Even if you are a fully paid-up bhakt sold into the bogus theology and mythology of Narendra Modi, it is clear that for all the bluff and bluster, the “Gujarat Model” has crashed and burned big time at the national level.
Many among his flock are uttering the dreaded four letters, KLPD: Kab Lautenge Puraane Din?
The RBI’s official stamp on the #DeMonestisationDisaster and the latest GDP growth numbers this week are only the latest indicators that the gap between hype and reality, between promise and deliverance, is getting wider.
No amount of chest-thumping, tom-tomming, threatening, tweeting, or trolling is going to change that before the 2019 elections—which is perhaps why the ETA (estimated time of arrival) for ‘Achche Din‘ has been conveniently shifted to 2022, which arrogantly presumes he will win again.
Well, what if he doesn’t?
Against the backdrop of perhaps his worst month in office—if you add the Supreme Court’s 9-0 #RightToPrivacy verdict and Ahmed Patel‘s “victory” in the Rajya Sabha elections to DeMo and GDP, not counting various rail and hospital disasters —the prime minister is set to “reshuffle” his cabinet.
Because “scientific temper”, which is written into the Constitution of India is an alien concept with Hindutva hotheads, Sunday is the promised shubh din when some people you didn’t know existed will stand before the President and take oath.
A bunch of BJP ministers have resigned to be assigned “party work”, NDA alliance partners like Nitish Kumar‘s JD(U) and Chandrababu Naidu‘s TDP will join in, states which soon go to the polls like Punjab and Karnataka will get a shoo-in.
The moment Modi climbs into Air India One to fly off to China for the BRICS summit, the orgasmic delight of the reshuffle will dissipate.
End of story.
But if he doesn’t want 2019 to be the end of his story, Narendra Modi should drop the tokenism of a mid-term reshuffle and use the opportunity provided by tomorrow’s, to precisely do the kind of things the 31 per cent who voted for him expected of him.
1. Stop seeing the cabinet reshuffle as a token exercise that he has to undertake per se because of the needs of the party or because of the urgent need to refurbish his image after the serial battering it has received recently.
See it as a grand chance to make a course-correction. Admit that things have gone awfully wrong and that it is time to set things right drastically.
2. Think out of the box and create brand-new portfolios which have not been in existence before. For example, the only factor he is going to be judged on in 2019 is jobs. Did he live up to his promise of creating enough of them?
So, instead of filling the vacancies Congress kept filling for 60 years, infuse new ideas and unleash new energies. Create targetted ministries to tackle immediate issues, like a full-fledged Ministry for Job Generation. Or a Ministry for Social Harmony. And so on.
3. Tap for talent outside the shallow BJP pool: It is blazingly obvious that the BJP is suffering from a talent deficit. It does not have the intellectual bench strength like the Congress. Plus, it does not trust anybody who doesn’t wear khaki shorts inside.
To get out of the logjam, like Rajiv Gandhi in 1984 or P.V. Narasimha Rao in 1991, Modi needs to tap outside the shallow waters he is lapping around in. Get the best man (or woman) for the jobs, instead of having to rely on the usual two-and-a-half yes-men he has surrounded himself with.
None of these might yet resurrect Narendra Modi in the remaining time, but it is at least worth a try before the economy and the country hurtle into an unknown abyss.
At least it is a signal to his folk that there is more to him than empty slogans, speeches, advertisements, tweets, and trolls.
That is a doer, nor a coaster.