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Customer Review

Reviewed in India 🇮🇳 on 16 January 2019
Though Tharoor's latest book may be motivated by political compulsions, it is most timely for the dispassionate voter in the forthcoming Parliamentary elections. By presenting a lucid & incisive analysis of Namo's personality, politics & his rule, Tharoor shouts to be heard, especially against the recent background of the relentless deification of the Modi persona, using the combined might of the govt & the ruling party. He examines Modi's personality & conduct thoroughly, including his claims & criticisms thereof & reveals a carefully constructed image boasting of humble background , great achievements, but prone to ultra conservatism, divisive & majoritarian politics. Tharoor points out ,with some glee that Modi's B.A & M,A degrees remain unsubstantiated till now by the concerned universities. He also quotes several slip-ups by Modi in his speeches involving historical inaccuracies, scientific ignorance ( Ganesha & plastic surgery in ancient India ) & exaggerations in reporting economic performance of the govt , which shows Modi to be nowhere near the infallible leader his followers have tried to depict.
Tharoor's wide reading, erudition & familiarity with most aspects of our political & economic lives come in handy while dissecting the various aspects of the Modi regime. His ready wit, ever willing to pounce on any available source for a great quote ,is a big weapon in his armoury. While discussing the outsized nature of Modi's cabinet ( against the poll promise of ' minimum govt, maximum governance' ), he quotes his own tweet about being a Minister of State , " M.o.S is like standing in a cemetery : there are lots of people under you , but no one is listening ". There are enough wisecracks like this one throughout the book to keep us entertained.
Tharoor condemns strongly Modi's ' obdurate refusal to speak, let alone condemn' the various atrocities committed on minorities during his rule, esp. cow vigilantism, leading to the unfortunate impression that the PM condones these actions.
The economic performance of the govt., often cited as a strong point, is dismissed by Tharoor, citing its poor record in key areas such as job creation, exports, investments, wages, & fund allocation to sectors like health, & education, likely to affect the poorer sections. Predictably, the author is devastating in his analysis of demonetization, which he sums up as ' an ill-conceived scheme, ill-planned, poorly thought through, badly implemented & executed '. Even a highly desirable initiative like GST comes in for criticism in Tharoor's hands for its rushed introduction, multiplicity of rates, non-inclusion of major areas like petroleum products, high tariffs, excruciating number of returns to be filed even by small businesses etc. Tharoor is on less sure ground when he takes up Modi's foreign policy initiatives. He bemoans the lack of solid achievements on the ground level , esp. in relations with our hostile neighbours, China & Pakistan, in spite of some furious activity. He is on more solid ground when he points out the blunders made in relations with our neighbouring states, esp. Nepal & Maledives.
The book deserves to be read by the discerning public in an election year for its systematic & wide coverage of the ruling govt's record, thorough research & elegant, witty presentation, though a bit repetitive at times. ( Caution ; fact checker to be used when in doubt ).

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