Bangalore, Aug 12: Two leaders, both crowd pullers, were seen speaking to the people over the last couple of days. One is Narendra Modi, who held a mega youth rally in Hyderabad on Sunday, while another is Mamata Banerjee, who is doing a lot of talking (as she always does) over the worsening crisis in the northern hilly areas of her state, West Bengal.
We saw the leaders having contradictory impact. While Modi spoke in a tune which showed that despite being a politician, he can still speak in the language of the common man of this country, Banerjee has proved again that she has lost the language of the common man and lacks the sensitivity to deal with crucial issues.
Modi speaks a lot of sense and never loses focus while engaging with his audience. On Sunday, he spoke on a number of issues and in an engaging tone. He spoke about India's vulnerable international borders, the growing insecurity of the youth, the idea of 'inclusive growth', positives of forming new states, his senior colleague L K Advani's tirade against black money and other BJP chief ministers' good show of governance besides paying tribute to N T Rama Rao, who had capitalised on the anti-Congress sentiments in the state in the mid-1980s.
Amid all this, Modi did not forget the political equation and slammed the Congress through each of the above-mentioned points.
Modi knows how to reach out to the common man through the latter's language and this is something what Banerjee utterly lacks. The way she has been handling the Gorkhaland issue is nothing less than playing with fire.
Unlike Modi, who asked that if Gujaratis and Telugus can live together in his state Gujarat, then why can't the people of Andhra Pradesh live in harmony in Telangana and Seemandhra, Banerjee is seen criticising and condemning the Gorkhaland supporters and resorting to a policy of suppression to make the protesters quiet.
Populist politicians like Banerjee try to use populism to shied their administrative failure. But it doesn't serve the purpose much. Banerjee had thought that an appeasement policy would have served her government in the disturbed hills and rushed through a tripartite agreement for a Gorkha Territorial Administration.
The inclusion of the word 'Gorkha' was enough to make the time bomb ticking and a decision like Telangana was enough to make it explode. Banerjee now has resorted to a policy of suppression and on Sunday night, police officers allegedly harassed some journalists in a hotel in Darjeeling while searching for Gorkha leaders. This is an atrocious ploy that Banerjee has adopted.
No matter how much the Trinamool government accused the Centre of trying to divide and rule, it itself is also at fault for handling the sensitive issue carelessly and yet claim that everything has been resolved.
Modi was speaking about inclusive growth while Banerjee has been pursuing a policy of exclusion. A disgusted GJM supremo accused during an interview that the chief minister misbehaves with people. This is perhaps the most straightforward and honest evaluation one has made about Banerjee as the CM, although she was known to be a pro-commoners leader once.
The people of Gujarat (at least) love Narendra Modi for his leadership and just treatment of all citizens of the state is a key aspect of leadership. Banerjee, on the other hand, has just pursued a mindless policy of appeasement which has eventually divided her state between the north and the state. Her predecessors had played a managerial role when it came to the hills but Banerjee brought down the standard further by choosing the path of confrontation.
Politics isn't just about votes and administration and governance are also part of the story. Narendra Modi is one of those rare leaders in contemporary Indian politics who have driven home this point. The rest, including Banerjee, has failed miserably.