The Prime Minister makes it a point to frequently visit poll-bound states and launch mega-development projects
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to meet members of Parliament belonging to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and his suggestion to them to establish direct connectivity with the constituents and explain the various schemes of the government to them reflect a realisation among politicians that people have an inclination towards governments that care and that politics alone is not enough to win their votes and hearts.
The Indian politician’s disconnect with his voters is legendary. Those who airdrop themselves into their constituencies once every five years and fly back as members of legislatures are not a rare sight. They have their minions working at the grassroots pulling the levers and writing the equations so that the politician can remain in the corridors of power. This arrangement could, however, collapse once people with connect with the ground enter the field. Prime Minister Modi would want to obviate such a chance. Hence he wants his MPs to be super-salespersons of his government and its projects.
It appears that the recently-held election to the Karnataka Assembly has taught political parties many a lesson. The key takeaway from it is that people should be convinced that political parties have an idea about the real issues they face and that there are some solutions. The Prime Minister makes it a point to frequently visit poll-bound states and launch mega-development projects; Karnataka was no exception. But that, and even the exceptional use of religion and casteism, did not deliver the state to the BJP. On the other hand, the Congress’ promise of direct governmental aid to the downtrodden and weaker sections did earn them votes, and power. That lesson is not lost on Mr Modi.
It is a fact that governments come up with projects and programmes to support people in need but their chances of remaining in the field without doing the intended good to its potential beneficiaries are high. This is because of two reasons. One, given the poor access of an Indian villager to government information, it is highly likely that such schemes and their benefits would remain unknown to him. It is imperative that there is an easy accessible channel of information about such programmes. Information alone is not enough, for there is red tape. The intervention of a people’s representative could, however, untie or even cut the red tape and help him reach the right person. It will also ensure more transparency and accountability on the part of the bureaucracy when the legislator intervenes on behalf of the commoner.
The flipside, however, is that a salesperson can only do so much; the products need must be saleable. On his part, Mr Modi has successfully made people buy into his ideas and dreams even before he became Prime Minister. And he has repeated this performance. It would require some hard selling for him to be third-time lucky, and he knows it very well. Hence comes his advice to the NDA MPs.