WORLD
TRUMP-N-MODI
No qualms about ethics or respect for democracy
- VIPIN PUBBY*
No qualms about ethics or respect for democracy



United States President Donald Trump and our Prime Minister Narendra Modi are both great showmen and share several traits which have resulted in a wonderful chemistry between the two as both have no qualms about ethics or respect for democracy and can be brutal against those who come their way.

The mega event organised in Houston ‘Howdy Modi’ was even a greater success than the earlier ones in the Madison Square and the Silicon Valley where Modi had impressed the Indian community abroad during his first term. The latest event was made all the more grand due to the presence of Trump which also also perhaps unprecedented in that country’s history.

It was obvious that the two were sharing a platform less for the crowd present and more for their voters and constituencies back home. 

Modi does it all the time, whether speaking in Parliament or addressing the nation from the Red Fort to conveying his "Mann ki baat” but  stakes are even higher right now for President Trump who would be facing elections for a second term in about a year. Trump was evidently counting on the sizeable Indian community in the US for support. The community, which appears to be in complete awe of Modi, is again likely to back Trump in the hope that Modi would be able to convince the US president to go slow on his anti-migrants stance. 

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Besides being great showmen, the two leaders are also known to be outspoken as well as ready to break conventions and norms. Also the two leaders can go to any extent to attack their critics and political opponents. Trump has on several occasions criticised former presidents and has blamed them for the current situation.
 
Recently during his joint press conference with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan he specifically named his predecessor Obama for his policies towards that country. Modi too has been blaming India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for several ills plaguing the country now and had ‘dynasty’ as his favourite charge against the Congress.

Another trait they have in common is muzzling of any criticism, indulging in vendetta and getting ruthless while dealing with political rivals. Both have a particular hate for the media. Trump has been running a campaign against what he calls "fake media” and belittling media persons in public. Modi has carried on with his resolve not to address any press conference or answer any question from media. Even at the recent joint press conference alongside Trump, Modi refrained from taking any questions from the media.

Modi has proved his mettle by securing a massive victory in the general elections earlier this year and has an unhindered four years for pushing his policies and programmes. For Trump testing times have begun and he would be willing to go to any extent to get a second term.  
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Trump and Modi have broken several barriers and have junked several international conventions.
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His political rivals, the Democrats, too are up in arms against him. In the latest move, the House of Representatives which is dominated by Democrats has decided to initiate a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump, charging him with betraying his oath of office and the nation’s security by seeking to enlist a foreign power to tarnish a rival for his own political gain. The charge is that he ordered holding of aid to Ukraine to force it to hold an inquiry into financial dealings of his political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden. 

It is unlikely that he would be finally impeached as the procedure is quite complex and Republicans enjoy a majority in the Congress but the proceedings may have an adverse impact on his election prospects. No wonder he has reacted sharply to the move. 

He would bank on his flamboyance and his unflinching resolve to look after the interests of Americans to seek a second term. He has been placing great emphasis on economy and trade to benefit America. He talked about trade both with India and Pakistan and has been at loggerheads with China mainly due to trade imbalance between the two countries. This is where India fits in his scheme of things.

Trump and Modi have broken several barriers and have junked several international conventions. It is difficult to imagine what’s in store if Trump also wins a second term. With the two at the helm of power in the world’s oldest and the world’s largest democracies, one can only pray for blossoming of true democracy. That’s a tall order but that’s all one can do. 
 
 

*The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career. This article was also published by lokmarg.com and is being reproduced here with the due permission of the author. - Ed

 
 

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