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How will Modi deal with India's liberals?

June 15, 2019 09:04 IST

'He can at least invite them for tea in small groups once a month on Sundays.'
'If nothing else, he will have the pleasure of ruining their weekend,' suggests T C A Srinivasa Raghavan.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

This article makes a point that I have made a few times before, but which seems worth repeating: Narendra Damodardas Modi has been compared to many heads of government, but there is one man who he has not been compared to: Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th president of the United States.

Nixon was forced to resign from office because of the relentless pursuit by the liberal establishment of the eastern side of America -- Nixon was from the West.

He is now regarded as one of the most successful of the 20th century US presidents.

Nixon had to quit because he broke some American law.

But that was merely the excuse for the 'liberals' to intensify the pursuit.

The hounding had begun almost as soon as he was sworn in.

American liberals had decided long, long ago that he was unfit to govern the US -- as if their darling, John F Kennedy was.

Nixon could do nothing right, just as for India's liberals, Modi can't.

 

In the end, if nothing else, that Nixon episode proved one thing: There is no one more dangerous than a liberal out on a fox hunt.

It also showed that the illiberality of the liberals is one of the greatest paradoxes of our time.

A great deal has been written on the subject, but the depravities of the deeply devout continue to defy explanation.

In a most disturbing echo of the Nixon experience, India's urban liberals decided long ago that Modi was unfit to govern India.

And ever since May 2014, this lot has gone after him with absolute single-mindedness.

So much do they detest Modi that they are quite prepared to side with fools, villains, charlatans and crooks instead.

But the 'Remove Modi' project has gone awry now.

Nixon, too, had got re-elected in 1972 until his foolishness led to his downfall.

The question, therefore, is if this could happen to Modi as well.

By now it is well-known that Modi loves to exaggerate, at least on public platforms.

In private, however, from what I have gathered, he seems to be completely different.

Now in his second term, he should ask himself what he can do to present the real Modi to the country.

His Roosevelt-like Mann Ki Baat chats have clearly not done the job.

Modi may think he doesn't need the liberals -- Nixon made the same mistake because of his inferiority complex -- or he could try and cultivate them.

He should also start rewarding the liberals because most of them are anxious for recognition.

To be sure, some of them may reject the rewards, but I am willing to bet that most of them will be glad to be co-opted.

Even if he doesn't want to give them some official post, he can at least invite them for tea in small groups once a month on Sundays.

If nothing else, he will have the pleasure of ruining their weekend.

The pleasure will be doubled if his guests go out thinking "Hey, he is not such a bad sort, after all."

T C A Srinivasa Raghavan
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