POLITICS

Modi Outlines Plan For 'Long Jump' To A Transformed India By 2020-22

Reminiscent of Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward, Modi's puts the poor and dispossessed at the centre of his policy narrative.

16/04/2017 9:30 PM IST | Updated 16/04/2017 9:38 PM IST
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has planned a "long jump" to change the economic and social character of India by 2020-22. The country will be celebrating 75 years of Independence in 2022.

The Prime Minister was addressing BJP's 200-odd top members in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha where the BJP is holding its national executive meet.

The Prime Minister said that India must pull-off a "long jump" to 2020-22, senior BJP leader and union transport minister Nitin Gadkhari told reporters in Bhubaneswar.

PM Modi said that the poor and under-privileged will be the focus of all his government policies. "As a road map the Prime Minister has coined the P2 G2 (Pro-Poor, Proactive and Good Governance) approach," Gadkhari told reporters.

At policy level, the Modi government will continue to focus on "Jan Dhan" or financial inclusion of the poor. And, it includes two new aspects--"Jal Dhan" programmes to increase of agriculture network, and "Van Dhan" programmes to save forest resources.

"These will help Gaon, Gareeb, Mazdoor and Kisaan (villages, the poor, the marginalized and farmers)," Gadkari told reporters.

The "poor", "downtrodden" and "deprived" are traditionally identified as the trademark political rhetoric used by the Congress and the Left. The singular focus on the poor and socially backward indicates that the BJP is slowly changing track. In popular perception till recently the BJP was known to be close to industry and trade. "The poor who earlier voted for the Congress now are voting for the BJP," Union Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javdekar told reporters earlier.

Looking at the framing of the new development paradigm, one cannot but not notice the striking similarity between the "Long Jump" and top Chinese leader Moa Zedong's initiative, the "Great Leap Forward."

Interestingly, in the national executive also adopted a resolution to make the National Commission for Backward Communities a statutory body.

A bill to this effect has been cleared by the lower house of the Parliament, the Lok Sabha, where the BJP enjoys a majority. It is however still being considered in the Rajya Sabha where the BJP doesn't have a majority.

Consolidation of Other Backwards Castes (OBC) in the recently concluded Uttar Pradesh assembly elections led the BJP to a resounding victory. While those like the Samajwadi Party worked to gather Yadav votes--a section of the OBC--the BJP worked at consolidating other castes in the OBC category.

The strategy paid a handsome dividend. The BJP bagged 325 out of the 425 seats. The political importance of the OBC backing the BJP across the country therefore cannot be over stated.

And, the plans of Prime Minister Modi to leap-frog India by 2020-22 raise a question. Is the 2019 Lok Sabha election, when India will elect its next prime minister and government, already a foregone conclusion?

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