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(AP File Photo) (Source: The Financial Express)

When Manmohan Singh raised false alarm about Modi, said Rahul Gandhi has ‘outstanding credentials’

Four Years of Modi government: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will successfully complete four years in power on May 26 and expectedly showoff his ‘report card’ on the occasion. In the last four years, India has come a long way in all aspects of life.

Be it the country’s economy, positioning in the international comity of nations, security concerns, reforms in policies and initiatives to improve lives of people, there have been many positives in the last four years but some bottlenecks as well.

The IMF reaffirmed early this month that India will be the fastest-growing major economy in the world in 2018 with 7.4 per cent rate of growth and it will likely go up to 7.8 per cent in 2019. The IMF’s Asia and Pacific Regional Economic Outlook report said India was recovering from the effects of demonetisation and implementation Goods and Services Tax last year.

Led by Modi, India has been able to shape world’s opinion against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, dealt with Chinese aggression in Doklam deftly without any compromise, strengthened the relationship with countries across the world – from East to West. Not only this, India has led first of its king International Solar Alliance that will go a long way in fighting against climate change. One security bottleneck that still hurts the country is the failure to completely end Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir.

In the last four years, Modi government has given the country its biggest tax reform in the form of GST, overhauled a century-old bankruptcy law and introduced new Bankruptcy and Insolvency Code (IBC), which has started to give positive results and revived several stalled projects. NPA crisis, job creation issues, and farm woes etc still exist but the government claims to be working hard.

Several of Modi government’s schemes for the poor has touched lives of crores of people. The schemes that have been widely praised include Jan Dhan Yojana, Ujjawala scheme for LPG Cylinder distribution to the poor women and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan etc.

However, none of this was expected, at least not by Modi’s predecessor Manmohan Singh. The former PM predicted in 2014 that Modi rule will be a “disaster” for India.

In January 2014, months ahead of Lok Sabha elections in which Modi powered BJP to a landslide victory, Singh addressed only his third press conference in 10 years. Singh predicted, “it would be disastrous for the country to have Narendra Modi as the next prime minister.” The former prime minister had then also attacked Modi over Gujarat riots, accusing him of “presiding over the massacre of innocent citizens”.

Modi has always denied role in Gujarat riot and he also got a clean chit from the Supreme Court before joining the Prime Ministerial race in 2013.

As Modi completes four years in office, Singh’s prediction has proven to be a false alarm. There has been several ups and downs in the last year, but the “disaster” Singh hoped to happen is missing.

In 2016, Singh had termed Modi’s decision to demonetise old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes as a “monumental disaster” for the economy. The country’s economy, however, continues to grow at fastest rate in the world after some hiccups.

In the same press conference, Singh had announced he would make way for Rahul Gandhi (then 43) and step aside if Congress returned to power in 2014. Heaping praise on the Nehru-Gandhi family heir, Singh claimed Gandhi had “outstanding credentials” to become the Congress chief and India’s prime minister.

During his 10 years rule, Singh was widely seen as the caretaker of the seat of power for Rahul Gandhi to take over at an appropriate time.

In the four year’s since Singh claimed Gandhi had “outstanding credentials”, Congress’ fortunes have dramatically declined while Gandhi has been anointed president of the party. Gandhi became Congress president in December last year. So far, his tenure has been disastrous for the party. The Congress party lost to BJP and its allies in Gujarat, Tripura, Meghalaya, and Nagaland.

In the recent Karnataka polls, Gandhi-led Congress fared poorly, losing around 40 Assembly seats while BJP emerged single largest party with 104 out of 222 seats. The Congress managed to remain in power by compromising with rival JD(S) and offering the CM seat to the regional party having less number of seats in Karnataka Assembly.

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