May 20, 2019

2 years and Middle Class support base of Modi government

Modi Government and it Middle class Supporters

“What Modi has done in 2 years? We middle classes always are at receiving end of any government that come in center. The food prices are still very high, and are increasing…” You would hear these comments frequently among people residing in Cities. The wheel of expectations coupled with constantly evolving socio-political stories move so quickly in India that people very quickly forget the context in which they themselves had elected a government.

May 2014 was a watershed moment in independent India history. The new government came against a massive anger, disappointment and equally high Tsunami of hope and expectations. The duration of 2004-2014 were so disastrous on every count and yet we only saw some sort of public agitation on streets only for 1 year. I would think that in any other western country such a government would not have survived even first 3-4 years and certainly would have lost total public support post Mumbai 26/11 attacks. The tolerance of people of India with that government was higher than Mount Everest. The political arithmetic too was in favor of Congress plus allies.

If I contrast the situation during the decade of 2004-2014 and 2 years since May 2014, the rising voices among Middle classes now surprises me. Especially the ones highly vocal on Social media which favors BJP and Narendra Modi. That’s where the interesting fact of losing out the context so quickly by the middle classes emerges. That has been the story of Middle classes since decades, be it post Emergency or post Bofors scam.

The ‘reforms’ or governance of last 2 years of Modi government in contrast with any 2 years of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi government should give immense confidence, relief to the same middle classes, however they are not able to see the tide building up so far. The results in India take time to fructify, the changes appear very slow. But the amount of changes carried out by this government in any chosen field of your interest is very high. There are exceptions to this claim however, e.g. I personally do not see significant improvement in Aviation sector post complete ruination of it by previous government.

The biggest and most tedious changes are happening in Finance and Railways. The initial speed of results will appear too slow, because the wheel is being turned for the first time after it was jammed for full 10 years.

The 2 most visible area where the rapid progress is made are Electrification under Piyush Goyal’s ministry and Foreign affairs led by Sushma Swaraj. Other visible area are Jan Dhan Yojana and Mudra Loan Scheme, in which middle classes have no interest for obvious reasons! Same goes for the news media. Most news media would not want to spend money to capture news from hinterland about serious subjects which anyway do not attract eye-balls. And that’s where the challenge and biggest weakness lies for the present government. The Communication is in shambles. The Finance ministry which should communicate maximum with cohesive message, failing to even bolstering support among highly vocal BJP & Narendra Modi supporters. The Finance Minister is particularly in bad situation, he is criticized for giving interviews and criticized for not giving too by this set of supporters!

A new strategy of communication would be needed by this government, else we are staring at repeat of history….