feed them to the lions” setting that the likes of Arvind Kejriwal and Yogendra Yadav were subjected to at previous Ghohnapatra shows. Clearly, when it comes to sheer courage to face up to issues head-on, it is undeniable that our PM-hopeful is found to be wanting. And this is troubling, to say the least. On the one hand, Modi has been moving around the country, unleashing some catchy rhetoric, laced with biting sarcasm, tempting inducements, and veiled promises of a rosy future. Ironically, for a man who has all the answers, Modi seems to want to hand-pick the questions and the hosts when it comes to his interviews.

In the real world, BJP supporters beat up and attack opponents. The BJP cadres have already started unleashing violent attacks on perceived enemies like Arvind Kejriwal, Somnath Bharti, and AAP volunteers. They leaders are being singled out for attack, perhaps because their supporters are believed to be smaller in number and therefore incapable of proportionate retaliation.

Sadly, the online world is no different. BJP trolls hurl abuses and target their critics. What does it take for Modi to keeps his forces in check and not allow them to go so overboard that it becomes impossible to have a civil dialogue or healthy debate on any topic whatsoever, both online and in the real world? Modi has never bothered to call upon his supporters to exercise restraint. He has never condemned such attacks. What message does his silence communicate? One of the worst outcomes of the Modi mania is that it has throttled public discourse. This is yet another opportunity to display leadership that Modi has shied away from, not only on the odd occasion but repeatedly.

Bihar's BJP leader, Giriraj Singh, stirred up a controversy saying that those opposing Narendra Modi would have to go to Pakistan after the Lok Sabha elections. VHP chief, Praveen Togadia, says Muslims should not be allowed to buy land in Hindu dominated areas. Yet, Modi has remained silent. Unfortunately, this is the norm for Modi and not an aberration. For instance, he has never said a word about Maya Kodnani, first MLA to be convicted in a post-Godhra riots case and former minister in his cabinet.

Then there is the mysterious snoopgate scandal where Modi as CM of Gujarat abused state power to keep tabs on a young woman by tapping her phone and her tracking her movements. The Sangh Parivar has never been known for being woman–friendly. With Modi at the helm, what can the women of this country expect? It is a frightening thought. Will the Sriram Sena influence and police women’s issues? Is there even a remote hope for a women’s reservation bill in an NDA administration? These are genuine and legitimate concerns and Modi has done little to quell such fears. Once again, an opportunity to display leadership that has gone abegging.

In addition to these external challenges, Modi has plenty of intra-party challenges that test his leadership. It’s well-known that many in his party leadership view him with suspicion and are at best reluctant co-travelers in this Modi-mania. Also, his right hand man is Amit Shah, a man with a dubious track record. Does Modi believe in seeking inputs in the decision making process or is he an autocrat like his critics believe? His track record in Gujarat indicates the latter rather than the former. For instance, after all these years, Modi still holds on to the home ministry in Gujarat. Despite being in power for three terms, there is no sign of a second line of leadership. Modi has done little to address these concerns, implying an inherent inability to build consensus or be inclusive and a general lack of trust even in his own team.

There is a Modi wave, we are told. Amit Shah predicts it will turn into a tsunami. Perhaps he is right. The tsunami is a destructive force - powerful, irresistible, yet devastating. It’s the fear of this devastation post-election that is terrifying Modi’s opponents the world over and with valid reasons.

Effective leaders are not afraid to take on the most difficult issues of the day head-on. Besides, they step up and are “leader-like” in most matters. Modi has continued to pass up on so many such opportunities that seem to present themselves, almost on a daily basis. Sadly, even a small positive step from him in this direction will go a long way in calming nerves and improving the overall tenor of public discourse during a crucial election.

In the interest of the country at large, let us hope that he seizes on such opportunities to display his leadership while still on the road to Delhi, because, as of today, he bodes fear more than hope, distrust more than confidence, belligerence more than calm, and war more than peace. more  

Gupta jii you said it! We must gear up for Delhi NOW and aim at 50. more  
Col. Rajender Ji. Modi got 60% in Gujarat and had a good control on Government. In LS, BJP will not get more than 40% and will require partners. AAP is expected to get 15% popular vote overall across the country and 8% seats.
It is time we recapture popular mood in Delhi. And aim at not less than 40 seats. more  
Dear Guptaji With AAP on the scene no chance of Modi getting 60%. If that be so, we can well imagine the plight of his Govt, if at all he does make to it . more  
Modi had succeeded in Gujarat because of securing comfortable majority with over 60% seats in successive elections and feeble Gopposition. Things are different at national level. Congress and BJP put together have
secured on an average not more than 60% seats. Regional parties and others are getting balance 40%. Assuming BJP gets 40% seats this time, it has to stitch a coalition bringing over 10% of these seats. Some compromises will be made that will make party vulnerable.
Believe me, the party will not hesitate doing this at the cost of common man. That is the difference between them and Kejriwal. more  
I have a question "Can you serve India only when you are in power and PM" and not otherwise?
The straight answer is That the fight is for power at center when you have vast resources of india on your platter which you can distribute to people you like and be sure 90% of times no body would know .
The scams which we hear and know about are only 10% or maybe less of the total scams others go unnoticed as legitimate bIz.
Modi has put in so much money for campaign which we call in local man's language"VULGAR DISPLAY OF WEALTH".
I hope the country understands that this money would be required back many times more than spent after the elections are over and vote with a thought that is he sure who is he voting for?and why more  
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