Narendra Modi’s popularity remains high as ever. The people abide by him, no matter what. His ideas are penned down by the critics but lapped up by the masses. He knows what drives the people and he knows how to get them going. He asks the electorate to endure (selective) pain for him, they do so willingly. His optics and theatrics are awesome; unfortunately, the same cannot be said for his governance.
Everybody (who does not vote) slams demonetisation. Everybody (who votes) will vouch for this move, again and again. Narendra Modi knows this. Just that his governance killed the benefits of the demonetisation. All the black money got converted to white. Nobody was sent to jail. Yet, the voters forgave him. The intention mattered, not the result.
Then, the long over-due GST happened. Narendra Modi’s governance made it so complicated that till date nobody including the tax officials has got a hang of it. Needless to say, the benefits were zilch and the tax evasion continued unabated. Yet, the voters had no qualms. They never had any expectations.
Now, it is the time of the coronavirus. He exhorted the Indian republic for the 21 days coronavirus war. He came up with an innovative strategy of increasing relaxations as coronavirus cases rise, a global first. Yet the support for him is unwavering, people have faith in him that he will save them and the country. And yet again, his governance has let him down.
On the face of it, the lockdown was stringent, extremely rigorous. For the execution, let me give you a comparable example.
You would remember that penalties for traffic rules violations were increased manifold in the recent past. When it came down to execution, traffic police were highly vigilant on the main roads. Would you want to know how the execution was in the by-lanes, side lanes, narrow lanes and all the other lanes? Nobody cared. Neither the vehicle drivers nor the so-called traffic authorities.
Same was the case with this severe lockdown. It was a headline grabber, but in the fine print, people roamed around on arterial roads. The lethargic governance did not bother to get up from their high-chairs on the main roads and do the running in the lanes.
The result – A half-baked lockdown yielding half-baked result.
It is understood and accepted that unlike developed countries India cannot afford tests for the large population. However, what India can do and should do with the large swathe of government staff on hand is the contact tracing of the identified patients.
The government claims to have been doing this continuously. The measures are taken, the efforts put in, the results achieved are, of course, a classified secret. Some primary contacts and few secondary contacts get identified here and there and get stamped. That was it. Now, even that is not happening.
The government can keep claiming their contact tracing success and whatever. The rise in coronavirus cases is for everyone to see. The sluggish governance did not bother to run behind people, they are only used to people running behind them.
The result – Missing contacts in the contact tracing turning up the coronavirus count.
The profiling of coronavirus cases
For the spike in cases, foreign returnees were blamed; followed by the Tablighi Jamaat members. Everyone agreed. Now even with extended lockdown (?), the cases only kept going in one direction. Up. The government has not been able to explain the how and why of this increase.
If the Government would have tried sketching a typical coronavirus patient, maybe it would have devised plans to contain the spread. Knowing the target segment can lead to customized tactics. However, for a government that only knows the one-size-fits-all approach, it is too much to expect.
Leave aside profiling, releasing of timely headline count of cases is a monumental task in itself for the rusted Indian governance. After all, at one point in time, unassigned coronavirus cases were the 9th largest State in India.
The result – The country does not even know the identity of the patient, what to talk about features?
For the people who died of the coronavirus, they had a disease, they were sick. For the migrant workers, it was governance who denied their existence in plain sight.
The result – A monumental wrong of people suffering and dying in their own country for the crime of being alive.
Governance? What is that?
Narendra Modi has made the Indian electorate pay for his talk, rather his inability to walk the talk. The Indian electorate has rewarded him for his intentions with no penalty for non-deliverables.
Narendra Modi is not able to get his governance shed decades-old inertia and corrupt ways. He has not shown any progress on his utter incapability to make his governance deliver on his promises.
It does not look like Narendra Modi realizes that his governance skills are letting him down. Maybe, he does not even know, leave aside care.
Wonder what will take it for him to get cracking?