A CONVERSATION WITH DR. S.L. BHYRAPPA CHAPTER 8: IS NARENDRA MODI A DICTATOR? THE POLITICAL STYLE OF NEHRU, INDIRA AND MODI There’s this talk that Modi is a dictator, right? That under Modi there’s no democracy? Who should say whether there’s democracy in his regime? Ministers in Modi’s cabinet should say it. So far, which minister has spoken against Modi? Nobody. Not one minister.
Every minister has a lot of respect for Modi. To see how democratic Modi is…in his…he has this mobile app…through it, he collects countless opinions. If he gets a new idea, he collects opinions from a range of people…youngsters, everybody…after that, he gets the idea implemented. Isn’t this democracy? The real dictatorship…where does it lie? From the time of Indira Gandhi…Nehru himself was a dictator. Indira Gandhi was a greater dictator. I’ll give you a small example During Nehru’s time, they did this thing…it was actually a trick. That too, it was done through newspapers. In those days…now there are some free (independent) newspapers…there are independent thinking journalists today. But there are also newspapers who continue to be mischievous…they take money and create opinion accordingly. But in those days, almost everyone kept praising Nehru nonstop…when the country got freedom newly. Back then he used to play a trick: “who after Nehru?” newspapers would let this question float around randomly. The obvious response from the same quarters would be…oh…there’s nobody after Nehru…nobody has that international level & stature…this was the regular thing. On occasions, Nehru would say, “No, I’ve had enough. I am resigning from everything.” Then all these people would fold their hands and say, “no no you must not quit.” This was how Nehru’s stature would further increase. He used to play these tricks regularly. In this scenario…in the Mysore Princely State…Karnataka unification hadn’t yet happened…(Kengal) Hanumantaiah was our Chief Minister. Hanumantaiah was intelligent plus fearless. People used to say he was a bit arrogant. There was an AICC conference then. Hanumantaiah was present there. In breaktime, Hanumantaiah had stepped out for coffee or something. Some journalist asked, “Sir who after Nehru?” He replied, “Why not Hanumantaiah?” That was all he said: “Why not Hanumantaiah?” Immediately all papers published it in large headlines, “Hanumantaiah is making all preparations to become Prime Minister.” The papers presented it as though it was a great crime. Nehru quickly made sure that Hanumantaiah stepped down from his job. And how did he do it? He unleashed the same Congress MLAs…he instructed them to bring no-confidence motion against Hanumantaiah and got rid of him. Nehru allowed nobody to grow. Today Rahul Gandhi is the Congress president. Ask anyone in the entire congress party…whether any single Congress member will talk against or question Rahul Gandhi? Rahul Gandhi isn’t exactly intelligent or learned…what vision does he have? What real-world experience does he have? Isn’t this dictatorship? Will you stay alive after talking against Sonia Gandhi? After Indira Gandhi died…when they were travelling from…Calcutta I think…Rajiv Gandhi and others were travelling…there was a question, “now that your mother is dead, who will be the next Prime Minister?” Pranab Mukherjee was there in that group. He said, “next senior most Congressman maybe made the prime minister.” Pranab Mukherjee was senior most. He was competent and experienced and had done some good work. That one line was enough. He was never allowed to become Prime Minister ever after. Sonia Gandhi didn’t allow him to be Prime Minister. Then…later…he…why was he made President? To completely seal any future chance of him becoming Prime Minister. This isn’t dictatorship? Where is democracy here? Modi follows democratic principles…if you give him facts and figures, Modi will change his opinion. See…Sushma Swaraj was earlier in the opposing camp of Modi. But he called her because he recognised her experience and made her foreign minister. As foreign minister, she’s doing good work. But can she do it without Modi’s guidance? And defence minister…Parikkar…well, he had to return to Goa because of circumstances there…in his place, Modi brought a lady. She’s also doing great work. Is this dictatorship? This is leadership not dictatorship! The mischievous papers write whatever they feel like because they have to fill the pages. They have to show how intelligent they are.