There is a concept in India called Rajyog, a period in which a king will reign and flourish, while all his enemies will perish. Those who ally with him will prosper and those oppose him will bite the dust.
Narendra Modi saw a spectacular rise from 2012–14 during which he won almost every State Assembly election he campaigned for and he made Prime Minister of India by reducing a party which had ruled much of India to a record low and abysmal 44/543 seats (8%) in Parliament while he led his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to 282 seats in the May 2014 general elections.
All his regional rivals perished one by one but when he looked at the international stage, the same thing started happening there too. Probably his biggest regional rival when he took over was Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. India first backed the dreaded LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) and then fought them with disastrous results, losing a war and then former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Rajapaksa beat the LTTE and then warmed up to China, much to the chagrin of India who looked on helplessly. When Modi took over, Rajapaksa was at his peak and looked good to win in 2015 and rule till 2020. And then in January 2015, out of the blue, Rajapaksa lost. Absolutely nobody saw that coming. Rajapaksa tried to be Prime Minister the same year, but lost that too. The new Sri Lanka leadership is much more amenable to working with Modi and is not openly baiting Modi the way Rajapaksa was.
India was a rare non-Muslim country which opposed the creation of Israel in the United Nations and did nothing to mend ties with that country till 1991. Till 2014 the ties between the two countries got better and better but they didn’t create much fuss.
Then it all came out of the closet after Modi took over and he and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a mutual admiration society and started praising each other and promising everyone their ties would be taken to the next level.
A few months after Rajapaksa was defeated, Netanyahu went to the polls and the consensus was that he would be defeated. In a surprise verdict he wasn’t. Against all odds, he emerged triumphant and now he and Modi are seriously cementing ties between India and Israel.
A few months after Netanyahu’s victory, there were elections in the United Kingdom. David Miliband is a good friend of Modi’s rival and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi. When David visited Rahul, the two spent the night in a Dalit’s hut in an Uttar Pradesh village. Rahul also posted photos of the two on social media when they met in Aspen.
Prime Minister David Cameron on the other hand seemed more aligned with Modi. #AbKiBaarModiSarkaar (This time a Modi government) was a catchy slogan of the 2014 polls. When Cameron met an Indian journalist, he said #AbKiBaarCameronSarkaar! In the UK elections Cameron was either supposed to lose or a hung Parliament was to favour Labour led by David’s brother Ed Miliband.
In a shocker, Cameron thrashed Miliband 330–232 as the former did well even in Labour bastions and the latter was forced to retire. Another friend of Modi had won a surprising victory. Another Modi catchy slogan was #AccheDin (Good days). When Cameron stood with Modi in Wembley Stadium, he declared, “Acche din zaroor aayenge” (Good days will definitely come)
Then Theresa May replaced Cameron and surprisingly she started moving Left and away from both the ideologies of Modi and US President Donald Trump and she is quite on shaky ground.
Talking of Trump and the US Presidential elections. Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton could be classified as a Modi hater. As Secretary of State, she ensured that US President Barack Obama was lukewarm to India.
Hillary has been a known Modi baiter and if she became US President, their ties would be quite rocky. While Trump has made a few digs about outsourcing, he has by and large been appreciative of the India story under Modi and praised him publicly on many occasions.
Modi and Trump have many things in common. Both are from the Right, have been attacked by the media, liberals and intellectuals. Both have a keen business sense and are straight talkers.
There is no doubt that Modi would have rather done business with Trump rather than Hillary. And guess what? Before the campaign began in 2015, most analysts said that Trump would not even make it to the Top 5 in the Republican race and Hillary would clinch her nomination in no time. Well Trump officially secured his nomination before Hillary and then thrashed her in the polls.
Today Trump will be regularly found rubbishing Pakistan and praising Modi. Trump is growing more powerful by the day no matter what his haters are trying to tell you. Most world leaders have already warmed up to Modi. Even Trump’s predecessor Obama is a fan and actually installed a White House hotline with India. At a meet long ago he ran up to Modi, got hold of his hands and declared, “You’re the man!”
The two got together and revived the almost dead Indo-US nuclear deal. Modi surprised everyone by inviting Obama to be chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade in 2015. Obama surprised everyone by accepting the decision almost immediately.
While Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have had good ties for decades, no Pakistani head of State got the highest civilian honour, but it was bestowed on Modi. With that he joined an elite group of international leaders who had won that award. While America-Israel-Saudi Arabia is forming a troika in West Asia and isolating everyone there, India needn’t worry because it has excellent relations with all three.
Modi then got Afghanistan’s top civilian honour too. And to think he was dismissed as anti-Muslim once upon a time! Underworld Dawood Ibrahim operated with impunity in Karachi, but after Modi came to power, he may have been shifted to the border (if he’s not already dead) and his assets have been neutralized in Dubai because even UAE is warming up to Modi!
When Russian President Vladimir Putin was facing problems with Turkey, he asked Modi whether he could pick up Turkey’s business in case of a crisis. While a Russia-Turkey patch-up is underway, Putin still wants a special relationship with Modi.
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe follows very few people on Twitter. The third person he followed was Modi. It is difficult to believe that Modi was an unknown quantity on the world stage till 2014. After Abe signed a Bullet Train with Modi, he also got a surprise victory at the hustings. He has completed 5 years in office, a rarity for Japan premiership wracked by non-stop resignations.
In a Rajyog your friends do well and your rivals don’t. In the 2014 elections the previous Congress low was 114 seats in 1999 but with 44 in 2014 they couldn’t even officially claim the Leader of the Opposition status in the Lok Sabha. The next largest party was the ADMK and its leader Jayalalithaa died unfortunately but her successor Sasikala was convicted. A post-Sasikala ADMK has warmed up to Modi. After that comes the TMC and its leader Mamata Baneerjee too is under a cloud in the Saradha scam case and a total law and order break-down in West Bengal.
JDU’s Nitish Kumar split with the BJP and actually won the Bihar elections in 2015, but he was also forced to return to the BJP despite being a Modi hater once upon a time. The Shiv Sena allied with the BJP in Maharashtra but keeps attacking Modi and is getting weaker in the State. In fact in the recent statewide rural elections, BJP came first and the Congress distant second. Sena was behind the Congress!
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrabau Naidu warmed up to Modi and saw a surprise victory in 2014. New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal may have beaten Modi in Delhi, but he stands totally neutralized at the national level. From 1947-2013, the Congress had the most MLAs in India save for a brief period in 1977-1980 when the Janata Party went ahead, but they weren’t really single party but a coalition.
Modi took over as campaign chief in 2013 and for the first time ever the BJP overtook the Congress in 2015. It didn’t stop there. Today the Congress has around 800 MLAs while the BJP is in the region of 1400. It’s a no contest and that’s one factor hardly highlighted by the media. In fact in the Top 15 Indian States by population, Congress rules only 1, unprecedented for the Grand Old Party. If they lose Karnataka in 2018, it may be Game Over for them.
It is only the Indian mainstream media, Civil Society and so called intellectuals who is trying to create a fake narrative that he is on shaky ground and faces tests every day and they are coming out with fake campaigns like the one related to intolerance.
Meanwhile, the spectacular Rajyog of Modi marches on!
(This is an updated version of an article that first appeared in June 2016)