Listening to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech after the inaugural of the first train form Katra to Udhampur, I must confess that grudgingly I have started admiring the man whom I detested during the elections.
Ever since he took oath as Prime Minister after demolishing the UPA, his actions and his talk have started mesmerizing even die-hard skeptics like me. When he bowed his head while entering Parliament his gesture was hailed by most of the media but having seen politicians from very close quarters I dismissed it as a mere ‘Nautanki.’
But since that day he has not taken a wrong step. I have started wondering if this is the same man who was crudely and unabashedly abusing his opponents, including women politicians of the stature of Sonia Gandhi, Mamata Bannerjee and Jayalalitha to win cheers from what we called ‘front benchers’ in cinematic jargon.
The metamorphosis is almost complete. Given his grooming and his background of the RSS, I and many like me had expected Modi to launch a witch-hunt against his opponents to finish their political career for ever. But he has wisely left that task to the likes of Subramaniam Swamy who will only be too happy to indulge in his favourite past time-demolishing idols.
His speech at Katra while inaugurating the new railway-line has compelled me to express my sneaking admiration for Modi the PM as against what we knew of Modi as the CM of Gujarat.
He talked of making Katra a model solar energy station, of developing Jammu and Kashmir which has suffered a lot, of developing a common development plan from Kashmir to North East.
By contrast the Chief Minister of J and K, Omar Abdullah whom many of us held in high esteem, tried to hit Modi where it hurt most by asserting that the credit for bringing the Railways to Kashmir should go to former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpyeee, reminding Modi of the time when his party, the National Conference was part of the NDA.
When his turn came Modi took this sniping in his stride and magnanimously declared that his government would be carrying the dream of Atal Behari Vajpaye forward by extending the line to Banihal.
As if to show that the new colors of secularism he was donning were for real, Modi reminded the people that this was a very pious occasion by linking the on-going Amarnath Yatra, the Holy month of Ramzan and the access to Mata Vaishno Devi.
We had been told since childhood that the best way to raise one’s stature was not by erasing the bigger line but by drawing a line that was bigger than the other line.
Modi has done precisely that. One only hopes for the country that this change is for real because the mandate that the people have given him in this election puts a huge responsibility on him. Modi cannot be allowed to let down the hopes and aspirations of the millions like a novice politician who had promised to provide the solution to all the ills of the country had done some months back. No one in his own party takes that worthy seriously any more!
By: Amitabh Srivastava
Image Source: Narendra Modi
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