The Bharatiya Janata Party has undergone a sea change in its approach, especially in dealing with rival political parties after the landslide victory in the recent Lok Sabha elections. The party, which was dubbed as “intolerant” and “arrogant” by many in the past, appears to have mellowed down of late. Its lawmakers too seemed to be more careful in what they say. It is more composed and organised today than it was in 2014. The fact that not a single word was muttered when Prime Minister Narendra Modi dropped many big names from his new cabinet and inducted some fresh faces spoke volumes. Modi reportedly stressed on the importance of listening to the opposition parties even if the number is just one during a recent meeting with the party workers. He also told them that all issues should be taken up impartially for the larger interest of the country and to treat both the treasury and the opposition equally in the Parliament. He once again reached out to opposition parties on the first day of the monsoon session of Parliament by telling them not to think about their numbers but to actively participate in the House proceedings. It was a good move as many political parties could be running low on confidence after the dismal performance in the general elections. The opposition plays an important role in a democracy as it holds the government accountable for the policies it implements and exposes its shortcomings.
Besides gaining the confidence of the opposition parties, the Modi government should make concerted effort to revive India’s sluggish economic growth which has become a matter of concern. The economic slowdown needs to be arrested by taking up several measures including boosting investment. The citizens of the country are also eagerly waiting to see what the newly appointed Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has in store for them in her maiden budget scheduled to be presented in the lower house next month. The government should take it as an opportunity to not only create a positive investment sentiment but also connect with the underprivileged section of the society and small business people.
The NDA government also should work to win the trust of the smaller communities by solving the issues that concern them. For the Nagas, it’s been more than two decades since the government of India and several insurgent groups led by NSCN (IM) have been engaged in peace talks in an attempt to end over six decades of Nagas’ struggle for self determination. It is almost four years since the “historic” peace accord, a framework agreement for Naga peace, was signed between the NSCN (IM) and Indian government but the final deal is still awaited. The Nagaland state assembly has passed several resolutions supporting a respectable solution to the much-delayed Naga political issue but it fell on deaf ears. And the general public is beginning to lost trust in the government. The Modi government should seal the final deal before the end of the 17th Lok Sabha as pointed out by Nagaland’s lone MP Tokheho Yepthomi in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament.