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Eight Years on, PM Modi scores high on trust, keeps detractors fogged

Google Oneindia News

The woman's confidence defines what most of the poor feel. That there may be delays and anomalies but under Modi's charge nobody can deprive them of their rightful claims nor steal from them.

Next week Narendra Modi will complete eight years as the Prime Minister of India or as he prefers to say Pradhan Sevak. Coincidentally, it will also mark twenty years of his life as a head of govt without any break.

Eight Years on, PM Modi scores high on trust, keeps detractors fogged

First as the Chief Minister of Gujarat and then as PM. This is a good juncture to pause and evaluate what puts him apart from his predecessors and why his detractors are unable to convince people against him. It would be an exhaustive exercise if one starts to recount all the schemes, programmes and policies which have worked in consolidating Modi's popularity.

While there is no discounting the fact that these policies and programmes are a major factor, it would be naive and even unfair to sum up Narendra Modi's journey as PM on these schemes and programmes alone. It is a journey from promise to trust. What started as a promise in 2014 was solidified into 'tried and tested' in 2019. Both the promise and the trust are still going strong. This is corroborated by the dozens of popularity surveys and polls one gets to see every few days.

In each one of them, Narendra Modi scores high on the ratings leaving his nearest rival far, far behind.

This trend hasn't changed even once in the past eight years. The only data that changes is the scale of the popularity. When Modi rose on the national political scene as a prime ministerial candidate in 2013, he had two parallel narratives to sell. His attack on the then UPA govt, most particularly on corruption and national security. And his Gujarat model which he projected as the model of corruption-free development.

Modi's blitzkrieg coupled with the UPA's dismal record ensured him a victory no one had managed in three decades. He rode to Delhi from Gandhinagar with a clear majority and the promise of a paradigm shift. He was careful not to promise too much too soon as it would take a while to fill the pits (gaddhe bharna) as he claimed. But the bureaucracy got the message early enough even if it was due to constant prodding.

Results started showing in the first regime itself. From ambitious targets such as toilets to Swachh Bharat to Ujjwala and ramping up infrastructure to seemingly minor things like doing away with attestation and prolonging maternity leave, Modi's vision touched every life. Those who did not benefit from welfare schemes, benefitted from easing of business hassles, quick passport delivery and simplification of dozens of procedural things.

And we are not even talking to big reforms like GST, OROP or Digital payments at every step. But even these measures put together cannot account for the support and popularity Narendra Modi enjoys at a time when politicians the world over get booted out on the smallest issues and barely survive one full term. No wonder his regime as PM has coincided with BJP's expansion both geographically and socially.

Perhaps, this can be best defined by the articulation of a woman I met just before the Lok Sabha polls in 2019. The woman who was looking for a house under the PM Awas Yojana like few of her neighbours had missed out on the list twice. But when asked who she would vote for, she firmly asserted 'Kamal Chhap'. When I pointed out her bad luck on the Awas Yojana, she was quick to retort that there must have been some confusion in the Panchayat office and that she would definitely get the benefit soon.

'Madam, Modiji hai na', she argued. 'Koi gadbad nahi hogi. Mera naam bhi jaldi aa jayega'.

The woman's confidence defines what most of the poor feel. That there may be delays and anomalies but under Modi's charge nobody can deprive them of their rightful claims nor steal from them. It may seem bit of an exaggeration considering corruption can never be zero. But it's the degree of improvement that counts.

How else can one explain the multiple electoral victories of the BJP (not just 2019 Lok Sabha) despite the challenging demonetisation, COVID pandemic and its aftermath. These were challenges which affected every household in small or big measure. Despite the crisis, common citizens made it amply clear that they preferred Modi to help them tide over their troubles rather than try other alternatives.

This faith that Modi is their best bet in times of difficulty is the real X factor which the opposition has failed to dent. By targeting Modi on his image they only strengthen what they set out to demolish.

(Smita Mishra writes on politics and current affairs)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of OneIndia and OneIndia does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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