Need for a democratic model of development

Special to Times of Oman

We all know that BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is pitching for the Gujarat model of development for the whole of India. The vast swathes of people are not clued up about this model except that it is based on what is known as crony capitalism. So let's skip the nitty-gritty questions.

Under fire from Congress, BJP has decided to highlight what it terms, tongue-in-cheek, the Vadra model of development where Robert Vadra, Priyanka Gandhi's husband, gets richer and richer.

Vadra, the party alleges, has made oodles of money from land deals in two Congress-ruled states, Haryana and Rajasthan — the latter is now gone to BJP. In Gujarat, the Adani group is alleged to have made billions of rupees through controversial land deals, courtesy of the state's Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Doubtless, the Adani group and Modi have denied the charges.  Likewise, and expectedly Congress has denied allegations about Vadra. This is the bane of India where you have spades of serious allegations floating around authorities and influential people but nobody takes any action.

When it comes to allegations of corruption and crony capitalism both the national parties are in the same boat. Whether it is the Gujarat model or the Vadra model, we can sense a high degree of crony capitalism and corruption.

What the people of India need is plain development guided by the principles of democracy.  In other words, whatever the model, we should ensure fairness to all.

It's interesting to see why BJP has beefed up its attack on Vadra at the fag-end of the election process.
It is, it appears, getting pummelled by Priyanka Gandhi's surcharged electioneering in Amethi and Rai Bareily.

It's just as well that she is showing flashes of her grandmother Indira Gandhi's boldness and emotional connect with people. Judging by the crowds she is drawing, it is safe to say that she has dwarfed the rival candidates in these constituencies.

True to form, she has emerged as the most virulent attacker of Modi and the Gujarat model. What has ruffled the sangfroid of BJP — which is now talking of 300 plus, not 272, seats — is that Priayanka's
Modi-baiting is reverberating through the length and breadth of India. Everyday media headlines scream about her electioneering news, which in large measure, consists of Modi-bashing.

This has, beyond doubt, spooked BJP. The result: release of CDs and documents regarding Vadra's land deals in Haryana and Rajasthan.

But showing clips of Vadra working out in a gym or sitting macho-style astride a bike that conjures up images of a playboy, amounts to a cheap shot.  Priyanka's reaction was that the saffron party was now scurrying like rats. BJP has asked for it.

The Gandhi family must surely have its own reasons for buttonholing Priyanka in Amethi and Rai Bareily. But many in the Congress party had wanted her to campaign across the country. Priyanka can tug at people's hearts so naturally and effortlessly.

BJP's development offer can be compared to a single mother's reply to her lover who pops the question. The reply: Yes, provided you take me together with my kid.

The saffron party's development agenda has Hindutva embedded in it. BJP is the political offshoot of the Hindutva-centric RSS, and therefore, it's no wonder that Hindutva is the soul of BJP.

Modi's decision to stand from the holy city of Varanasi, besides Vadodara in his home state, has a high symbolic value. He thinks this would compensate for pushing the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya to
the last pages of the party's manifesto.

Besides, the massive roadshow was aimed at influencing the Hindu voters in the neighbouring Bihar as well. The party hopes to corral 60 plus seats out of 120 from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh combined.

All very well. But the way some Hindutva protagonists, not necessarily from BJP, have overshot their remits one has doubts if the voters would endorse their views blindly.

The writer is a freelance contributor based in India. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.


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