More than the man, an idea won in 2014.
From 2002-12, Narendra Modi was presented as a very bad idea by the powerful and influential.
A communal idea. A Fascist idea. A dictatorial idea. The very opposite of the idea of India as represented by our founding father Jawaharlal Nehru.
The idea that immediately came to mind in 2002 when one thought of Modi was hordes of alpha males in khaki shorts and lathis running all over India. The idea of Modi haters was of riots upon riots. Their idea of him was Godhra, something that represents the sum of all evil in India.
When Godhra faded into the background, he was presented as an idea of a twisted and one-sided form of capitalism running loose and making the rich richer and the poor poorer.
This is the idea of Modi that a small powerful group had been selling to India. It is ironic that this is exactly the same idea (if you just leave out the khaki shorts) under which the Congress could be marketed to its critics, but that’s another story altogether.
However that was only one side of the story. There was another counter to it, but that was muffled in the outrage over Godhra.
The very first idea that Modi represented to Gujarat was hope: As simple as that. Gujarat was wrecked after a horrific earthquake where 20,000 people were killed and 400,000 homes were destroyed.
That Modi rebuilt the State from scratch is a story that has been totally boycotted by the media. But thanks to Modi, the Gujaratis had their own audacity of hope. As the years went by, Gujaratis equated Modi with the ideas of development and good governance.
Who wouldn’t want the idea of good roads and uninterrupted power?
One by one the people of India started getting their own ideas of India from the Gujaratis.
The industry looked to an idea of (as Modi later put it directly into his election campaign) minimum government and maximum governance.
By 2012 it was clear that Modi was a serious challenger for the PM’s post. When he gave his LSR College speech at the beginning of 2013, the youth of India started looking to the idea of politics without caste, religion and populism: The idea of the birth of new politics and the death of old politics.
AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal briefly captured this idea and captured the imagination of the nation but he fell way short with his deeds and dramas.
When Modi started connecting with the people of India, then a multitude of ideas emerged.
The idea of a simple chaiwallah rising up to lead a nation of one billion…
The idea of a closed political system opening up to the masses…
The idea of a man making it big by merit and not by birth…
The idea of the country adopting a development model and not a caste model…
The idea of not relying on fate but taking one’s own destiny into one’s own hands…
The idea of India being a superpower and standing up to the world…
The good ideas burst out of Modi’s head and into Gujarat. Then they burst out of Gujarat and into the rest of India.
The positive ideas soon mushroomed and drowned out the bad ideas and Modi captured the imagination of the nation.
That’s why the Modi haters started fighting a losing battle. They tried to counter those ideas with arguments, facts and loud voices. That will never work.
A good idea can only be countered by a better idea.
The problem of the entire Opposition was that they offered much worse ideas than what Modi was offering.
Rahul Gandhi represented the idea of privilege, the idea of destiny by birth, the idea of the arrogance of refusing to take up any post prior to the PM’s chair.
Kejriwal ultimately represented the idea of anarchy. The idea of anger while in government never works.
Mayawati represented the idea of caste politics.
Manmohan Singh ultimately represented no idea at all.
Sonia Gandhi represented the idea of a government that would feed the poor and not the poor coming out poverty.
Whether you like it or not, Modi was the only leader in the 2014 general elections offering good ideas.
But the best idea of all was the idea of hope. You simply cannot counter that by trying to instil fear!
As Victor Hugo once said…
No army can stop an idea whose time has come.
That has been the real theme of 2014.
The Idea of Nehru has been replaced by the Idea of Modi.
© Sunil Rajguru