Narendra Modi loves to invoke Gandhi. Not Rahul, but the Mahatma. In his latest rally in Mumbai, Modi told supporters - 'don't impress, inspire like Gandhi'. In Bhopal the other day, he asked the nation to 'rid India of the Congress' and 'fulfill Mahatma Gandhi's dream'. At a function in Gandhinagar a few months ago he spoke of the relevance of the Mahatma's economic ideals in today's context, saying if we follow his principals, we wouldn't need to look for new ways to develop our country.
Gandhi has been a recurrent theme in Modi's oratory for some years now. Back in 2010, while addressing the BJP's inaugural session of Suraj Sankalp, Modi had said governance was best defined by Gandhi's values.
'Do the policies help the poorest and weakest man? If yes, that is good governance.' Modi pronounced.
If the BJP's Prime Minister designate shows himself to be possessed by Gandhian ideals, his devotees seem to like the idea of plonking their leader on the same pedestal as the Mahatma. Anil Ambani gave glorification a new meaning altogether when he put his father Dhirubhai Ambani and Narendra Modi with that 'Arjuna like clarity of vision' in the same bracket as Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Prakash Singh Badal showed us a rare instance of coalition bonhomie when he said "Gujarat is the state which gave birth to Mahatma Gandhi, which gave us Sardar Patel and now it has given 'Sardar' Modi." The BJP itself has compared its mascot to the father of the nation a number of times in the past.
Madhu Kishwar, the firebrand feminist doesn't tire of telling anyone who is willing to listen, of her belief that Modi is the only leader who takes Mahatma Gandhi's message seriously. And Subramanian Swamy, the man who zealously guns after scamsters and erroneous policy proposals of the government, used... guess who... to defend Modi's practice of charging money to attend rallies? Mahatma Gandhi!
David Fuller's view 'Do the
policies help the poorest and weakest man? If yes, that is good governance.'
He obviously needs to broaden his appeal, not only to win next year's General Election but to have any chance of majority government. That would be a very promising development for India's economy and stock market, given Modi's economic success in Gujarat.