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Narendra Modi : Simple Majority, Myriad Expectations

When Rajiv Gandhi rode the sympathy wave to the Prime Minister’s post with a legion of 404 parliamentarians, expectations skyrocketed. On the 16th of May, 2014 Narendra Modi rode a wave, though of a diminished magnitude, to 7 Race Course Road. Expectations are similar. Rajiv Gandhi found himself unable to compete with the aspirations of the electorate. He was kicked out in 1989. What will be Narendra Modi's fate?
Narendra Modi has an uphill task ahead of him
He finds himself in a difficult situation today. His Opposition might be dismembered but it is still a force to reckon with. If he does not deliver as is expected by the public, he will have to face the voter’s ire. India is 20 times bigger than Gujarat, the public 20 times harder to please.

His immediate challenge is in 2014 itself. In a country whose populace is predominantly composed of farmers, the economy is reliant on a good monsoon. Weather forecasts indicate that this year’s monsoon winds might not deliver. Only 40-45% of the country's agricultural land is irrigated. If the monsoons fail, agricultural production will fall. Nothing will be able to raise the growth rate this year. And the farmers will get agitated.

With a reputation for being a reliable administrator with foresight, Modi should make short-term arrangements to combat a drought-like situation. More importantly, he should stress on extending the coverage of the irrigation network in the country. There is no reason for us to be attendant on the fickle monsoon when we have the water resources required for our farms in the country itself.

Further, Modi also has to contain the fringe elements within the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). If they are given a free hand, they might spiral out of control. Under Modi's leadership, the BJP has received unprecedented backing from the youth and urban middle-class. Any antics by such organizations can derail his party and antagonize the middle class.

The real challenge however, is the creation of jobs. The large mandate was symbolic of the aspiring India. The UPA was primarily rejected by the people because it could not deliver on the jobs front. The people are looking forward to stand on their own feet before availing government sops. For that he needs to revive investment, cut red tape and ease bureaucratic obstruction. With a simple majority in hand, this is a front which he can easily deliver upon.

He needs to ensure the passage of key anti-corruption bills, including the Citizens Charter, to restore credibility to the Indian administrative set up. The Direct Benefits Transfer using UIDAI which the UPA began is an idea of great promise. Back in the 1980's a former Prime Minister had remarked that only 15% of the governments funds reached the poor. The DBT programme retains the potential to solve this crisis.

If his Government can show some effect in these areas, Narendra Modi would have cemented his credentials as an administrator. And his party will continue to dominate the political landscape for a long time to come.


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