The general election, with only the first round over, poses a challenge to Narendra Modi. He promised the twin attractions of a Hindu Rashtra for his people smarting under the Nehruvian secularism, and Achhe Din (good times), through employment for the aspiring youth, relief to farmers who had been crushed under backbreaking and spirit-sapping debt ever since liberalization first began twenty-five years ago under PV Narasimha Rao, and rapid development that would allow industrial giants to realize their full potential.
The Modi years may well be remembered just for four things – demonetization that traumatised the poorest as much as it did the middle classes, the bovine laws that killed scores at the hands of Hindutva lynch mobs and jeopardized agrarian economy already reeling under farmers suicides, a chilling targeted hate campaign that has polarized the country and incited violence, and finally, entirely alienating Dalits and Tribals by trying to withdraw laws that protected their lives and their homes.
The suicide bombing of a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Kashmir by a terrorist killing 41 troopers shocked and outraged the country. They had been led to believe that the macho and muscular Modi’s political doctrine backed by the military were in absolute control in Kashmir. The pellet guns, the infamous tying of a civilian to a jeep by a young major, and the elimination of major commanders of sundry terror groups were supposed to have taught handlers in Pakistan a lesson.