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As 2015 draws to a close, there is near unanimity among people — except for blind, biased supporters — that it was a difficult year for PM Modi and his government. It was a period of electoral losses — Delhi, Bihar and Gujarat — and policy rollbacks and roadblocks — Land Acquisition Bill, GST Bill, et al. By nature, this dichotomy of Modi's support base isn't unwieldy because it comprises two groups that are at different but not antagonistic levels of what psychologist famously Maslow called Need Hierarchy. In simple terms, their needs and motivations may be different, but they aren't mutually exclusive. On his right — at least ideologically — were those who wanted him to pursue their vision of what is defined by many as sanskratik rashtravad (cultural nationalism) rooted in Hindutva. On the other were those who had voted for him with the belief that Modi will rapidly develop India and transmogrify it into some equivalent of a first-world country with his energy, ideas and personal integrity. Though much of this white noise may have been music to a section of Modi supporters, to those who had elected him for their basic needs, it soon turned into drivel. No wonder, the poor, marginalised and the lower middle class fled the BJP camp, leading to crushing electoral defeats and decline in the PM's popularity throughout 2015. The other sign, of course, was Modi's initiative to engage Pakistan diplomatically. In many ways, Modi is redefining himself when it comes to Pakistan. From candidate Modi who railed against the UPA for being soft towards Pakistan, he has turned into a PM who is taking forward the conciliatory measures of his predecessors, including Man Mohan Singh. This may irritate the 'go-to-Pakistan' brigade among his supporters and hardliners within the NDA, Modi is doing the right thing by normalising relations and defusing the atmosphere of hostility. If the government doesn't get its act together, the segment that voted for Modi for achche din — not sanskratik rashtravad — will become mutinous and lead to the government's precipitous decline. The Indian economy isn't exactly at its robust best. The growth forecasts are being revised downwards, exports are shrinking, currency is tanking, jobs have become rare and key indicators of consumption--real estate automobiles--are either stagnant or falling. This has happening in spite of the fall in prices of crude and the government's decision to slap more taxes.


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