| by N.S.Venkataraman
( June 27, 2014, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) Impressed by his rhetorics and strong claims and promises made, large number of Indians thought that Mr. Narendra Modi should be given a chance. This explains the thumping majority that he has received.
Having raised expectations amongst the country men to a very high level , it is inevitable that Modi’s governance would be subjected to tough scrutiny and critical review on a day today basis. Certainly, people do not want a situation when Modi’s governance would not be different from the earlier ones. Unfortunately, a few steps taken or not taken by Mr. Modi during the thirty days of governance have disappointed even his pledged admirers to some extent.
Steep railway fare increase :
While it is known that the finances of Indian railways are in bad shape , common men do not think that its finances can be improved simply by increasing the fare for passengers and freight . This fare increase would only add to cost push inflation.
While increasing the fare , Modi government gave an excuse that it was a decision taken by the previous UPA government. While it is technically true that previous government was in favour of the step, there is absolutely no reason why Modi g overnment should implement the decision of the previous government. Many people think that it is not honest on the part of Modi government to blame the UPA government , instead of owning the responsibility for taking the decision to increase the fare.
While arguing that such fare increase would be necessary to strengthen the finances of the railway, Modi government has not cared to explain to the people as to what steps it has taken to avoid wasteful expenditure, improve efficiency in performance and take cost reduction measures such as suspending unremunerative rail routes etc.
Modi government has taken the easiest option of increasing the railway fare and this is not in any way different from the practice of the earlier government.
Rape accused minister :
One of the ministers in Modi government is facing charges of molesting and raping a woman . While it is possible that political adversaries may have levelled such charges against the minister, the fact is that the court has issued notice to the minister , which mean that the court has admitted the case and the court thinks that that there may be prima facie case against him.
Under the circumstances, to maintain the standards of probity in public life and to maintain the standards in the public conduct of his party , Mr. Modi should have asked the minister to quit and face the charges. He should have told him that he could join back the cabinet later on if he would be acquitted in the case.
Modi has chosen to remain silent on the issue , giving an impression that he is no different from Manmohan Singh in viewing the misbehaviour of his ministers.
A former army chief that Modi can do without :
To the surprise of everyone, Mr. Narendra Modi inducted the former army chief into his cabinet, unmindful of the fact that he has been accused of falsifying his age certificate. This former army chief is a controversial person and many think that he brought disrespute to Indian army by taking his case to the court and also appearing in TV media frequently , even while he was in service and freely airing his personal views on many matters relating to army.
After becoming minister, this former army chief made remarks about the present army c hief , which is unbecoming of a minister as well as former army chief. Again Mr. Modi remained silent as if he is not aware of all this. This was exactly how Mr. Manmohan Singh conducted himself , about which Mr. Modi was very critical then.
The days ahead :
While Mr. Modi has taken the above three false steps in the first thirty days, one only hopes that he would be more careful and more forthright in the days ahead. The hundred days of Modi’s stewardship should not result in same ratio of ten false steps.