Is the politican Modi hurting PM Modi?
The methodology of a street-smart politician had to be discarded and tools of persuasion needed to be picked up. To use a sports analogy, instead of playing games involving long rallies, he continued with the spirit of kho-kho.
Tuesday's labelling of Sonia Gandhi and her party as "hawalabaaz" is a continuation of the pettiness behind denial of the position of Leader of Opposition in Parliament to the Congress. The extent of hurt at being denied a visa became evident during his visit to United States last year by his boisterous chest thumping at MSG, the same venue where he was forced to cancel an event once.
Similarly, the cumulative grievance for being pilloried for almost a decade and half continues to mirror in his day-to-day utterances. After becoming prime minister, he needed to leave the past behind as his job required him to focus on the future. Forget a second tenure, Modi will find hard to run a government solely on the basis of a clear majority in Lok Sabha. Even if a victory stolen in Bihar may not ease his discomfort and eventually he will have to set aside his vitriol and break bread with the opposition.
How long can Modi and his team of loyalists complain that the Congress is not allowing government to pass legislations and thereby function effectively? In a country where elections are not fought on ideology and politics but mainly on accomplishments or failures of the incumbent, which party in opposition will allow the ruling party to have a smooth run? It is not enough for the BJP to claim that the Congress should act more responsibly in national interest because then it will be slammed that the ruling party can have no monopoly on determining what constitutes national interest.
The Monsoon Session of Parliament failed to transact any business because the BJP took no initiative before the session to discuss the controversies surrounding Sushma Swaraj, Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan. If the government and Modi claim that they were caught unawares by the ferocity of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, they will find few takers.
Probably the biggest disservice that Modi has done to his government is by his failure to rein supporters who targeted Vice President Hamid Ansari, not once but twice - during Republic Day and on International Yoga Day. When the government needed to marshal every individual for support in Rajya Sabha, it has done precisely the opposite.
The consequence of remaining in campaign mode is for all to see. GST will not only surely miss the April 2016 deadline but may now even be pushed back at least till 2017. With dialogue being conducted between government and opposition through newspaper and television headlines, the Congress is sure to up its ante on GST and demand further amendments with an eye on delaying the process.
After repromulgating on several occasions, government had to quietly bury the Land Acquisition Ordinance. Unless Modi decides to improve ties with Congress leadership at a personal level, any policy which requires legislative clearance is likely to come unstuck.
Clearly, Modi the politician is hurting Prime Minister Modi. On an urgent basis, he requires to delegate the task of taking potshots at the opposition to a senior colleague who is not identified with the coterie around him. The case for widening political engagement and entanglement with opposition parties couldn't be more immediate.
For the benefit of his government, the prime minister in him requires to steer clear of essentially political functions save election rallies. But in Modi-centric government and party, this is tall order. Sadly, Modi has become his own Achilles' heel. more