How PM Modi ‘Endeared’ Himself To Critics And Cynics


(MENAFN- IANS) New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) In 2014, when Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister for the first time and switched base from Gujarat to the national capital, it not only triggered a wave of celebration across large swathes of the country, but also gave a handle to the critics, cynics and baiters to launch a series of diatribe against him.

Many personalities, especially from the learned class, made ominous prophesy over the fate of the country with a leader of 'no or little experience' at national level taking over the reins.

Narendra Modi, in his trademark style of dealing with dissenters and detractors, chose to stay mum and let his action speak louder than words.

He, however, ascribed his 'first tryst with the Parliament' to God's will and vowed to take the nation on a new path and destiny. The motto of the Modi government in the last 10 years, 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas', is a shining example of his vision and resolve for inclusive growth of the country.

Besides the vitriolic attack by the opposition parties, Modi govt 1.0 and 2.0 has been at the receiving end of some noted political watchers and journalists on several issues, ranging from India's diplomacy to China policy to CAA to GST to 'corporate-friendly' policy.

Over the years, critics, cynics and the staunch detractors made no bones about tearing into the current dispensation, but call it Modi magic or Modi charisma, the shriller and strident voices of criticism are either getting toned down or fizzling out.

The 'Modi-baiters' are increasingly seen shifting gears and are now looking more like 'Modi-praisers'.

Taking into account a few examples will help fathom this shifting dynamics.

Senior journalist Vir Sanghvi has compared PM Modi to Margaret Thatcher, the first woman Prime Minister of the UK, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, the only US President to have served more than two terms.

Vir Sanghvi admits that Narendra Modi's juggernaut is headed for a clear third term. Drawing an interesting comparison between PM Modi and 'Iron Lady' Thatcher, he said the latter was a much-hated as well as much-loved personality, and no challenger could withstand her popularity.

“A lot of anger and frustration within the Congress is based on the bogus assumption that Modi is not popular, that he doesn't have connect with the masses. PM Modi has become force of nature, whose popularity can't be questioned, especially in North India,” Sanghvi admitted in a recent conversation with Barkha Dutt in the 'Mojo Story' show.

Leading columnist Shobha De, a fierce critic, has also become a 'fan' of PM Modi over the latter's sharp memory and immaculate communication skills.

Reminiscing about a rendezvous with PM Modi, she listed out many phenomenal traits and said that he has the ability to disarm anyone with his one-liners.

“For me, he continues to be a fascinating personality who connects and engages with the public, effortlessly. His charisma remains unmatched. He can command and disarm anybody he chooses to,” Shobha De recently said, while reiterating that her reproval and denunciation of the government will continue.

Then comes a staunch baiter and TV anchor with decades of experience, singing paeans for PM Modi.

Arfa Khanum Sherwani, a well-known critic, recently went gaga on her show and heaped praises on the Modi government for India's diplomatic victory in the Gulf, and also the resurgence of 'Indian-ness' on foreign soil and attributed it to the personal charisma and rapport of the Prime Minister.

In her TV show, she said,“It's a matter of pride that the Middle-East nations have conferred their highest honour on PM Modi."

She also lauded PM Modi for re-writing India's ties with the Gulf nations.

TV journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, who often finds himself in the crosshairs of right wing handles for his 'unrestrained' criticism of Modi government's policies, made a candid admission recently. In a recent news programme on 'The Lallantop', Rajdeep said that his son is a big admirer of PM Modi.

“My son recently went to Jaipur and saw four-lane roads. He came back and said look at what Modi Ji has done. When I said it was because of the efforts of Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, he said that 'no, there is Modi Ji'. This new generation...” Sardesai said.

Fareed Zakaria, a well-known Indian-American journalist, sees PM Modi emerging as the most important Prime Minister after Jawahar Lal Nehru and he credits the former's resounding success in Indian politics to his 'un-eliteness'.

He said that unlike the Gandhis, Manmohan Singh and Narasimha Rao, PM Modi comes from a non-elite background and this resonates strongly with the larger population of the country.

Further, decoding the USP behind PM Modi's immense popularity, Zakaria said the Prime Minister has stood for the 'pride of India', not just in the country. but also abroad.

Shehla Rashid, a former student of Jawaharlal Nehru University and a fierce opponent of the BJP regime, also turned heads when she described PM Modi as a 'selfless man working in national interest'.

In a gushing praise, she said that PM Modi keeps national interest above everything and doesn't even bother for personal popularity while taking 'radical' decisions.

Once a vocal critic of the Modi government over the revocation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, she hailed the 'bloodless' political solution to the state.

Surya Pratap Singh, a retired IAS officer with massive following on social media, pulled no punches in slamming the Centre as well as the Yogi (Adiyanath) government over their Covid management. However, his tirade is now directed more at the Congress, rather than the BJP.

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