When the world is applauding Prime Minister (PM) Mr. Narendra Modi this writer criticizes him. He does it because it is his duty. He will criticize whenever criticism is due. Complacency and euphoria are the deadliest traps for governments. In Australia Mr. Modi said that reforms should be insulated from politics. It is a good idea. The PM was referring to economic reforms. However even more important it is to insulate political reforms from politics. A recent development in Maharashtra illustrates this.
The previous Congress led government granted job reservation quotas to the powerful Maratha community and also the right of reservation to the Muslim community. This policy is pursued by most political parties. The High Court struck down the move because it violated the Constitution. The new BJP government is not only pursuing the same retrograde caste and community based reservation policy but will now approach the Supreme Court to overturn the High Court ruling. The BJP government is doing this for vote bank politics to please Marathas and Muslims. What happened to insulation of reforms from politics? Is caste based reservation desirable?
Mr. Modi talks about reviving the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. He talks about meeting the aspirations of India’s young generation. Did Gandhi, and do today’s young Indians, want the Indian national identity splintered into over 3000 castes competing with each other for useless crumbs thrown at them by politicians who promise them jobs without providing them education to qualify for those jobs? Apart from creating narrow vote banks based upon the destruction of a common Indian identity what have politicians achieved? Is Mr. Modi’s promise of a great modern India compatible with caste and community based reservation? Should not the BJP government opt for reservation based upon economic criteria and introduce universal compulsory primary education for all children? There is a yawning gap between Mr. Modi’s words and his party’s deeds. Even regarding reservation for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes the original provision in the Constitution was that it should last only for ten years to put disadvantaged sections on the road to progress.
While in Australia Mr. Modi also said that black money imperils security. He appealed to foreign nations to cooperate in unearthing black money. To which black money was he referring? There are funds injected into India by foreign nations to subvert or influence politics in this country. The vast amount spent in the 2014 general election which surpassed expenditure of American elections is just one example of such money. But the bulk of black money about which the Prime Minister and most Indians are concerned relates to illegal bank accounts held by Indians abroad. That money is generated by corruption within India. If the government wants to recover that money it does not need help from foreign powers. It needs to crack down against corruption cases within India. That is not being done. Mr. Modi won over America and won over Australia. Now he must win over India!