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Modi’s big bang tax cuts : Why a second term for Modi was absolutely critical

It’s a hard reality that the political well in India has been poisoned with socialism. Unless Modi 1.0 made peace with this reality, we would likely have seen Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister today.

The most basic rule in any war is that only the one who survives will fight the battle the next day.

With the tax cuts announced yesterday, India’s corporate tax rate on manufacturers is now among the lowest in the world, comparable or even lower than business paradise destinations like Hong Kong or Singapore. This is easily one of the most decisive right-wing, pro-market reforms undertaken since independence. A change in outlook, away from soaking the rich and towards economic freedom.

And the government is probably just getting started. Big-ticket labour reforms could be around the corner. The Land Acquisition Bill, shelved in 2015, could make a comeback.

What will the opposition do now?

The opposition narrative, peddled by their pet leftists, is once again in disarray. Till yesterday, we had lifelong Communists opportunistically beating their chests at the woes of investors and corporates. Just to heap scorn on PM Modi. Where do they go from now?

That’s not hard to guess. The government announced that it would forgo Rs 1.45 lakh crore of revenue as a consequence of these tax cuts. The opposition will now seize upon this figure and talk about how rich investors were given a bonanza at the cost of money that could have been spent on the poor. Standard left-wing delusion about wealth being like a fixed pie and obsessing over how to divide it. Because leftists never produce anything, they think it is impossible to grow the pie. Despite all the evidence in the world. But leftists have trained themselves to ignore the evidence. Suit boot ki sarkar, anyone? Expect that jibe to make a comeback.

Why Modi 2.0 was needed

Except, who cares? Five years ago, the government might have been nervous in the face of such a jibe, but who cares now? The opposition is so discredited that they are almost irrelevant. In fact, the government itself gave them the figure of Rs 1.45 lakh crore, saving them the trouble of figuring it out independently. It shows how confident Modi sarkar is and how little the opposition matters now.

This is why a second successive term in office was so critical. Congress is now over. The right-wing is now finally free to remake Bharat the way they have always wanted. Be it Article 370, Ram Mandir or growing the Indian economy by unleashing the potential of the free market.

Lots of BJP supporters have long fretted through PM Modi’s first term, flagging the socialist approach of the government and itching to see their cultural agenda implemented without delay. After all, the BJP had its own majority in the Lok Sabha, a historic opportunity that might never come again.

PM Modi’s vision

This is where PM Modi was able to think ahead. Instead of seeing the 2014 election as a one time opportunity, he was able to see it as the first of many General Elections that would lead to decades of Hindu right-wing rule in India. In 2013, even as the UPA was ruling the Center and most states, he spoke of a ‘Congress Mukt Bharat.’ He could identify the Congress’ structural weaknesses beyond its powerful exterior, that the party had become feeble in states, lost the energy to make political comebacks in places where it had been out of power for extended periods. That it’s regional leaders were prone to deserting, etc. That Rahul had zero political instincts. That one big push and five years out of office would lead to a Congress collapse.

It’s a hard reality that the political well in India has been poisoned with socialism. Unless Modi 1.0 made peace with this reality, we would likely have seen Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister today. Any small gains made in five years would have quickly been wiped away by Rahul’s Congress. Remember how Sonia Gandhi’s NAC wiped out all changes made in the 1999-2004 era, besides harvesting the fruits of Atalji’s hard work on economic reforms to win the 2009 election.

The only thing that could remake India is a sustained right-wing rule at the Center. Instead of a powerful Cabinet berth at the Center, Amit Shah was deployed as party president. He led an aggressive campaign to revive the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. Installing BJP governments in places like Haryana and Maharashtra, sweeping the North East. And a daring offensive in greenfield areas such as West Bengal and Odisha.

And most importantly, building a united Hindu vote. One that goes beyond caste.

The timing

Of course, in the success of every strategy lies a combination of hard work and timing. The nature of social media was such that the Gandhi myth could no longer be sold to the public by the media managers of the Dynasty. Rahul Gandhi had no chance. He wasn’t lucky like Rajiv or Sonia. A rapidly urbanizing India was also taking Hindu society out of traditional caste silos. Further, as Hindus were no longer living in abject poverty, they were looking to define their place in the world.

The time was just right.

The future is ours

The overwhelming success of this strategy now gives the BJP a free hand. Perhaps for many many elections to come. The sheer electoral arithmetic dictates that BJP will be the dominant party for many many election cycles. And Amit Shah is now at the Center, where he has started off with repealing Article 370. The Government is now free to cut taxes to levels only seen in HongKong and Singapore. What more can we achieve? The possibilities are endless. And we have time on our side. The future is all ours.

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or may not be an Associate Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

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