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Modi: A journey of Hero to Zero in 40 months

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Narendra Modi

These were the heady days for nation when Modi came to occupy the seat of power in Delhi after putting an end to the ten years of UPA rule. There was lot of excitement and expectation among people and everyone thought that something very good is going to happen.

It was May 26, 2014 and a Bollywood starlet tweeted “Just landed in Delhi” “And even air feels cleaner, #AccheDin”. The crowd which thronged Delhi to celebrate PM Modi’s swearing-in breathed that purified air through the Modi mask which had been elevated to a fashion statement during long election campaign.

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In response to Modi’s triumphant speech, they enthusiastically responded to his call of “Achhe Din” with chants of “Aa gaye” in a symphonic chorus of sycophantic adoration. A nation saturated with meticulously constructed narrative of UPA non performance and policy paralysis had found faith in the mythological Gujarat model. On May 28, 2014, belligerent Modi had a tough talk with Nawaz Sharif , his Pakistani counterpart. On the same day Modi Cabinet in its first formal meeting constituted a Special Investigation Team to bring the black money stashed abroad.

The very next week on June 5, he gave a jolt to the bureaucracy, telling them their leisurely golf games are now thing of past and they should better pull up their socks. The decisions flowed thick and fast and the contrast with the earlier UPA Govt could not have been starker.

On June 11, the Govt asked Supreme Court to take a quicker decision on the issue of MPs with criminal background and on July 30, Govt introduced “lab to land policy” to increase the agricultural output and came out with the slogan of “more crop per drop”.

On August 7, the Govt announced increase of FDI in the key sectors of Railways and defence. A new irrigation scheme was announced on August 20 and Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana was announced on August 28 under which every citizen was supposed to get a bank account.

On September 17, which was also his birthday he sought his mother’s blessing under the glare of media cameras. Modi became savior of Indian Muslims on

September 20 when he spoke about the injustice done to them and on October 11 he asked every MP to adopt a village. On October 26, he conducted a series of meetings and defence projects worth 1, 20,000 crore were cleared.

It seemed as if Govt had its eyes and its mind everywhere. The focus area was fast identified with jet set speed and profusion. On June 24, Mr Modi focused on redressal of public grievances and improving the centre-state relations. Suddenly the needs of armed forces became a priority issue and emphasis to cut the red tapes in order to meet their long due requirements.

In his very first Independence Day speech on August 15, 2014 he talked about giving an access to a toilet for every Indian citizen and improving the lot of women in India. He talked about “Digital India” scheme to boost the education and healthcare sector on August 22 and on September 25, he launched his flagship scheme of “Make in India’ to boost the manufacturing sector in India.

Image result for narendra modi Americans at Madison square

He charmed the Americans at Madison square garden and even the audacity of wearing a suit with his name embroidered on it was forgiven when it was auctioned for a princely sum of 4.3 crores for the venerated cause of cleaning the Ganga and the nation cheerfully lapped up eulogies to his hotness quotient.

He hopped from one country to another in pursuit of India’s energy future and was hailed by media as an international rockstar. Australia was charmed and returned two precious antiques which had been stolen from India. Times magazine gave an impetus to his soaring image by declaring him as a person of the year.

The markets loved him and shops from Mumbai’s famed causeway to Delhi’s Sadar Bazar reaped windfalls from the sale of Modi merchandise. There were many stories floating in air like five reasons of why Modi is special and a 10 point plan by Modi to improve India in 100 days.

We also heard stories of Modi working tirelessly for 18 hours or more to bring the proverbial “Achhe Din”. The superman Modi had arrived with a magic wand in his hand and he was going to change the destiny of people.

On October 4, 2017 , precisely 1220 days after he became India’s 14th Prime Minister, a querulous Modi was reduced to fudging figures and lashing out at a handful of people for spreading pessimism.

The word on the street was too loud to be missed and it said “Modi is on back foot”. The dissenting voices are proliferating across sector as diverse as agriculture to industry to entertainment and beyond. Suddenly a large section of media rediscovered their voices and these voices are sharp, they are critical, they also excoriate. The opposition has upped its ante on social media which was once BJP’s monopoly and reduced party bigwigs to warning of a tool they once willingly appropriated to their ends.

Fact checking suddenly became the new buzzword and one time cheerleaders are turning apostate. The trusted allies like Shiv Sena have turned fractious and BJP’s own old brigade like Arun Shourie, Subramanian Swamy and Yashwant Sinha have voiced their astringent criticism openly in public and almost dared the party to take action against them, in full knowledge that the now beleaguered BJP cannot afford to have its own people talking in opposition’s voice.

Three years is relatively a very short time in politics, in fact too short a time for a messianic figure to thoroughly lose his sheen. On October 4, 2017,a speech to company secretaries virtually morphed into an attack on his critics and during the course of which Modi compared his critics to the pessimistic Shalya but altogether missed the moral of the story, “Always listen to your critics”

It was way back in October, 2015 when Arun Shourie had attacked party’s lack of original thinking when he pointed out the absence of viable road map in order to become a worthy successor of Congress. He was bang on as no less than 16 schemes of Modi Govt were only rip offs from the earlier UPA’s schemes and were repackaged and renamed projects.

Image result for narendra modi Intensified Mission Indradhanush

As Modi enters in the final stretch of his first term as Prime Minister, he has been reduced to someone who renames and reframes these same repackaged schemes with a few coats of irony. So, the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana is now Saubhagya.Mission Indradhanush which was first launched on December 25, 2014,to immunize children against preventable diseases but on October 8,2017 it was relaunched as Intensified Mission Indradhanush.

In tandem with Sinha, Subramanian Swamy also raised waves in September this year which resulted in giving a huge fillip to the opposition’s cause. He severely lambasted the Finance minister Jaitley and said that the economy was in a tailspin and if not corrected, would lead to a major depression.

In June, 2017, almost a month before the dramatic midnight rollout of GST was to take place, Swamy warned that the country is least prepared for it and suggested that 2019 would be a better target date. He further said that if GST is implemented as planned on July 1, “It could become our Waterloo”. Many frontline analysts and economists who echoed his views were conveniently brushed aside as cynics.

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Now in a short span of 40 months the charismatic, confident and the capable knight in the shining armour of May 26,2014 has been reduced to a petulant, fact challenged, constantly sulking Don Quixote tilting at the windmills in his own mind. The much in demand statesman has made himself to be a sulky, embattled politician, who is perennially in a campaign mode and needlessly

litigating an electoral battle he won convincingly three and a half years ago. Modi has suddenly turned into a panicky man who sees conspirators virtually everywhere.

There was once a messiah whose rise to the pinnacle of power in the largest democracy was greeted by adoring crowd in Modi masks in hope of their proverbial “Achhe Din”. Now all that is left of that euphoria and the national outpouring of hope is the dusty fibre masks, most certainly made in China.

 

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

 

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World gearing up for a third world war : UK warns of Russian threat

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There is a growing unease in United States and Britain about Russia  progressing in achieving “Eurasian Union” of former Soviet republics along the lines of the European Union under Vladimir Putin. Britain has warned that Russia is the biggest threat to UK’s security since the end of the Cold War. Drawing similarities with the 1914 First World war, UK defence secretary Gavin Williamson has equated Moscow to North Korea after Russia has threatened to unleash nuclear war.

Due to the Russians’ presence in the Mediterranean region and the Kremlin’s “increased assertiveness,” it is time Britain gets stronger, he said. This comes just a week after Britain ordered ships to pass the disputed South China Sea, much closer to the Chinese coast than the white cliffs of Dover.

General Nicholas Carter has also warned that Britain will be unable to preempt or respond to Russian aggression unless its military capabilities are overhauled to match Moscow’s military capabilities. Since 2000, Putin has been Russia’s most powerful man after the resignation of Boris Yeltsin, holding positions of both prime minister and president and had been consistently working to achieve superpower status for Moscow and global hegemony equivalent to US.

The West became cautious of Puin moves after the Russian seizure of Crimea in March 2014, followed by its annexation. UK former defence secretary, Sir Michael Fallon issued calls for increased defence spending, citing growing threats from Russia and cyber-attacks.

Fallon admitted that Britain has all the evidence of Putin’s intent to subvert western democracies, from the Netherlands to Montenegro, from Germany to even the United States.” “Through cyber, our enemies can target us anywhere on the planet: not only stealing our information, but exploiting us, coercing us, disrupting our energy supplies, our armaments, even our governments. Almost anybody can become a cyber-warrior: a laptop and some smart software can inflict enormous financial and physical damage on individuals and entire countries.”

To establish foothold in Middle East, Russia has significantly increased its military operations to Syria. Taking forward the geopolitical and ideological idea, Putin called for the Eurasian Movement of the Russian Federation, and said that there is a unique “Eurasian” civilization in Russia and its neighbors, distinct from both East and the West.

To pursue his goal, Putin clinched free trade pacts with countries to form Eurasian Union. The Russian leader is aggressively trying to achieve Eurasian integration process due to many common factors binding Russia and the European countries together : common history, geographical proximity, massive amounts of trade, etc. But confrontation is most likely between Russia and Europe.

The tensions between Russia and the West escalated after Russia air force purchased 10 of the strategic TU-160M nuclear bombers, code named Blackjacks by NATO. The TU-160M worth 15 billion rubles ($269 million) is capable of carrying 12 cruise missiles or 12 short-range nuclear missiles and can fly 7,500 miles non-stop without refuelling. US, UK and Europe are worried over Putin standing for re-election on March 18 – a poll showing he is likely to win.

Russia has deployed over 330,000 soldiers on its western border while NATO has stationed biggest military build-up on Moscow’s borders since the cold war. Moreover, Russia carried out simulated attack exercises across northern Europe, from Kaliningrad to Lithuania, as part of a new tactic in exploiting the gray areas between peace and war.

Talking about the military hardware, Britain fighter jets are stationed in Romania, US tanks, troops, artillery has been deployed in Poland to counter the Russian warships armed with cruise missiles in Baltic Sea.

An armada of Russian ships from the Baltic Fleet have been dispatched from Baltiysk naval base, in Kaliningrad Oblast, for large scale military exercises. Sweden, whose eastern coast borders the Baltic Sea, is issuing the advise for the first time since 1961 – the height of the Cold War.

U.S. National Security Strategy released by Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster states Russia and China are “revisionist” powers, genuine geopolitical rivals to the United States that “challenge American power, influence and interests,” while “attempting to erode American security and prosperity.”

Russia military has been deeply engaged in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine since April 2014, where fighting has claimed 10,000 lives. The United States, European Union and other Western countries are continuing to put political and economic pressure on the Kremlin. Putin’s Russia is active today. “Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, and Ukraine—he is either trying to get those countries back into his realm .

Washington approved for the first time lethal weapons sales to Ukraine in its fight against Russian-backed militias and the announcement of a new U.S. sanctions list that targets Russians such as the Kremlin-appointed strongman in Chechnya.

Russia denounced the American strategy document as an “imperialist” relic of a delusional superpower that persisted in acting unilaterally on the world stage.

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By: Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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Royal Orchid announces the opening of group’s newest hotel in Nashik

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 Royal Orchid Hotels, the fastest growing hospitality chain in India today announced the opening of its new hotel in Nashik named ‘Regenta Resort Soma Vine Village’. Nashik popularly known as the wine capital of the country has gained immense popularity among the tourist in India.

Regenta Resort Soma Vine Village, with 32 rooms offers boutique accommodation with varied dining and banquet facilities. The glorious property will give travelers a mesmerizing experience and contemporary luxury.

On-site amenities at the hotel include a completely refreshed restaurant, a winery, a state-of-the-art fitness center and outdoor pool, as well as a business centre, and spa services. The hotel has a wide range of facilities that let the guests choose from various room categories designed in keeping the touch of the city with elegance and relaxing atmosphere.

Located in the northern part of the state of Maharashtra, Nashik is developing as a lively city with a blend of the ancient and modern touches attracting tourists from across the country. The city has numerous forts, temples, historic sites as well as a home to industries. The city offers green pastures, mountains and tours of the wine yard.

The most important attraction of the city includes Vineyards and Hindu temples situated in and around Nashik. May it be an important corporate event or a business meet or a simple getaway to explore nature and feel the essence of spirituality, Regenta Resort Soma Vine Village allows enormous options to its guests. The guests can experience the beauty and culture of Nasik just by availing one of the several facilities that the hotel provides to its patrons.

Chander K. Baljee, Managing Director, Royal Orchid Hotels said, “The hotel is the perfect complement to our recently refreshed Regenta portfolio of hotels across India. We are taking continuous steps towards expanding our presence all over India. The new hotel in Nasik is one such move towards achieving our aim. The government push toward tourism sector is giving us the much needed enthusiasm to go aggressive in adding new properties to our bouquet. Going forward we will continue to add more properties to both-explored and unexplored tourist destinations”

By now we have added eight properties – Mysore, Ahmedabad, Dehradun, Kanpur, Dwarka, Indore, Pushkar and now Nasik in the current fiscal year taking the number to 49 hotels. We will continue our efforts in expanding our presence all over India”.

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Nationalism of Narendra Modi is under question

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The economic bungling by Jeweller Nirav Modi, Business tycoon Vijay Mallya  and Lalit Modi has put a serious  question mark on the nationalism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His conspicuous silence on  India’s largest banking fraud to the tune of Rs 11,400-crore and still counting is shocking as he repeatedly claimed to have won the huge mandate on the basis of giving achhe din to the people of India but crony capitalists have escaped India with taxpayers’ money and there is no clarification from Narendra Modi who has taken the voter for a ride.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi advised Prime Minister Narendra Modi  to speak on  the Nirav Modi and Rafale scams rather than seeking suggestions for his Mann Ki Baat programme from the general public.

The intentions of Modi government are also conspicuous when the central government  opposed a plea seeking an independent Special Investigation team ( SIT )probe and deportation of billionaire diamond merchant Nirav Modi in the Supreme Court,citing an FIR has already been filed and that a probe was on.

The Supreme Court has already admitted the PIL, filed by lawyer Vineet Dhanda in the Rs 11,400 crore PNB fraud and has now been listed for further hearing on March 16.The PIL has made Punjab National Bank, Reserve Bank of India and the ministries of finance and law and justice as parties.

Modi has been touring the world citing that his government is enhancing the status of India as an investor friendly country and where there is an ease of doing business. On the contrary, his reforms of demonetisation and GST has benefitted selected Business people having links with the ruling party and crony capitalists and general public has been made to bear the burnt. The economic frauds have dented the image of India globally and these types of  incidents would amplify questions about distress in the country’s financial sector reeling under bad loans.

What type of image is being projected when the  picture in which billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi is seen with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Davos where the 48th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum took place  from 23 to 26 January 2018. The summit was attended by world’s leading figures .

On January 31, PNB filed a case of “criminal conspiracy and cheating” against the gem trader, members of his family and others two weeks ago alleging a 2.8 billion indian rupee ($44m) fraud.

The Modi government is busy creating eyewash by deploying agencies to probe the scandal  and the Central Bureau of Investigation  on Tuesday arrested five senior executives in connection with the multi-crore PNB fraud including Vipul Ambani (President, Finance, Firestar International/Diamonds group), Kavita Mankikar (executive assistant and authorised signatory of 3 accused firms), Arjun Patil (senior executive, Firestar group), Kapil Khandelwal (CFO, Nakshatra and Gitanjali group) and Niten Shahi (Manager, Gitanjali).

Modi asked people of India in 2014 to vote out corrupt UPA regime then how he and his government is defending the scandals that have occurred under his tenure of just four years . Modi is even trying to bring back the culprits to India .

The question should be asked to the ministers of Modi government what type of nationalism they carry with them when they do not value the life of Indian citizens ,when Dalits are being thrashed ,security personnel get killed on the border when our ruling political class provokes the enemy country just to showoff the Indian voter (woo voters) that they are superior than other political parties. Modi should have strengthened  the country militarily, economically and cohesively as an answer to the huge mandate given by the voters on trust.

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By: Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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