Media WatchNarad: Every eye towards Modi
Intro: Narendra Modi has been getting high praise for the plans his government has in mind even from President Pranab Mukherjee.
Think of it! Narendra Modi has been getting high praise for the plans his government has in mind and which were expressed by President Pranab Mukherjee in his joint address to the Parliament. To start with The Times of India (June 10) said the plan enunciated is “urgent and do-able”. If the government can act upon it “India will be transformed”. The government had only to act quickly in abolishing the license raj, encouraging investment from the private sector and allowing foreign universities to set-up campuses in India. The paper said the plan to generate jobs, tourism and labour-intensive manufacture are “welcome areas of focus” since India has huge potential in these sectors. It said the plan to create 50 tourism circuits around specifics is a good idea with high-income generating prospects. Similarly, it said, the focus on urbanisation and the plan to create 100 new cities are much needed. It added: “Promisingly, the Modi government has several big ideas. If executed, they will unfetter the engines of growth.”
Deccan Herald (June 10) welcomed urgency shown by the government in fixing an economy on the decline and expressed satisfaction on the stress being shown on encouraging investments and giving a boost to power, irrigation, road and rail sectors. The promise to establish IITs, IIMs and AIMS in every State, said the paper “is a welcome move” but warned that they should not remain on paper but need time-bound execution.
The Indian Express (June 10) said “an outstanding aspect of the President’s speech is the clarity with which the government seeks to address the issues bothering the nation”, adding: “For the first time one could see a vision unfold itself through the words of the President.”
“It is a vision” said the paper, “of the nation, rooted in its civilisation, where poverty would be eliminated, rather than alleviated and the division between India and Bharat would cease to exist.” The paper said the languishing economy for the last few years “has received due attention” and “no section from the rich to the poor, the old to the youth, the farmer to the businessman and the devout to the digital whizkid have been left out.” “While all controversial issues have been eschewed, every effort has been made to instill hope and faith in a prosperous India”, the paper added.
The Free Press Journal (May 29) was also full of praise for Modi. Every line, so to speak, praised Modi to the skies. Saying he surprised everybody in inviting SAARC leaders, the paper said inviting Nawaz Sharif specially “resonated domestically the most”. “As the largest democracy in the world, there was a great symbolism attached to the presence of the SAARC leaders” at the swearing-in ceremony, the paper said. It showed, said the paper, “a new persona” and asked: “Was Modi out to shed his hard and insensitive persona or was he merely being himself whilst his critics had read him wrong all these years? We might be witnessing the rise of a truly large-hearted leader.”
“Writing in The Hitavada (June 1) – to switch to another subject – Anshuman Bhargava praised Modi for his “master-stroke” in calling SAARC leaders to his swearing-in ceremony. The way he planned everything made it clear, said the writer, “that the man had done his homework excellently well neatly, efficiently and elegantly at which no one can point a finger.”
“A statesman even in the confines of his national boundaries, transcends the fetters of time and geography. Modi has certainly the chance and ability to do so,” the writer added.
Writing in The Times of India (June 1) two of his former critics said heart-warning things about Modi. Gurcharan Das said “the hopes and dreams of an aspiring middle class have been affirmed for the first time in India’s history.” Das devoted his whole column to praise Modi saying he had “de-colonised the mind of the young and bestowed dignity on him.” When Modi said that we should make development a jan andolan a mass movement, he legitimised rules-based capitalism in contrast to crony capitalism, Das added. Swaminathan Ankelsaria Aiyar said, “In sum, structural constraints on both on the political and economic side have lifted. Modi is off to a good start and his power seems destined to spread rapidly from the Lok Sabha to the Rajya Sabha and the states too”. Economic & Political Weekly over the weeks has been severely critical of Modi. But in the May 31 issue, Shiv Visvanathan has taken a new look at Modi’s “symbolic war that led to a historic victory”.
(The writer is a senior columnist and former editor
of Illustrated Weekly)