It is a wait-and-watch situation for the Indian liberals who continue to be skeptical about Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi.
The BoomNews’s show #TheIndiaHangout’s panel discussion, anchored by Govindraj Ethiraj, with journalists Ayaz Memon, Kumar Ketkar and James Crabtree, came to the view that liberal thoughts may change based on action in the future by Modi.
While Memon felt the liberals are in the wait-and-watch mode, Ketkar felt the reason for skepticism was the style of Modi governance in Gujarat, which was not inclusive at all. “Even Ministers never got appointments with Modi,” Ketkar said.
Ketkar also felt that extra love or extra hate for a person is based on perceptions. “And the perception about Modi till now is that he is not inclusive. And he is prejudiced against minorities, especially Muslims.”
Crabtree felt while the international media broadly welcomed the decision, “only Economist wholly rejected Modi’s election victory.”
While saying that even Pandit Nehru never got more than 47% votes, Ketkar said the claim that BJP has the support of only 31% voters does not stand up to scrutiny.
“And humble origins does not really bother people. Shastri had a humble origin even Manmohan Singh had a humble origin: What really bothers people are whether you are really compassionate, really inclusive” Ketkar said.
Memon pointed out that being Chief Minister of a state and the Prime Minister of a country are vastly different things, and Ketkar added that Vajpayee always kept an inclusive approach. “There is suspicion among even Hindus about RSS. And there is a distinct possibility that Modi many marginalise the RSS,” Ketkar added.
Crabtree said the hope is that Modi does not follow the path taken by Sri Lanka’s President Mahindra Rajapaksa.
What will make Modi acceptable to liberals, Ketkar said, would be the kind of people he would be surrounded with…