Thursday, September 16, 2021
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Mann Ki Baat: All hype no substance

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s radiobroadcast programme Mann Ki Baat started with big hype, those days our PM kept no stone unturned to speak and express his views. He wanted to have a grip over people through his dialogues. But as time passed the numbers of listeners have been falling. None listens to it because they are just words without any actions. The idea is a novelty no doubt. The hype is flabbergasting but the ground reality is different. Modi speaks all that he wants but never addresses the crucial issues of this country. It’s easy for the PM to speak. He’s a good orator unquestionably but to connect with him, there are layers and layers of procedures to be followed, even through the Internet, which is cumbersome. He needs very simple approach towards people when it comes to communicating with them. Physically, Modiji never made any efforts to connect with masses, he is always miles away from the crowd and takes every protection line around. Such leader who is not accessible to commoners, how can his voices reach to people from radio and how one can expect people to connect with him in reciprocation? It has been witnessed several times that Modi reacts and interacts with only those people who support him on social network or those who are known to his political leaders. He adores those efforts made by his own people who try to please him with different stunts, the common public never gets noticed or addressed by him because they are not around him on real or virtual world.

Modi wants regimentation that he might have succeeded in Gujarat. Democracy is a two way process and not one-way traffic. And perhaps, people are realising Modi’s intent as their suggestions are hardly paid attention to while the PM goes on driving home on people’s full participation in his initiatives. Hopefully the programme will be re-entered and reviewed through using both the audio and visual avenues of Communication and instructing all private channels to give free space. Institutions too might be instructed to provide space during anything to everything. Who knows to what extent, it’ll be pushed? The fact is that, it’s high time he should get his feet down on earth and start addressing his MPs first. His ministers have gone out of his own control and some of them actually landed the party and its integrity to a mess. The letters to Post Box no. 111, All India Radio, have been showing a steady decline in numbers of responses to PM’s “Mann Ki Baat”.

PM Modi has not delivered on his ‘Big’ election promises. He seems busy in trying to build his personal image, and projecting himself rather than the party to which he belongs – BJP. Clearly, the nation that elected him is getting increasingly disillusioned, and he seems directionless. His ministers are also not performing as per expectations. So, what is the point of ‘Mann ki Baat’, when there is nothing to talk about? Modi started in May 2014 with a Big Bang. Everyone thought it would be a big revolution, but unfortunately he had no control over his party men as evident from his stoic silence on Lalitgate, Vyapam, Chikki scam and others in which his ministers were actively involved.

Probably, Modi is under political compulsion not to speak. It is the perception of the ‘aam aadmi’ that the seasoned and ambitious politicians in the party are responsible for his declining popularity among the masses. The Aam aadmi further feels that he is more suitable for the post of Gujarat CM rather than PM of the country. Modi is a failure as far as the aam aadmi’s expectations are concerned. It has lost meaning when he is shying away from commenting on issues facing by the nation. If Parliament is not functioning he should come forward and explain his position. Why OROP is not being implemented? Mere pious declarations are of no use to us. Sermons, Theories, Rhetoric, Bombastic Words and Schemes have proved to be meaningless noise from Modi’s thought process. Not even one of his schemes – starting from Sardar Patel’s Statue of Unity to the latest “Bihar Package” seems to be showing any reality on the ground.  Common people are intelligent enough to see through the hollowness of most of Modi’s noisy expressions. It is high time Modi himself and his advisers to understand the realities that emanate from such noisy words and expressions, and get down to brass-tacks of performances, sooner than later.

There is another problem with the PM’s holier-than-thou approach to communicating with the masses. There is little connecting, beyond the slick condescension of the clergy. There is little of that conversational felicity that Barack Obama, former President of America displayed with such confidence. Earlier this year, appearing in Charleston where a white supremacist had gunned down 21 black people in a church, Obama launched into Amazing Grace, it would seem, almost unthinkingly. Standing among the families of the deceased, the president’s breaking into a cherished Christian hymn was both a powerful image aimed at providing solace and the measure of a leader who connects viscerally with his audience even in the face of the damnedest tragedy. Of course, it may not have been as impromptu as it looked, which only makes it more impressive.

Surely Modi desires to be in the same boat. But his Mann Ki Baat is so humdrum and tranquilising; it makes one wonder if this is the same man who roused a nation during 2014’s campaign trail. In the latest edition, as in his earlier ones, he plugged government schemes such as the Jan Dhan Yojana and the voluntary cooking gas subsidy withdrawal for the well to do. Yes, these schemes are important and it is great that they are working, even if not to the extent that the Prime Minister advertises. For all that though, the PM’s saccharine delivery grates.

It would have been still okay if the Prime Minister was like this throughout, but that is definitively not the case. On overseas trips, he returns to the Modi of the election cycle, roaring before packed auditoriums, eager to make good on the sticky metaphor of the 56-inch chest.

 (Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on [email protected])

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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