Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Don't bash the bhakt...

Of late, I have seen a lot of criticism of Narendra Modi. I think that is a good sign of a healthy democracy. But the trouble is twofold. First, the criticisms often come across as personal attacks rather than as attacks on policy and intention. Second, the personal attack is not only on the PM but also on his supporters and sympathizers. I wouldn't be surprised if what gets Modi votes in the coming elections is not his policies, or his faithful bhakts, but all the anti-Modi and anti-bhakt slandering that is going around these days. When you brand every Modi sympathizer (even fence-sitters) as a bhakt, bash them, and question their wisdom and intellect, you won't get them to slant to your side of the fence, but you will end up encouraging them to jump over to the other side with even more conviction. Now that is the issue of playing it dirty in identity politics. If you ignore Modi and his sympathizers and focus on the real issues and the real alternatives, then, perhaps, Modi will be replaced. If Trumps ascend to the Whitehouse has taught us any lesson, it is that don't shame the supporters. Instead, it might be fruitful to condemn the candidate's policy choices and present viable alternatives, both in terms of candidates and policy prescriptions.

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