Ever since Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi ordered the demonetization of high value currency on November 8, 2016, Indians seem to be discussing nothing but the cash crunch that followed the demonetization and the consequent distress to the people. While the common men are debating whether the pain of cash crunch would be compensated by the gain of rooting out black money and consequently corruption in India, the opposition political parties seem to be bent on exploiting the common man’s discomfiture to make the Modi government unpopular.
Mr. Modi has clearly and repeatedly appealed to the people to bear with the pain of cash crunch for brief period, so that the country can move on with less corruption and more progress. While many opposition leaders and pledged critics of Mr. Modi predicted that there would be riot in the country due to demonitisation and even Chief Justice of India thoughtlessly echoed such negative view, nothing of this sort happened . The repeated attempts to whip up public passion and anger against demonetization by several quarters including section of media has not worked.
Courage of conviction
With 50 days gone after the demonetization, Mr. Modi addressed the nation on the New Year eve. With characteristic courage of conviction and mincing no words , he said that the war against corruption would be taken to it’s logical end.
While thanking the people and the bank and tax officials for rising upto the occasion and showing patience and putting hard work in the post demonetization period , Mr. Modi clearly declared with confidence that the section of officials who are found to be dishonest by colluding with the black money holders in the post demonetization period would not be spared.
Mood of the country men
Obviously, Mr. Modi has read the mood of the country men well.
It is known and felt by the country men that everywhere in India the corruption is deep rooted in the Indian economic and political system, with the funds meant for welfare programme being siphoned away by unscrupulous corrupt persons and black money holders in collusion with politicians and bureaucrats.
The common man in India have been wondering as to who would make India rid of corruption. After the failure of the anti-corruption movement launched by Mr. Anna Hazare, largely due to several corrupt persons with ulterior motives getting control over the movement leading to it’s loss of face, common men in India almost lost hopes that the corruption free India would ever be possible.
The people voted Mr. Modi to power in the last general elections, largely impressed by his promise that he would root out corruption. Though several steps were taken by Mr. Modi in the last thirty months after becoming the Prime Minister to bring transparency in governance, people were not sufficiently impressed, as such measures are yet to make a dent on the level and intensity of corruption in India. People certainly wanted stronger and visible steps that would publicly humiliate the corrupt people and punish them effectively.
A compulsive need
With just thirty months left before the next general elections, it has become a compulsive need for Mr. Modi not only to fight against corruption but also appear to be doing so. In short, it is a do or die battle for Mr.Modi.
Will it become a losing battle?
The question uppermost in the mind of the people now is whether Mr. Modi would really succeed in ensuring a corruption free India. Large number of people appear to be still sceptical, though they think that Mr. Modi is very sincere and they wish him well.
With the government machinery and the law enforcing agencies themselves considerably corrupt, with many politicians both in Mr. Modi’s party and in the opposition parties suspected to be of indulging in corrupt practices and with the black money becoming an essential need for the political parties to fight elections, many people seem to think that Mr. Modi may be waging a losing battle against corruption.
Mr. Modi has kindled hopes
However, the redeeming fact that has come out after the demonetization exercise is that the people are willing to stand by Mr. Modi in his battle. They expect him to give a very strong lead for the anti corruption movement in India and people would follow if it would be practically possible.
Mr. Modi’s New Year Eve speech certainly has made people think that here is a Prime Minister who has the courage to say that dishonest and corrupt officials will not be spared.
Mr. Modi has certainly kindled hope amongst the common man that the anti corruption movement would go forward and would succeed sooner or later.