Anuj Gupta & Ajay Sudame

An independent minded, strong and decisive PM focused on development is India’s need of the hour. While Congress tries to build a phobia of Sangh parivar around an independent Modi (as shown by his track record), the shadow of Gandhi parivar has bound every single congress PM.

As the country inches towards what is being billed as the most important general election since the post emergency 1977 election, voters are being persuaded by all parties with a variety of arguments. Whether it is the politics of aspiration from Modi & BJP or the empowerment mantra of Rahul Gandhi & Congress, offensive and defensive strategies are in full play. Modi especially has taken the heat of a focused long campaign ranging from highlighting issues around his role in riots, to developmental shortfalls on social indicators like child malnutrition in his state.

Fortunately, recent judgments and data have brought clarity to many issues and Modi’s acquittal in the 2002 riots case and best performance in reducing child malnutrition among all states (CAG’s Integrated Child Development Scheme Report 2013), have left opposing parties scurrying to find new ways to weave a negative narrative around Modi. A key part of that narrative is the story being spun around Sangh Parivar with claims that Sangh members like RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal etc. will all cut loose the moment Modi takes over as PM of this country. Arguments in this line of thought galore with another one making the debut with Sudha Pai, a JNU academic, writing recently in Indian Express. According to Ms. Pai, the problem is now not so much the man himself but the company he keeps. In other words, having exhausted all means to bring him down, now the naysayers admit that the traveler (Modi) is fine but he doesn’t travel light and comes with lot of toxic Sangh Parivar baggage.

Ms. Pai’s selective amnesia strikes hard here: She just does not remember / fails to account for the fact that Modi has been a CM for close to 15 years now and the best test of independence would be to look at his track record. Let actions speak louder than rhetoric. If today Gujarat is looked upon as a role model state, it is because Modi has transformed the administration into a well oiled machinery by continuously stressing upon upholding rule of law and focus on development. So much so that in pursuit of this task, he has not even spared his so called friends, whenever they go wayward.

Modi’s independent role in sparing no efforts to control the 2002 riots is well documented by Supreme Court’s SIT. Similarly, not many know that, Gujrat government demolished more than 80 illegal temples in Ahmadabad even in the face of VHP protests. Similarly, last year Gujrat government arrested many VHP activists for attacking an art gallery in Ahmedabad, which had displayed Pakistani paintings. By allowing the gallery to take down paintings, Modi could have scored some brownie points. But he made sure rule of law prevailed. Wonder, how an independent minded person with this single minded focus on people’s welfare & development, will fall prey to “toxic” baggage.

Modi also seems to be unafraid to push the Sangh parivar’s traditional sensibilities to keep focus on his agenda of development. His famous pronouncement of “Toilets first, Temples later” brought back focus on the critical issue of sanitation which is the primary cause of child malnutrition. Similarly, he his well known for his unconventional Khadi fashion show to strengthen the industry, even after knowing it will not be well received by the Sangh Parivar.

All the above examples highlight an independent mind focused on enforcing rule of the law and ensuring development for all. On the other hand, it seems that it’s the congress PMs who seem to govern with a heavy shadow of the Gandhi parivar behind them and their decisions are subject to being torn up and thrown away in a fit of rage.

An independent minded, strong and decisive PM focused on development is India’s need of the hour. While Congress tries to build a phobia of Sangh parivar around an independent Modi (as shown by his track record), the shadow of Gandhi parivar has bound every single congress PM. It’s time Indian voters make their critical voting decision based on clear facts not propaganda of fear.

(Anuj Gupta is a BJP volunteer and an ex management consultant, tweeting at @anujg. Ajay Sudame is a senior finance professional from Nagpur, tweeting at @ajaxngp)