With the dust settling down and people having more or less idea about which party stands where, the theatre has been now gradually shifting to the issue of manifesto and big ideas about how the parties plan to take India to the next level or lift it from the present predicaments. In this respect people were expectantly looking forward to top leaders from both parties to spell out their grand vision for India for the next decade of 21st Century. It now seems that BJP has a head start with their Prime Ministerial candidate clearly spelling out at least some of the core plans he has in mind.
Narendra Modi's speech was essentially a nuanced one and it seems that there is a realisation that audience for the idea of new India is a mature one which would no more be interested in dole outs and populist subsidies. In this respect one can witness perhaps a gradual change in Indian politics with a Prime Ministerial candidate of one of the largest political parties of India engaging with audience without mentioning or promising any subsidy in principle. Perhaps the idea is to create a more vibrant India from which automatically everyone would benefit without the need for special favours or populism.
Modi essentially delved on the 5Ts of Talent, Tradition, Tourism, Trade and Technology for bringing a paradigm change in India. He elaborated further that his core focus would be to extend the basic framework of Good Governance into the realm of Culture, Agriculture, Woman, Natural Resources, Youth, Power, Democracy and Knowledge.
Clearly avoiding on any kind of statement to appease any particular community and to have a pan India appeal, Modi delved into his vision of cultural resurgence of India through making the very concept of ‘Non Violence' as the top Dharma or religion of India as a canvas where all spiritual paths would have equal respect.
Narendra Modi's speech also made mention of two of the most ambitious projects of BJP's founders. He spoke elaborately on the necessity of having the river linking project initiated once again as well as the necessity of bringing back the black money stashed abroad in addition to framing laws for the same if the need be and using it for developmental work of the poor . Both the river linking as well as the retrieving of black money project have an emotional attachment with the party since they were ideas conceived by the veteran former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, who jointly metamorphosed BJP into one of the top two national parties of the country.
In addition to these, Narendra Modi's speech made special mention about creation of an IIT, IIM and an AIIMS in each of the states of India in addition to the creation of 100 smart cities and encouraging the concept of having satellite cities placed around a every major city. He also stressed on the need to take an underutilised Indian Railways into a new paradigm with the introduction of Bullet Trains running along the corridor of Golden Quadrilateral. Further he also stressed on the need for a price stabilisation fund for containing inflation and the need for the concept of health assurance replacing health insurance.
For those who have been waiting rather impatiently to see what Modi has to offer to the nation in terms concrete proposals, his speech at the BJP's National Council Meeting has essentially been a chartbuster. The prime reason for its success is perhaps in being able to connect to the audience and the issues are the ones which cannot be denied or disagreed upon.
The issues of lack of a quality AIIMS like hospital in every state, lack of growth as well as complete lack of new ideas in agriculture, the sheer lack of any modernisation of India's archaic railways, or for that matter creating a national market for agricultural market, creation of a large number of additional cities to ease the burden on the creaking infrastructure of India's existing cities, or the need to completely have a new paradigm of governance for taking the youth power, cultural power, knowledge power or the democratic pluralism of India into a whole new level are pertinent for India's aspiring educated lot.
It is for sure that Narendra Modi's vision for an idea of a new India was merely given a glimpse yesterday and perhaps in the days to come much more would articulated on his vision of India's security, defence and foreign policy matters.
It is also to be seen as to how other political parties respond to it. Mere announcement of populist measures may not be good enough to retain the attention of the electorate any more in today's arena. Massive electoral setback for Congress in the recently concluded assembly elections in spite of passing the Food Security Bill and the Land Acquisition Bill are testimony to that. India of today wants a new dream to be materialised. Whoever fails to see the change may have to pay a price electorally.