Yogi Adityanath, a monk of the Gorakpur temple is the BJP’s choice for the UP Chief Minister. Read three articles this morning about the political significance of the Yogi’s elevation to the post of CM for Uttar Pradesh. Here’s a short summary:
Swati Chaturvedi contends that Adityanath as Chief Minister will put the Hindutva agenda centre-stage in UP. She writes, ” the Bharatiya Janata Party has now transformed its win into an expression of complete majoritarianism as Adityanath is a radical along the most delicate fault lines that bedevil UP. It seems that the “Mukhota” (mask) is well and truly off”. Chandan Mitra feels that Yogi’s elevation to this position augurs well for the BJP. His reasoning is: “If Narendra Modi is to repeat his 2014 performance of winning 73 of UP’s 80 seats barely two years down the line, he would need an efficient, authoritative leader who can help the consolidation of Hindu votes”. He further relents, “The English-speaking elite of this country has a deep-seated derision for those who don saffron robes and insist on religion, or rather dharma, having a place in politics”. Amit Shah has probably ensured that the BJP will contest the 2019 election with an even bigger focus on Hindu consolidation because he sees a Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance of opposition parties combining to fight the BJP. Akilesh sharma feels that like PM Modi, Yogi has to do nothing further to reinforce his Hindutva image to hardcore supporters. It is now for the SP, BSP and Congress to fight the Modi wave? Will they even try?
In his introduction to the 15th Anniversary edition of INDIA UNBOUND: FROM INDEPENDENCE TO THE GLOBAL INFORMATION AGE, Gurucharan Das points to the significance of Modi’s victory
A) Modi’s victory helped us attain dignity
B) Modi’s rhetoric during the campaign made people believe that anyone could aspire to middle class status and thus he has invited us to be more imaginative in thinking about the nature of human dignity
He appeals for a correction of our misguided notion about what constitutes a dignified life.
He writes, “If Indians won their political freedom in Aug 1947 and their economic independence in July 1991, they attained dignity in May 2014. This was the significance of Narendra Modi’s landslide victory”.
No political party has bothered to explain the difference between “pro-market” and “pro-business”. This has led many to believe that the markets makes the rich richer and the poor poorer and leads to corruption and crony capitalism. This is the REAL reason for the slow pace of reform. What we is glossed over is the fact that India experienced a golden decade of growth from 2002 to 2012. The GDP growth averaged over 8 percent a year and lifted millions out of poverty. In fact, this falsifies the Leftist view that markets would impoverish the working class.
Sadly, the congress party concluded after its 2004 victory that India’s free market reforms were not helping the poor and instead changed its focus to spending on welfare. This strained the economy and lowered investor confidence. The hopes of millions of people were dashed.
We need to correct our misguided notion about what constitutes a dignified life. Gurucharan Das points that the typical voter who elected Modi in 2014 was NOT a Hindu Nationalist. Rather, they were young, middle of the road person who had migrated to a small town. Modi’s call for Vikas became a code word for opportunity. Modi’s landslide victory invited us to be more imaginative in thinking about the nature of human dignity. Modi’s rhetoric during the campaign made people believe that anyone could aspire to middle class status. Gurcharan Das is more than hopeful. He contends, “ India has in Narendra Modi an outstanding salesman of ideas who could transform the master narrative of its political economy”.
Ours is the age of rising expectations in the East. The big story of the past fifteen years is the story of continuing rise of China and India based on the liberal economic idea of the market. The rise of a third of humanity is good news for the world. It proves that free trade and multiplying connections to global economy are pathways to lasting prosperity.