Bringing India to total independence, writes Rajnath Singh – analysis
Great changes in history are seen on rare occasions. 2014 was a time for India when it saw far-reaching changes in its political history. At that time, the people wanted to get rid of an incapable and corrupt government. This is what led them to vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Narendra Modi, to power.
People generally do not place enough confidence in a government in power to vote again in power a second time. Modi is one of the few leaders in Indian history to have been voted successively, and with an even longer term, to take office. While the 2014 mandate was for change, the 2019 one was a clear indication of people’s acceptance and confidence in the changes their government brought. However, when people trust any political leader so much, the challenge he faces in meeting his aspirations and expectations is enormous. This requires a substantial degree of political credibility. But in 2019, when the BJP government returned to power, Prime Minister Modi made several bold and determined decisions to deliver on the promises made, something that has remained the party’s ideological foundation.
By doing so over the past year, Modi has improved his credibility and that of the BJP. In fact, the last year can be considered a milestone from the perspective of credibility for politics. Whatever one’s political ideology, in this regard, the political fraternity should recognize Modi’s contribution.
The repeal of Article 370, the abolition of the triple talaq, the amendments to the Law on Illegal Activities (Prevention) and paving the way for the construction of a temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya makes the year memorable in many ways: social, political and constitutional. Muslim women have been victims of the practice of talaq-e-biddat, which makes it easier for a husband to divorce his wife by saying a few words. You don’t have to fear this now. In fact, the abolition of this practice has restored Muslim women to their self-esteem. After the Supreme Court ruling on Ram Janmabhoomi, the degree of peace and friendship observed across the country counts, in my opinion, as a fundamental achievement of the Modi government in the past year. Our political ideology is based on the ideals of Ram Rajya, who orders everyone to live in peace while practicing their own religions.
While Modi tried to reverse the credibility crisis in politics, opposition parties did the opposite when on the issue of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA, they issued hostile statements. The states ruled by them passed resolutions and tainted the issue. India is a secular nation, and being a global power, it is our constitutional duty to help people suffering religious persecution in our neighborhood. Amending CAA to give citizenship to persecuted religious minorities is, I believe, an unprecedented step in the history of secularism. But vested political interests tried to create baseless misconceptions among the Muslim community.
The first year of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) -2, the government saw more assistance for farmers, better working conditions for workers, owners of small shops and other micro, medium and small businesses, and guaranteed pensions for the elderly.
As defense minister, the first thing he wanted to do was create the office of the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), which had been pending and could facilitate better coordination between forces. On August 15, 2019, the Prime Minister, in his speech to the nation from the Red Fort, announced the creation of the CDS publication. In NDA-1, the government solved the problem of a rank and a pension.
In order to make India self-sufficient in terms of security, the objective was the national production of defense equipment, the indigenous manufacture of weapons and rifles with the participation of the private sector, the corporation of the Artillery Factory Board, ensuring the delivery of the state of France’s Rafale combat aircraft and the induction of the indigenously built Texas combat aircraftin the indian air force. I have flown on these two fighter jets and am proud of India’s defense achievements over the past year.
Today, when the world faces the greatest threat in recent history to humanity, the coronavirus pandemic, the prime minister has shown vigilance and competence to combat this by imposing a strict blockade at the right time. Today, migrant workers and farmers are facing very difficult challenges. But the government has acted with the utmost sensitivity and that is commendable. From ensuring the direct transfer of money to the accounts of poor people and providing them with free food grains, to receiving contributions not only from politicians but from all sectors of society, the Prime Minister has set the bar for highly efficient administration high.
Modi showed his ability to turn challenges into opportunities by implementing, over the past year, various decisions, such as allowing farmers to sell their crops anywhere; introduction of a nation’s single ration card system for workers; changing the definition of small and medium-sized companies; and the development of India as a major aircraft repair and maintenance center. The effects of all this will be seen in the coming decades.
This is the centennial year of the anniversary of Lokmanya Tilak’s death. He raised the motto of total independence for India. Given the type of work Modi has undertaken in the service of the nation, it can be confidently said that Tilak’s Swarajya dream in the early 20th century is likely to be achieved in the third decade of the 21st century.
Rajnath Singh is Union Defense Minister
The opinions expressed are personal.