Promises Never Broken – Why Narendra Modi’s Claim in Bihar is a lie?
During his maiden trip to Bihar after Nitish Kumar’s dramatic volte-face, Narendra Modi claimed that his government ensures that all schemes are implemented unlike the previous government’s schemes, which, according to Modi, were not implemented and the consecutive governments before Modi never fulfilled any promises made to the people. Narendra Modi was laying the foundation stones for sewage and highway projects in Mokama, 100 km away from capital Patna, where he claimed that his government doesn’t break promises but fulfil them come what may. Modi also declared that he is gifting ₹3,700 crore to the people of the state as if he was doing charity when the money itself belongs to the people of the state. While saying these and making his signature tall claims, Narendra Modi cleverly avoided mentioning anything about the state of India’s economy under him, rather than the economy under the Congress Party, which he targeted. Modi avoided mentioning the several promises made by him that were never fulfilled, but we will try to see some of them here, though we know Modi isn’t lying when he says that he never break promises, because none of those promises stays intact or stable during their life-cycle, as he keeps changing them according to his own convenience and that of the RSS’ Hindutva mission.
We can start the evaluation with the election promises made by Narendra Modi in 2014. Modi and the BJP promised that the farmers, who have been suffering under the juggernaut of the anti-farmer Congress rule will usher in a new era of economic prosperity and will live a qualitatively and economically better life under the Modi government. But in the last three and half years of Narendra Modi’s unchallenged rule, the situation of the farmers worsened manifold throughout the length and breadth of the country. From Tamil Nadu in the south to Maharashtra in the west, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh in the centre to Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan in the north, farmers are continuously agitating against the Modi government, demanding a reasonable minimum support price for their crops, relief from the burden of debts, which is spiralling every year due to high input costs in farming, bad harvests, low prices and the compounding of the outstanding loan interests. The BJP rules in most of these states, these state governments, with the covert support of Narendra Modi’s government in New Delhi, killed and maimed the agitating farmers in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra by unleashing state terror on them. Still, the farmers didn’t end their struggle and Modi government didn’t deliver on its promises either. Despite the rise of farmer suicides due to debts, Narendra Modi’s government took no concrete steps towards resolving the agrarian crisis but did a hogwash in Uttar Pradesh, where it recently won power, by running a sham loan waiver, which actually didn’t benefit the majority of the poor and needy farmers.
Narendra Modi claimed that his government will provide employment to 10 million unemployed in a year, i.e. 50 million unemployed would be employed under different schemes of the Modi government by the time the bell of the next general election rings in 2019. In a country with a population of 1.25 billion and where, according to the 2011 census, 65 percent of the population is below the age of 35, this type of employment generation would have been a boon for the economy as it would have increased spending power of the common people, thereby would’ve helped increasing consumption, which would have increased demand for commodities and it would have meant more production and more employment opportunities for the workforce. But the promise of employment generation remains untouched. Amit Shah claimed a few days ago that the Modi government actually provided employment opportunity through the Mudra scheme, which was rejected a sham even by BJP veterans like Yashwant Sinha, as the Mudra scheme offers an average loan of ₹11,000 and it’s a meagre sum to start anything but an enterprise. Rather than providing employment opportunities to the youth and the unemployed workforce, the three-year-long rule of the Modi government actually reduced employment opportunities that existed in the country prior to Modi’s ascension to power. The Modi government’s survey itself shows that it could create only 641,000 jobs between July 2014 and December 2016, in comparison to 1.28 million jobs created between July 2011 and December 2013. This happens despite the BJP accusing the Congress of promoting a jobless growth during its 10-year-long rule. Even after the Modi government switching to the usual principal subsidiary status (UPSS) approach to calculate employment, according to which people who get work for 30 days in a year are considered employed, the number of unemployed still remains at 5 percent as per the Labour Ministry’s data. Modi should answer to the people about what happened to his promise of providing employment to the unemployed and bringing the “better days”- a cliche randomly uttered by his sycophants to dupe the people until recent past?
Even if we consider that Narendra Modi’s government at least created job opportunities for half the number of the people in comparison to the UPA II period and pardon him for breaking the promise of providing employment to 10 million people a year, we still bump into the issue of spiralling fuel prices, caused due to the high amount of taxes levied upon petroleum products. Narendra Modi and the BJP promised to end the “fuel-terror” of the Manmohan Singh government, which kept increasing fuel prices every now and then. The Modi government, instead of providing relief to the people, kept the taxes on petroleum products high and didn’t pass the benefit of lower fuel prices in the international market to the consumers, especially the farmers and common people, whose lives are connected with the price of diesel very closely. In this year, Narendra Modi ended the government’s role in determining the market price of petroleum products, it made the government merely a tax collector, while the big corporations. Since then the petrol and diesel prices increased significantly in the country. It’s only in the view of the forthcoming Gujarat Assembly Election that the Modi government slashed a small part of its recent hike on petroleum taxes. The tax on diesel and gas actually bears negative impact on the prices of essential commodities. These taxes and Narendra Modi’s reluctance to reduce the prices of the petroleum products gradually increased the price of many essential commodities in the last three years.
Let’s even, for a while, ignore the 180-degree volte-face by Narendra Modi on fuel price control. Let’s give him a benefit of doubt in the case assuming he allowed the oil corporations to control the pricing of one of the most crucial commodities whose price affect the economy to pave the way for higher tax collection from those companies.
Maybe Narendra Modi is not deliberately breaking his promises, but can we, the people of India, forget his melodrama last year, when he suddenly announced the decision to ban the currency notes of ₹500 and ₹1,000 in circulation and replacing them with new ₹500 and ₹2,000 notes? 86 percent of the cash was drawn out of circulation, rendering them useless, which forced hundreds of millions of people to queue in front of banks to get their demonetised notes exchanged or deposited. Demonetisation, as the exercise is called, was started by Modi with the assurance that it will end the menace of black money hoarded in cash by the rich and also it will end fake currency rackets and terrorism in India. The people of the country believed him and even Modi, a seasoned actor, made a melodramatic speech at Goa, which was then poll-bound, saying that he will fight graft and black money even if he is burned alive. Modi also said that after the initial 50 days of the demonetisation drive is over he will handover himself to the public and accept any punishment that they give him, should the demonetisation drive fails to achieve its goal of culling black money and ending terrorism. Since the failure of the demonetisation exercise in curbing any of the menace that it targetted and since the exposure of the fact that demonetisation decision wasn’t so clandestine and was known to many even months before Modi’s melodrama, Modi should have handed himself over to the people at the crossing of the four roads, as he promised. Narendra Modi’s demonetisation decision caused 150 casualties all over the country and he stands accused of the disaster and following his practice of never breaking any promise, he should have called a public trial there at the very same place and allow the people to pass their verdict. Modi is definitely the man who doesn’t break promises, but he doesn’t keep them intact even. They are just twisted, tweaked and manipulated to provide a safe playground to Narendra Modi and his coterie of Hindutva hate mongers.
Does Narendra Modi remember that he promised India rapid growth under the single tax – GST regime? However, the reports from the ground level showed that business’ suffered immensely since the GST rollout and that many small and middle-sized business units closed down, which left thousands of people jobless and forced the Swarajya Magazine to defend the economic catastrophe by drawing parallels to Darwin’s survival of the fittest theory. The promise that GST will take India to new heights of economic prosperity and will help the poor, as the government will be able to secure more taxes, looks like another scam, which hoodwinked the common people and jeopardised the economy, as more of the rich and the big corporations secured their interests but the middle and marginal enterprises suffered the most. The growth of a popular anger against the Modi government’s GST decision was visible in Gujarat, where most of the affected traders are now looking beyond the BJP’s Hindutva narrative and questioning the logic that made the BJP disrupt the economy. Probably Modi wanted his fund-raiser Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani to enjoy the moment and increase their wealth by capitalising on the economic chaos. It may be a reason why Adani and Ambani are experiencing a fast growth in their wealth, while India is scaling down to 100th level in global hunger index from 97th last year. Narendra Modi may not be interested in these figures; nobody from the Sangh Parivar is actually interested because at the end of the day Hindutva is moving ahead. That’s enough dosage for them to live as the corporate donations will keep flowing along with foreign doles from CIA and the Mossad.
It was definitely a fun to see Narendra Modi claiming that he has a roadmap to deliver all promises made by his government, which actually renamed many of welfare schemes started by previous governments to usurp credit and limited the number of beneficiaries of those schemes to maximise government’s revenue out of which grand statues of Sardar Patel and Shivaji are constructed while millions go to sleep empty-stomach every night. Narendra Modi doesn’t break any of his promises because he changes the promise very soon to something drastically opposite of what was said at the beginning. But the best thing is, while his hired cheerleaders may chant Modi-Modi during his events, the real crowd, reeling under the juggernaut of neo-liberal economic reign’s plunder, is actually disgruntled and angry. They are now preparing themselves for a greater struggle against Modi’s Hindutva fascist rule and the people are, slowly, promising of not letting Modi’s rule and his aid to corporations in plundering the country go unpunished, come heaven or hell. Narendra Modi must know that the people never betray on their promises, especially if they are about large-scale movements against an unpopular, sclerotic and rhetoric monger regime, which hoodwinked them for a considerably long period. Modi must ask his PR agency to prepare a more realistic and less ridiculous speech the next time he goes to utter the garbage somewhere. People are listening and Modi, the cunning politician, must know that a lot is at stake now as he nears 2019 riding the same chariot of Hindutva polarisation and with zero achievements on meeting promises made during 2014.
An avid reader and a merciless political analyst. When not writing then either reading something, debating something or sipping espresso with a dash of cream. Street photographer. Tweets as @la_muckraker