The whole purpose of the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on Friday night was after all political. As the PM struggles for numbers as a minority government he had to explain to the nation the rationale for the immediate economic hardships inflicted on the public in order to secure the long term economic survival of the nation. He did that with the commendable skill of a bureaucrat and an economist. But he said nothing to address the challenge that confronts his government which is primarily political.
The Indian public can bear hardship. It has borne hardship before. For example, it displayed memorable capacity for sacrifice during the Sino-Indian conflict of 1962. What it cannot bear is the injustice of seeing the ugly conspicuous consumption of a ruling class that fattens itself by looting the nation’s wealth through corruption.
The PM did not spell out a single symbolic measure to indicate that the rich would also tighten their belts to share the nation’s hardship and burden. The PM did not make a single reference to indicate a new resolve to root out political corruption and to punish the guilty.
The public can put up with hardship and sacrifice for the nation’s future. But not when it sees the rulers of the land looting the nation through unchecked corruption. Therefore despite the PM’s economic logic his lack of political passion will most likely do little good to the government in facing up to its current crisis.