Apropos of the column by Shekhar Gupta “Akhilesh, young and listless” (FE, September 16), it is not the inadequacy of the Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav as much as the governing policy of the Samajwadi Party that has marginalised minorities. In this context, I entirely agree with the Muslim voices within the Samajwadi Party when they say people need security, not laptops. Do not cut the roots of a tree and then sprinkle water on its branches. It is paradoxical and tragic that in spite of such horrific incidents, clerics fail to recognise the true face of the Samajwadi Party. At the same time, as the author has rightly pointed out, we must brood over the fact that are we being too tough on young Akhilesh? It is a fact that his father has never given him any space. It is also a fact that his uncles, by DNA as well as ideology and politics, have mocked and sabotaged him. It’s a bit like if Rahul Gandhi became Prime Minister tomorrow and Sonia headed another NAC to keep him on “the straight and narrow” and if his cabinet committee on political affairs included five of his uncles!
What Modi must do
Narendra Modi, as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, has to cease to be a rabble-rouser and tone down many of his earlier positions. He has to temper his rhetoric against India’s neighbouring countries, especially Pakistan. He must speak with gravity and substance if he is to convince people. He must also desist from pursuing a Hindutva agenda. No doubt, people hit hard by high prices, corruption and the misgovernance of the Congress-led UPA are angry and want a change of government. But they are not going to vote for mandir, Article 370 and the uniform civil code. They are impressed by Modi’s image as a clean, strong and committed leader. But he must strike up a rapport with all sections of society and convince them of his party’s commitment to inclusive development, as well as clean and efficient governance.