• Saturday, July 13, 2024


Modi has ensured that India’s G20 moment pays off, not just overseas but also at home

The opposition has alleged that Modi and his BJP have hijacked the G20 for own political gains as the event logo is lotus, the electoral symbol of the saffron party.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

THE G20 summit which will kick off in New Delhi on Saturday (9) is significant not just from the perspective that it is marks a mega gathering of the world’s top countries and organisations but also from prime minister Narendra Modi’s own point of view, particularly with the next general elections less than a year away.

The Modi government has left no stone unturned to make the G20 summit, one of the biggest international events that India has hosted in its 76-year-old independence, a major success. It also made all efforts in the run-up to India’s presidency of the G20 and during it to promote the leadership of prime minister Modi. The government has also tried to showcase that hosting the G20 is worthy for India as it is “The Fountainhead of Democracy”.

There are ample reasons for India to make the G20 moment a mega success — external as well as internal.

On the external front, G20 is significant for India as it is asserting itself as a growing geopolitical and economic force which a number of global powers are courting. India is also aspiring to be a leader for the developing nations to idolise.

India is also being hailed as the fastest-growing economy where western nations are making a beeline for a slice of business. Recently, the country also became the first to land a lunar mission on the south pole of the moon and the fourth in the history of mankind to reach the natural satellite. All these add up to a promotion of the country’s stature in the eyes of the world.

Modi has ensured that the G20 presidency confirms this rise of India, which in turn magnifies his own image, particularly ahead of the next general elections, winning which he would return as the prime minister for the third consecutive term.

Neerja Chowdhury, a political analyst, told the New York Times that Modi is making a good use of the G20, just as he has been a master in marketing moves ever since his days as the chief minister of the western state of Gujarat.

“That India has arrived on the world stage will go strongly in his favor with the electorate,” she was quoted as saying by the daily.

Experts also said that India’s political opponents feel Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have hijacked an international gathering aimed at promoting economic cooperation. The G20 logo that India has promoted consists of a lotus, the electoral symbol of the BJP and the prime minister proclaimed during the launch of the event that “the lotus still blooms” at a time of a global crisis.

This is where Modi has outsmarted his opponents in politically utilising the G20 platform and scored potential points at home.

The print and electronic media in India have spoken continuously in favour of India’s G20 moment and the government reportedly has spent $200 million (£160 million) on more than 200 events related to G20 across several Indian cities to celebrate the occasion in a way that even future hosts of the grouping’s summit may find challenging to match.

Politically, too, it has been an effective move as by geographically decentralising G20 events, Modi and his saffron party kicked off the campaigning in a way for the upcoming electoral season.

The BJP doesn’t think there is any problem in using the G20 for political gains.

Indian home minister Amit Shah, who is the party’s second most powerful leader after Modi, told an Indian news outlet earlier this year, “Why shouldn’t G20 be used for domestic politics? If G20 has come to the country during Modi-ji’s time and it is completed with success, then Modi-ji must get credit.”

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