DC Edit | Can Modi transition into a good coalition leader?

Challenges await modi's third term: corruption fight requires skillful negotiation amidst democratic compulsions

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise that there will be big decisions in his third term at South Block and that he will go on a hot pursuit of corruption should warm the hearts of his followers but he will come across impediments that he, as chief minister of Gujarat for three terms and as Prime Minister for two, has never faced in his mission. One may attribute these to the compulsions of democracy or coalition dharma but it will now require all the skills of a seasoned negotiator to steer his government down the road towards his stated goals.

Few today will deny that the first two editions of the Modi government have been marked by the cavalier attitude of the executive to treat the legislature as a rubber stamp. Important bills were moved in the House on a few hours’ notice with members of Parliament having little clue on what they were going to debate and legislate upon. Opposition voices in Parliament and parliamentary panels — which act as mini-Houses — were smothered. Government negotiators were seen repeatedly requesting leaders of the agitating farming community on the changes they need in the now-scrapped laws that sought to regulate the agriculture sector but to no purpose. Even when a bit of patience and the willingness to hear them out would have saved the government the blushes, not to mention several lives. That the BJP leadership was not willing to accede to the demands of its then-ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal, exposes its inability to meaningfully engage stakeholders. But the BJP was able to go on a solo cruise on such important measures, thanks to its numerical strength in the Lower House. Now that it has fallen short of a majority, it would need to revisit its methods.

The Modi government’s so-called crusade against corruption in its last term was marked by its abuse of both laws and law enforcement agencies. The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, a draconian piece of legislation originally intended at reining in the drug mafia with impossible bail conditions, was flung at political leaders even as courts were left wondering what evidence was there against the defendants. It showed not the commitment to hunt down the corrupt but a compulsion to intimidate opponents and dissidents.

Mr Modi, however, was right when he said that dealing with the “menace of corruption is a complex task” due to increasing political greed and technology will be an important tool in this mission of ending corruption. An honest attempt to strike at the roots of graft will enable the government to allocate more resources for development and welfare schemes aimed at the weaker sections of society. But it remains to be seen if Modi 3.0 will walk the talk on these counts.
( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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