Go beyond promises, now begin to deliver

Almost the entire Independence Day speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was devoted to conveying the impression that his was a government that believed in “performance” and “making the impossible possible”. Since then, various similar messages have been sought to be delivered through various forums. Last week, while addressing the BJP’s “core group”, which included state party chiefs, Mr Modi asked the organisation to carry the message that the BJP cared for the poor, specially dalits and OBCs, even as it dwelt on “nationalism”. And on Saturday, Mr Modi and BJP president Amit Shah addressed BJP chief ministers and office-bearers to give primacy to good governance and stepping up “performance” across the board.
The election season is here. In just about six months, the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election – widely regarded as the gateway to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls – will be held and the Centre is expected to leave no stone unturned to convey the impression that it is delivering on its promises. Many would have doubtless noted the gap between promise and performance, and scams galore in public distribution systems and employment-related malfunctions in some BJP-run states, notably Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, the two states where the BJP has been in power the longest, though there aren’t the only BJP-ruled states where schemes for the poor are being implemented in a lackadaisical manner.
Much of the commentary in the past two years has dwelt on the pruning of Central assistance to states for pro-poor programmes, the intolerable burden of high prices of commodities of common everyday use in poor rural and urban households alike, the absence of job creation, and the negative impact of policy on MGNREGA, which is in effect a rural job creation-cum insurance scheme. In the light of these trends, it is natural that the Prime Minister and the chief of the ruling party should be goading their colleagues to work harder to convince the poor that the government has their concerns uppermost in view. The whole point of modern-day propaganda is to win the war of perception, and in that direction this government has made tireless efforts.
The ordinary people will benefit if in seeking to outpace its rivals, the ruling party actually does end up delivering positive results at least in some areas, though the goal seems some distance away. Let’s just hope that the ruling establishment actually goes beyond words.

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