As Narendra Modi has no other political figure in virtually any modern democracy and maybe no leader in India may have endured the demonetisation catastrophe for seven weeks.
It has been in this whole interval if one is looking for signs of his abilities as a mass leader. Let's take a look at it and appreciate it, because we are in the presence of a true master.
We have a few clues the currency exchange catastrophe may not have been fully anticipated by the authorities. The second is that he continued to Japan on a scheduled visit, at the time when the extent to which the market would be affected by the note deficit was merely being realised. By the time he returned from Japan it was clear the queues were not likely to vanish instantly.
His first announcement was dynamic and so powerful that popular opinion was carried by it. The media was fully on his side and also a nervous Congress also declared support for the move. Just two grassroots leaders, Arvind Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee, opposed it and recognised the risk.
Modi was, in fact, able to recruit substantial portions of the people including millions who did not vote for him, likely on his side, since the important change was foreseen by them, but who didn't mind the annoyance.
The reaction would likely have been the opposite: bitterness at being made to go through the trouble. Perhaps that anger is assembling now when it's clear the interference will probably stay for months, but for Modi to have kept up it for this particular amount of time is exceptional.
The second demonstration of his talent was how quickly he comprehended that the negative impact of the policy was bigger than expected. First-he said that he meant and that he previously sacrificed his family life because of his mission. The uncharacteristically emotional moment of this speech, when he broke down, may also have become the instant when he acknowledged to himself that the issue was out of hand.
He said that normalcy wouldn't normally return to 50 days. With this second move, he bought himself room and time to recalibrate his strategy. Once again, he got the media on his side and also the discourse within the immediate issues that people were facing was redirected.
It is this opinion on 50 days of irritation that allowed him the freedom to think of the way to reposition demonetisation. There is no reference to a digital economy in his first announcement, that was limited to black money, counterfeit currency and terrorism, as some publications have noted. It truly is after his return from those speeches and Japan that unexpectedly the discourse changed, and it shifted because of Modi's ability and credibility. One can imagine it being thought about by him. The opposition said this was a changing of goalposts, but they should recognise that this is not a university discussion. So long as big elements of the population can convince that the policy is great along with the annoyance will finally be beneficial, he can keep doing so. The specific advantages of the policy are not important to politics.
Proof of this seemed when the Bharatiya Janata Party continued its electoral successes across India even a month after demonetisation, including in Punjab where it's in suffering and power anti-incumbency.
There is obviously no opposition to Modi right now, and he is still in complete charge of the story, which can be astonishing since every single Indian has changed negatively. It has so far not been able to although the Congress had the chance to manipulate mass annoyance.
Because they are afraid that they are going to be mistreated a lot of people are hesitant to openly express their dislike of demonetisation.
For now, it must be acknowledged that so far, the prime minister has shown that he is where he's not because of fortune but a pure gift at keeping it there and bringing public opinion.