When motivational speaker Simon Sinek sheds light on leadership, he articulates that it is not about the next elections, but about the next generation. That brings me straight to the point that there is something extra-special about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that makes him an absolute superstar in the world of leadership. Like no one quite before him, Mr Modi has managed to carry the “next generation” along with him for the second time running, thereby spectacularly sweeping his party, the formidable BJP, to greater majority and success. Earlier leaders who’ve triumphed in India’s Parliamentary politics did not have to deal with an electorate that is as young, impatient and aspiring, as Mr Modi has had to. Whether from the rural swathes or from the urban classes, young Indians now are thoroughly exposed, and by and large disillusioned with dynastic politics, cantankerous and violent opposition, and above all, intellectual dishonesty. They want to break the back of those who’ve taken them for a ride in the past by using the power of their voting fingers. Delivery, not mere talk, matters more to the next generation of Indians.
It cannot be easy dealing with an electorate of 900 million in a country of 1.3 billion, especially when about 600 million of the electorate is below 35 years in age. Mr Modi’s charisma and magic has young India in its grip. Even at 68, he connects smoothly with the wifi-whatsapp generation more easily than opponents far younger, but less mentally agile.
Former Governor of Hawaii Linda Lingle succinctly adds to what Sinek has to say. Politicians, according to her, all too often think about the next election, whereas statesmen think about the next generation. Mr Modi may have put his political career on the line with such tough economic decisions like demonetization—that even two and a half years after it was implemented continues to provide ample nightmares to those who didn’t find time to whiten their black money—and implementation of the goods and services tax, but they did not backfire. His sincerity did not go unnoticed, and India’s millions of voters understood the path he was taking. It elevated him to the ranks of statesmen.