Narendra Modi and Donald Trump are two great leaders who have contributed into the making and unmaking of political weather across the world, the regions and the countries those they belong to.
They both have a diplomatic etiquette of their own rather than imbibing the conventional bookish one. Both are weary of war in Iraq, Syria and the rise of Islamic State. In a latest, they are inching closer on contentious issues like Kashmir and China.
Right from the start, terrorism is the central focus of their interaction with the world leaders, and like any youth, they are quite deft at handling Twitter, the social media, which they use as their instrument of communication with their people.
Both have expert social media strategists and executors to reap the benefit of the global phenomenon of insurgent populism and populist nationalism.
How & When It Started
Modi was voted to highest seat of authority in India in 2014 and Trump in 2016, though he assumed office in January 2017.
If one became Prime Minster of the largest democracy on the Globe, the other took the office of the President of the oldest democracy.
While Modi got a parliamentary democracy, Trump was destined to manage a presidential one.
Will He, Won’t He
India never expected a win for Modi to the 16th Lok Sabha (House of the People) before May 2014. Americans would laugh at, if any one were to ask the prospects of Trump snatching the presidency from a formidable Hillary Clinton.
But, both won and stunned their countrymen. Both won the highest authority in their country not on the basis of popular votes, rather benefitting from the technicality of electoral methods that their democracies have chosen.
Country First Slogans
Both Modi and Trump are ambitious and want to better the life and enhance the security of their people, evident at least from their clarion call to people; for which they have promised moon to them.
America for Americans is the central focus of Trump’s policy in social, political and economic initiatives of America’s life hence his oft-quoted slogan ‘Americans First’.
As regards Modi, nationalism is his driving force. Nationalism is the core of his social, political and economic agenda. Therefore, symbolic things like national anthem and national unity day are resorted to by Modi to generate the feeling of Indianness.
From Fitness To Bureaucracy
Both Modi and Trump are wary of their own bureaucracy. What Trump proposes, his own bureaucracy disposes. So is the case with Modi.
Trump’s bureaucrats are always on toe when he meets foreign leaders as he often end up doing loud and erratic talk with leaders as guests. Therefore, the bureaucrats need to step in for damage control exercise.
Trump was always young and is now getting a bit younger at age 71. Modi at 67 is projecting himself as a yoga buff, hard working, not only young but also bubbling with tremendous energy.
Both Modi and Trump wanted power from the people to change their country: one to deliver a new America; and the other a New India with ‘achchhe din’ (Good Days).
Modi’s promise of ‘achchhe din’ (good days ahead) is still the catch phrase and popular among the people; used by them for criticism—to highlight Modi’s failure; for praising—to highlight Modi’s good deeds; to make a fun of Modi by those who are still expecting good days ahead.
Modi has been a seasoned politician, yet he had to sideline his seniors like Lal Krishna Adwani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj and many others to grab power at the Centre. Trump is a shooting star who arrived on the American political landscape just when the primaries were being organised, with no political experience.
Modi has been a crafty, shrewd, and a polished politician; whereas Trump a loud, vulgar and with a trademark hairstyle which is non-conventional. Modi’s grey beard and thick lips are cartoonist’s paradise.
Also, Modi is probably without property of his own, whereas Trump is a property billionaire.
While Modi experiences favourable media, working almost like a keep of the treasury benches, media is the worst enemy of Trump.
Modi is viewed by majority people as a brand-builder while many Americans indulge in unmaking of Trump’s image to the extent of destroying it before the world.
Alas! The saga and the tale of two leaders could be endless. Posterity will determine whether they lived by their words, or words were mere words.