Distance lends perspective. That’s perhaps why in a cover story titled ‘Intolerant India — How Modi is Endangering the World’s Biggest Democracy’, the London-based weekly The Economist (January 23) has produced an incisive analysis detailing how the BJP, now in its second term in office at the Centre, is committing slow harakiri through a painful process of self-disembowelment. The three-page cover story reminds readers that in 2014 and again in 2019, the Narendra Modi-led BJP was given massive electoral endorsements because of its convincing new narrative of firing the engines of the Indian economy paralysed by the indecisiveness and corruption of the two-term Congress-led UPA-II government. And the BJP’s second electoral plank, recalls The Economist, was to end the corruption with which the UPA-II government had become synonymous.
Six years later, it’s clear that through its reckless currency demonetisation decision of 2016, and reluctance to legislate structural reforms to end Congress’ licence-permit raj and privatise the public sector, the Modi government has plunged annual GDP growth to a new millennium low of 4.8 percent, with unemployment at its highest in 43 years. Moreover, instead of knuckling down and reforming the economy, in a clumsily transparent attempt to divert public attention, the BJP leadership has ratcheted up anti-Pakistan war rhetoric and targeted India’s 215 million-strong Muslim minority, which has caused public outrage and provoked minorities, liberals and millennials anti-BJP countrywide coalition.
On the issue of ending corruption as well, the BJP has failed. The latest Global Corruption Perception Index 2019 of the Berlin-based Transparency International indicates that India has slipped two ranks to #80 out of 140 countries assessed, mainly because of the in-built corruption of the electoral bonds purchase scheme legislated by the Modi government. The moving finger is writing on walls across the country, with the BJP leadership too myopic to decipher it.