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Is there an alternative to PM Modi?
The bye-election losses and the possibility of opposition's unity in the upcoming elections has unnerved the BJP top brass and the party's supporters.

Out of 27 by-elections held in the last two years, the BJP has won only five. Some of these five wins have come in constituencies like Palghar where the opposition failed to unite.

Unable to stem the tide, the BJP along with its supporters is trying to project that there is no alternative to PM Modi. They are desperately trying to convince the public that the opposition has no viable leader. They argue that Rahul Gandhi and the regional satraps like Mulayam Singh, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Chandrababu Naidu, etc will fall prey to their personal ambitions and fight amongst themselves. In saying so, the BJP reminds of what had happened during the tenure of the VP Singh-led government which had failed to provide a stable and effective government owing to infighting and clash of ambitions between PM VP Singh, Chandrasekhar, IK Gujral and HD Deve Gowda. They argue that the people of India should therefore not vote for a united opposition and instead opt for the BJP and PM Narendra Modi.

2019 general elections will be all about what kind of India we want!

I want to submit to the wise voters of India that the general elections 2019 are not about who should be the Prime Minister of India but rather about what kind of India do we want.

Do we want an India where we live and work in harmony without discriminating on the basis of religion or ethnicity as the army does or are we going to divide people based on caste, exploit minorities and lower caste people and destroy India?

Do we want an atmosphere of fear, hatred, intolerance and conflict in our universities and society or we want an atmosphere of amity, tolerance, peace and prosperity?

Do we want an India where we are free to eat and drink what we want; to dress as per our choice; to party, cut cakes and celebrate Valentine's Day or any other occasion as we want or do we want right-wing Hindutva-minded cultural fanatics to lynch us, beat us up and extort money simply for doing what we have been doing since independence?

There are many such questions.

Has the Modi government really performed?

Let us start with the Indian Railways. The entire focus of the Modi government has been on economically unviable bullet trains, super-fast trains and the Railways Minister taking social media calls from passengers and helping them. The reality is that the Railways are badly understaffed and mismanaged. Almost 30 per cent of trains are running late and in Northern Railway, almost 50 per cent trains run behind schedule. People are so fed up that last month angry passengers of a Gaya bound train which was stopped at Manpur station to give way to Rajdhani pelted stones at the Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express while it was passing Manpur station. At least six persons were injured as glass panes of the train broke. Under the BJP, the Railways has become so inefficient that the Army had to construct a foot over bridges at a railway station in Mumbai to ensure passenger safety.

In the field of development the entire focus of the Modi government is on building highways and expressways. It has no concern for ordinary people living in cities and villages who suffer from acute shortage of drinking water? The allocation for development of catchment areas and water resources is not even one tenth of the allocation for roads. Do we want a government that is insensitive to the needs of the aam admi?

The fact is that our government is making a fool out of us. The government fixes minimum prices for agricultural products but does not procure and the farmers are driven to bankruptcy. Demonetisation further impoverished the poor who depend on cash for earnings. It has finished the real-estate market, construction industry, marble industry and thousands of small businesses leaving millions without work. The government announced 90,000 vacancies in the Railways but I am ready to bet that not even one person will be appointed during the tenure of the present government.

Implementation of GST is in a mess. Many revenue offices do not have the required hardware, software and trained personnel. One revenue department officer said that the claims for refund are more than the collection. Exporters are crying for refunds. Who knows the truth? The government ensures that all adverse information is not available to the public.

Modi ji has been distributing gas cylinders to poor ladies. That is laudable. To do that he has stopped MNREGA and other subsidies. Many amongst the poorest cannot get rations because they do not have money or Aadhar cards. Of what use is cooking gas when you have nothing to cook?

Crores have been spent on building toilets but they cannot be used because there is no water.

The government wants a cashless society and a digital economy where 30 per cent of the population is barely literate, 80 per cent of the people do not know English or how to use a credit card, computer or ATM and most of India's 600,000 villages do not have banks or ATMs. Thirty per cent of visits to ATMs are fruitless as there is no cash. According to the SBI Chairman Rs 40,000 crore is the shortfall in currency under circulation. Only the aam admi suffers.

All institutions are in a mess. The Lokayukt has not been appointed in 4 years so that no one can complain. Courts are under staffed by 40 to 50 per cent and vacancies of judges are not being filled because only saffronised judges are acceptable. Vacancies of teachers are not filled in government schools. We even had an HRD minister for a short while who could not place her educational qualifications for public scrutiny. C grade TV actor whose main qualification was that he had essayed the role of Yudhisthira in a TV serial headed the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). Deputy CM of UP Dinesh Sharma barely a week ago said that Sita, wife of Shri Ram, was a test tube baby. A BJP MLA in UP rapes a woman and has then has her father beaten to death by the police. It required intervention by the courts to get him arrested. None of the cow vigilantes who killed innocent people have been put on trial, let alone been convicted. Modi ji is silent on these issues.

GDP growth is manipulated. Surgical strike on Pakistan did not reduce ceasefire violations. They are actually on the increase. Killing insurgents never ended insurgencies. When an insurgent dies, another takes his place. Peace comes only when the cause or outside support can be removed.

Modi ji has made 81 foreign trips in 4 years. All foreign leaders including American, French and Chinese Presidents are his "hug-able" personal friends. Yet China provides unconditional support to Pakistan, refuses to declare Hafiz Saeed as an international terrorist and will never allow India into Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) or become a member of UN Security Council. Border and trade issues remain unresolved, Modi ji claims to be a personal friend of Donald Trump. Yet Trump has imposed duties on Indian steel and aluminium, forced India to reduce import duty on Harley-Davidson motorbikes, cut number of H1B visas and is likely to stop spouses of these visa holders from working in the US. What has India gained in real terms from these visits?

Who benefitted most from the BJP government?

The prime beneficiaries are old and unproductive cows, bulls and bullocks. They are being sheltered in gaushalas at government expenditure in BJP ruled states or are roaming the streets, eating garbage.

Next to benefit are the "gaushala owners", who mostly belong from the Hidutya brigade. They get Rs 70 per day per animal (widows get only Rs 25 per day). How much do they spend? Your guess is as good as mine.

RSS members are also prospering. President, PM, all governors, male chief ministers, ministers and heads of institutions are from the RSS or VHP. Being a member of the RSS is today like being an alumnus of the Doon School of the British era.

AVBP is also having a great time. With the support of BJP leaders and police, they beat up students of other unions and teachers whenever they feel like.

Last but not the least to benefit is the top 10 per cent of India. The government is of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. Petrol prices are denting the budget of the lower middle class. The fate of farmers and tens of millions of educated unemployed hang in balance but who cares.

It is for people to judge whether Modi ji is a great PM or a great orator and dream seller. It is for the people to decide whether Modi ji or Mohan Bhagwat should frame policies of the BJP government and who the real ruler of India is.

Alternatives to PM Modi

Now I will suggest two names for PM in place of Naredra Modi. My first choice is Yashwant Sinha. He is an IAS officer with 26 years of service, politician and a former Finance Minister (1990–1991) during the Chandrasekhar and the Minister of External Affairs in the Vajpayee government. He was a senior leader of the party before he quit the BJP on 21 April, 2018. He is a vociferous critic of Modi. A man of impeccable reputation, he is senior enough to command respect among all opposition leaders and keep them united. To me he is like Mahathir Mohamad, former PM of Malaysia who returned to politics at the ripe old age of 92 to fight his own party and protege to save his country from ruination.

My second choice is Kamal Nath of the Congress. He is the longest serving member of the Indian Parliament. He has been elected 9 times from his constituency. An MP since 1980, he served as Minister for Environment and Forests from 1991 to 1995, Minister for Textiles from 1995 to 1996, Minister for Commerce and Industry from 2004 to 2009, Minister for Urban development from 2009 to 2011 and Minister for Highways and Road Transport from 2011 to 2014. A man of impeccable reputation, he is most experienced and senior enough to command respect If Yashwant Sinha becomes the PM, he would be my choice for Finance Minister.

Conclusion

To conclude I would say that I find it ridiculous for people to say that Modi ji is irreplaceable. In a country of 1.25 billion, there are thousands of talented persons who are more educated, more capable, more visionary, more humble, more caring and more patriotic than Modi ji. God and the hour will produce the man.

I also have no doubt that the BJP will fail to split the opposition by raising silly question about Modi's successor. Rahul Gandhi and other leaders of the opposition parties are not selfish fools. They are not seeking personal power but a secular, socialist and federal India. I have no doubt that they will make all sacrifices necessary to defeat the neo-liberal economists and Hindutya brigade that seeks to destroy the plurality, amity and diversity of India.

You have to decide whether you want a saffron India with anti aam admi neo-liberal economic policies or a secular, socialist and pluralistic India where all are free to do their own thing and vote accordingly. The choice is yours.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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