Rajat Sharma

My Opinion

Modi is post-independent India’s most popular leader

The results of five assembly elections have written a new chapter in India’s political history. No leader has achieved such a huge popularity from the masses since independence, and 100 pc of the credit goes to Modi’s magic. The people of Uttar Pradesh have blatantly rejected Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi, the Congress party’s strength in the assembly has shrunk to less than that of a small regional party Apna Dal, and BSP leader Mayawati was so much worried that she has laid the blame on EVM ‘rigging’.

One cannot fail to agree with BJP chief Amit Shah’s remark that Modi is independent India’s tallest leader. Modi achieved popularity within a very short time and this was nothing less than magic. For 13 years, Modi ruled Gujarat, but from November 2013 onwards, Modi toiled endlessly and crisscrossed the nation to establish himself as a national leader.

The 2014 Lok Sabha polls proved that he was India’s most popular leader. For the last three years as PM, Modi has not taken a single day’s leave, working 18 hours daily, and this was noticed by workers, farmers and poor people, who viewed him as a poor man’s icon. The result was: all caste combinations and Hindu-Muslim equations were smashed and all sections of people stood behind Modi.

In Uttarakhand, the BJP scored a historic victory, as chief minister Harish Rawat lost from both the seats he contested. It seems Rawat failed to feel the pulse of the people, whereas Modi’s popularity and Amit Shah’s strategy worked. They understood the mood of the electors, took risks in opting dissident leaders from the Congress, placated their own leaders and the result was a huge landslide victory.

The Aam Aadmi Party was so badly mauled in both Punjab and Goa, that its supremo Arvind Kejriwal did not dare to venture out of his residence. The LEDs that were hung outside his residence were quietly moved out and the crowds that were invited melted away as the poll trends came in. The credit for Congress victory in Punjab goes to Capt Amarinder Singh and the Akali Dal was not as badly mauled as was expected. The results showed that the people of Punjab, which was dissatisfied with the Akali Dal, refused to accept AAP as the alternative, and the Congress reaped the benefit.

The people of Goa and Manipur gave fractured mandates, but the BJP is hopeful of getting support from 3 MLAs to form its government in Goa, while the Congress is hopeful of getting support from 3 MLAs to form its government in Manipur.

The results were a stinging slap in the face of those opposing Modi. Rahul Gandhi had described Modi’s rule as “suit-boot ki sarkar’, Modi responded by launching pro-poor schemes like Jan Dhan and Ujjwala LPG. Kejriwal described Modi as friends of the rich, Rahul alleged his government was being run by Adani and Ambani, leaders like Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal were projected as alternatives.

These leaders were expecting Modi to lose in UP, then in Gujarat, and later in the 2019 LS polls. Modi today proved that he is unmatched in toiling hard, in executing schemes for the poor, and in invigorating his party. People will now be expecting Modi to rule for the next 10 to 15 years, and this seems to be the message that emerges from today’s results.

If BJP succeeds, it will signify mass approval for demonetisation

Exit poll projections aside, my gut feeling is that BJP may win 200 seats and form the government in Uttar Pradesh. The party may also form governments in Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur. If BJP forms governments in four states, it will be seen as the culmination of a sustained campaign by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It will also signify that the masses have given their approval to Modi’s demonetization move. It may also denote the trust the masses have reposed in the Prime Minister’s leadership, as Modi has frequently in his speeches said that his government was working for the benefit of the poor and downtrodden. Particularly, in UP, Modi’s campaign created a wave of sorts and Amit Shah used this to the hilt in the election campaign.

Catch those who are radicalizing our youths

Details emerging after the Lucknow encounter have made one thing clear: that these terrorists were “self-proclaimed ISIS supporters” and they had no direct contacts with the dreaded outfit. These terrorists became ISIS followers on the internet, made ISIS flags, and learnt the ropes of bomb making through the internet. The pressing need of the hour is to stop such youths from being radicalized. No doubt this is a tough job, but religious heads should come forward to guide such youths, and authorities should catch those people who are trying to radicalize and misguide our youths. One should salute the slain terrorist Saifullah’s father who has refused to take his body for burial, saying he has done an anti-national act. We should also appreciate the close coordination between the Telangana, MP and UP police in nabbing the terrorists.

Virat Kohli deserves praise

Indian Test captain Virat Kohli deserves fulsome praise for not only making DRS an issue, but for also exposing the Australian team. Nobody expected such an attitude from a renowned player like Aussie captain Steve Smith. One can see the replay in which Smith was awaiting a signal from the pavilion before going in for DRS. Smith knew he had only one chance left to seek DRS, and this surely went against a sportsman’s spirit. Such a behaviour from the captain of a professional team like Australia is shameful. India TV cricket expert Ravi Shastri has rightly praised Virat Kohli’s captaincy and he is hopeful of a repeat Indian win in Ranchi Test. Kohli had created a record of sorts by not losing 18 Tests in a row. His team lost the first Test to Australia, but it goes to the skipper’s credit that he did not lose hope, fought bravely with his men in the next Test and won. Such an attitude makes a player great and Virat Kohli has surely done that.

Rahul’s remark on PM’s age is unjustified

On Monday, the last day of campaigning in UP, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi remarked at a public rally that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become old and he should now take rest. Rahul is 46 years old and Modi is 66 years old.

If one makes a comparison, Prime Minister Modi has been working almost 20 hours a day and he has not taken a single day’s leave in the last two and a half years.

And yet, Modi never looks tired. On the other hand, Rahul, comparatively young, only addressed two rallies a day in UP, and he often goes on holidays abroad for relaxation.

Compared to Rahul, his poll ally Akhilesh Yadav addressed 205 election meetings in UP, while Rahul addressed 51 rallies. BJP president 52-year-old Amit Shah is older than Rahul.

Shah addressed 153 public rallies in UP. So, judging by the number of rallies these leaders addressed, Rahul’s remark about the PM’s age seems to be unjustified.

After a lull, Pakistan restarts fake Indian currency racket

The seizure of Rs 56 lakh face value worth fake Indian Rs 2000 currency notes in Kolkata on Thursday, alongwith the emergence of Malda in West Bengal as the entry point for fake Indian notes, has raised concerns in the minds of Indian establishment. According to official sources, Pakistan has restarted printing of new fake Indian currency notes and is sending them via Bangladesh. When the Centre demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes on November 8, all illegal trading in fake currencies came to a halt, but it has now restarted. It appears that Pakistan believes in the doctrine of waging war, not only through terror, insurgency, guns and bullets, but also by pumping in fake currencies to weaken India’s economy.

Let separatists hear the voice of Kashmiri children

On Wednesday, when schools in Kashmir valley opened after a gap of nearly eight wasted months due to strikes and protests, school children voiced their concerns. These children clearly said they wanted politics to be kept out of education. Children want to study, but separatists want to keep schools closed. In some incidents, they even set fire to school buildings. Separatists in the valley may claim that they are fighting for the future of children, but they should understand that keeping schools and markets shut will not help children and shopkeepers. It is ironic that separatists fail to understand what the school children have realized. Let us hope the separatist leaders will listen to the call of schoolchildren, who want peace to be restored in the valley.