PM Modi's I-Day speech: Are corruption & communalism his biggest foes?

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday gave his first Independence Day speech as the prime minister of India from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort in Delhi.

It was an appealing speech from Modi who took the entire nation by storm by his sharp thoughts and words before the Lok Sabha election three months ago.

Simple approach made Modi's I-Day speech appealing

The I-Day speech resembled his pre-poll speeches in which he used to express his thoughts and vision about the nation in clear terms. Even last year, Modi, who was the chief minister of Gujarat then, delivered the I-Day speech at Bhuj soon after the then PM Manmohan Singh wrapped up his at the Red Fort. It was a fierce attack by the BJP leader against a beleaguered UPA government of the day.

This year too, Modi maintained his trademark style while laying out the vision for the nation that he leads. From manufacturing to public toilets to communal violence, the prime minister touched upon various issues in his speech, making it a memorable one more because of his simplistic approach.
But a couple of worries remained and the prime minister, one hopes, would surely like to address those in details before his honeymoon period ends.

But why did the PM not speak on corruption? It has rocked Indian politics in recent times

The first is the issue of corruption. The prime minister did not underline this aspect in his first I-Day speech and that surprised quite a few. Never before in the history of Indian politics had a regime been completely decimated because of corruption (The Congress's tally went down from 206 to 44), a factor which made all the differences in the fates of two clean individuals named Modi and Manmohan.

Didn't Modi feel it important to address this issue any longer? In his Bhuj speech delivered on I-Day last year too, Modi had lashed out at the UPA government on the issue of corruption. Has Indian politics come off clean in this aspect? Only time will tell.

Communalism another worry: Can the PM rein in Yogi Adityanaths?

The PM's message on a moratorium on violence is another issue that causes a worry. Modi deserves an appreciation for raising this issue for it something which haunts the country even today. But also at the same time, people like Yogi Adityanath and the stand they take in the Parliament, the temple of a pluralist democracy like India, create a suspicion about the intention of the majority side. Is there a project to turn the electoral majority into a religious one in day-to-day governance?

Prime Minister Modi has come a long way since the 2002 riots and has established his leadership credentials through hard work. But for a lay member of his party who has learned and preached little more than Hindutva, can the temptation be resisted? The prime minister needs to find answer to these questions fast.

Modi's stress on governance & economy was good but why was he silent on graft?

Modi's task will only get difficult as he progresses from here on. His speech on the I-Day next year will be under a bigger lens of scrutiny. The twin issues of corruption and communalism will remain integral problems of his governance each day, every year.

Can Modi walk the talk? Among all the feel-good factors on a sunny Independence Day morning in 2014, a couple of concerns are worth pondering by an aam Indian.

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