THERE is an unmistakable similarity in the majoritarian style of politics played by Narendra Modi and Donald Trump. In India, the country was sick of the scam-riddled corrupt UPA government led by the Congress party. Everyone wanted a change, a strong leader, a strong party to look up to. The Modi-led BJP provided the people what they wanted and even statements such as “those opposed to Narendra Modi should go to Pakistan” made by BJP leaders during the run up to the elections could not create any dent in the aura of Narendra Modi.
In the US, there is a similar sentiment that Obama did not provide a strong leadership especially against the rising terrorism and the foreign policies. And the fact that an African-American enjoyed a rare double-term has angered many conservationists, paving the way for someone like Donald Trump having a realistic chance of becoming the President.
Donald Trump, regardless of his other faults, knew that the people thought that the Obama-led leadership has weakened the country and exploited the situation in his favor by showing the people that he will “make America great again”. Him running for the President was ridiculed by most, including his own partymen. But as the situation stands now, the only thing that stands in his way is the democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who has lost a significant amount of her popularity over the last couple of months.
In India, the left-leaning Congress has prevailed for the most period. It may be the case now that the left is almost finished and the right has provided a strong leadership, encompassing the large Hindu base in its ideology, but one thing should be remembered is that the right-wing parties have never stayed at the top for long. Even now, the dramatic rise in violence based on religious sentiments, talks of taking up arms against those who are “anti-national” beg us to ask the question whether we are moving ahead at all or are simply trying to sort out problems of our past. These issues will simply hurt the Modi-led government in the longer run.
Historically, right-wing leadership has always struggled. Take George W Bush for example — one of the staunchest right-wing supporters, he is also one of the least popular ones with his presidency being ranked among the worst insurveys of presidential scholars published in the late 2000s and 2010s. While Donald Trump may become the President on the basis of his rhetoric and his brazen but appealing statements, if he wants to stay there and keep his popularity intact, he may have to wash his hands off the right wing ideology if and when he gets into the office.
Perhaps one thing that could be noted from this is, can a right-wing (or the left, for that matter) government provide a stable and good leadership? Or is it time to look for a cohesive and multi-elemental front that could provide democracies like the US and India a much-needed stability in the country so that we can focus on development (note the irony) and start looking towards the future.
Title image: Baltimoresun