1. Marketing campaign: Even his opponents had to accept that Narendra Modi’s Prime Ministerial campaign was the most audacious one ever attempted in Indian politics. It will be a case study for years to come and must have broken all records in terms of rallies, TV coverage and innovation.
2. Lok Sabha results: No-one really believed that the BJP would get a majority. The opinion polls started with 160 seats and steadily kept increasing. Even before counting most people expected something in the range of 220-240.
The trends were clear in 30 minutes of counting itself and by the end the number 282 had blown everyone away.
3. Assembly polls: Some pretended that there was no Modi wave during the Lok Sabha polls. Some tried to show that it had ended citing the by-election results as proof. However it all proved false as India got both BJP Maharashtra and Haryana CMs for the first time ever.
According to opinion polls, the BJP is set to make gains in Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand and even Delhi when elections should be held there. Modi continues to be the star campaigner.
4. Foreign policy: Modi hit the ground running by calling SAARC leaders for his swearing-in ceremony. His visits to Burma and Japan were a hit. His Madison Garden speech was a big success. He addressed the Australian Parliament in English and got a standing ovation.
He has already met the likes of Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin. He has developed a rapport with Barack Obama and called him as a chief guest for India’s Republic Day parade.
5. Indians abroad: Modi has reached out to NRIs like no other PM. He wants them to contribute to India and is making life easier for them. His government also worked overtime in evacuating people out of Iraq, getting fishermen released from Sri Lanka and also the issue of Saudi detainees.
6. Core team: He retired LK Advani & Co. in one stroke making the BJP leadership much younger. He has set about building his own core team. The shrewd Amit Shah is BJP President and master spy Ajit Doval is NSA.
He has roped in the solid Manohar Parrikar from the States and the talented Suresh Prabhu from the Shiv Sena.
7. Border action: For 10 years the Pakistanis fired brazenly at the border and China made advances into our territory. Indian troops have finally started giving it back and the China issue is also being tackled.
8. Defence boost: The Defence scene in India saw great stagnation as all projects had come to a standstill. The Defence Ministry has cleared purchases that total to nearly Rs one lakh crore and this is like a 10-15 year plan.
9. Dismantling the Delhi Durbar: The Delhi Durbar is an incestuous group of politicians, bureaucrats, editors and Civil Society members cutting across party lines. Modi has put an end to that by simply being not part of it in any form.
“Access journalism” is on a decline and things like the ancient Planning Commission have been done away with.
10. Development focus: Indian politics has been mired by caste and religion politics. In 2004, Prime Minister AB Vajpayee and Chief Ministers Chandrababu Naidu and SM Krishna tried to change that but they were thrashed at the elections.
But now development politics is here for good. Modi has single-handedly changed the discourse of politics in this country. If he does not develop India in the next 5 years, he will be booted out. The same applies for all CMs too. It is a win-win situation for the Indian electorate.
Economy: It will take some time to know where the economy is heading. But the stock market soared on Modi’s elevation and inflation is at a low. A whole slew of infrastructure projects are being cleared. FDI is also poised to come into India at unprecedented scales.
The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana is opening bank accounts with a vengeance and it will help direct cash transfers. A black money SIT was also set up in one month even as the UPA sat on it for 7 years and fought with the Supreme Court on three of those years.
You could at least say “well begun” in this particular case.
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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here.