What is Narendra Modi’s greatest strength?
I’ll say that it is his critics.
There is something about Narendra Modi that drives them mad. Towards something I like to call “Modi derangement syndrome” (I did not invent that term… see also the related term Bush Derangement Syndrome from the early 2000s)
So the government completed 3 years in power on May 26. To celebrate this occasion, Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Dhola Sadiya bridge in Assam. It’s India’s longest bridge, nearly 10 km long.
It’s concrete development for the people of the neglected North East who have often received stepmotherly treatment from out Delhi centered discourse. It cuts down the travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh by some 5 hours. It sends a message to China that we will be assertive and forward in defending Arunachal Pradesh.
Who could possibly have heartburn about this? Only some poor miserable creatures in the media who suffer from Modi Derangement Syndrome (MDS). Like this from Timesgroup.
Cheap, absurd and jealous reporting.
But above all Mr. Prabin Kalita, let me tell you this. Your “reporting” is self-defeating. Through your absurd criticism, you have actually made people sympathize with Modi. Any rational person who reads this headline, even if not a Modi supporter, will agree that you are victimizing the man for doing something that is clearly in national interest.
Your MDS is helping Modi. Take that.
Now, this was not an isolated example. India Today’s DailyO also came out with this absurd piece.
Yes, the bridge has robbed boatmen of their jobs and helped out corporates. How much further will MDS victims go in their insanity?
Wait until you hear how this bridge is supposed to help corporates. Apparently, it will let them get their heavy machinery across to build hydel power plants in Arunachal Pradesh!
Now, the “independent journalist” who wrote this article probably did not realize that what she listed as a criticism is actually considered by most people to be an advantage.
Here is what this mediaperson thinks people are saying after reading her article:
Damn you Modi for helping corporates build power plants.
Here is what people are actually thinking :
Thank you Modi for helping to build hydel power plants.
Sometimes I wonder if Modi and the BJP themselves are paying for such absurdly negative coverage. Because such negative coverage actually helps Narendra Modi create an image of being the underdog despite being India’s most powerful Prime Minister in 30 years.
For the nation, the real danger of such negative reporting is not that it will help the secular establishment come back to power. That’s not happening at all. The danger actually lies in the cloud of public sympathy around Modi created by this negative reporting. This cloud of public sympathy is actually protecting the Modi government from real criticism over real failures.
Here is another recent example from The Wire which has recently started a new Youtube series with Vinod Dua bashing Modi non-stop for 8 minutes or so at a time.
In this episode, Vinod Dua makes the breathtaking claim that he does not remember any politician using the 1971 war for internal political advantage!!
You know Indira Gandhi imposed emergency when war began in December 1971 (which makes sense). The war ended in less than 3 weeks. But Indira Gandhi kept extending the emergency …not 3 weeks… not 4 weeks… the Emergency lasted all the way till March 1977.
(Remark : It is a lesser known fact that the Emergency Period did not actually begin in 1975. The “External Emergency” imposed during the Indo-Pak war began from December 1971 stayed in force until June 1975, even though the war was long over. In June 1975, Indira Gandhi merely added “internal Emergency” to the already existing “External Emergency”.)
So, Indira Gandhi used the 3 week Indo-Pak war to impose a 4 year Emergency and then added an internal Emergency in which Lok Sabha elections were canceled! But no, Mr. Vinod Dua cannot remember an example of any politician using the 1971 war for political benefit!
Modi’s detractors in the media are going so far overboard in their criticism that people are simply beginning to tune them out. When a genuine criticism comes along, the public no longer wants to listen. It becomes easy for BJP to dismiss all criticism as motivated and malafide because so much of it really is.
For instance, here is a genuine criticism. Why has the CBI under the current government given Manmohan Singh a clean chit in the coal scam? In fact, the former coal secretary H C Gupta who was recently convicted has repeatedly said that he did everything with full permission from Dr. Singh.
Instead of using Gupta’s confessions for indicting the former Prime Minister, it was actually the CBI that insisted in the court that Dr. Singh had been kept “in the dark”.
Why? This is for the people to ask and for Narendra Modi to answer.
Yes, there is no escaping the fact that Narendra Modi has saved Manmohan Singh in the coal scam.
There’s a genuine criticism right there. But it is all too easy for BJP to dismiss this uncomfortable fact along with the bundle of unfair criticism that Modi receives everyday. And therein lies the real danger to democracy.