Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Great Battle Of 2014 - Demystified

So after a hiatus of close to three months, here I am, pitching in again, throwing some light on one of the most followed upon topics by the people of the world's largest democracy - "General Elections 2014". In this article I won't be all mushy and delicate with my opinions; in fact, there will be some criticism - hope nobody sues me for slandering, but then none of what's written here is fake.
The facts are real; the opinions are rather mine.
The battle for the Prime minister's Office boils down to not just two leading national parties, namely the BJP and the Congress, fighting one another to prove their hegemony. The equation here is far more complex - there are inter party disputes, conflict of interests of parties that are members of the same coalition and there are also internecine conflicts within parties, especially within BJP.
Let’s look at the elections with a bird's eye view, analyzing what's going against the two major parties when it comes to reaching that magical figure of 273.

INC has been in the soup lately - for the sake of this article let me call it the Italian 'Scam-Soup'. Congress has been executing one scam after the other so blatantly and consistently that the people's trust on Congress and its leaders has really taken a bashing. So despite its spicy flavor, people are not ready to have the scam-soup anymore. There has been a litany of scams in the past few years - Coalgate, 2G, 3G, CWG...'MadamG' and what not. It seems that the Congress ministers of state are more interested in pulling off these complicated scams, no doubt they hardly manage time for other 'unimportant' works like public welfare and good governance. Truly speaking, the UPA led coalition is in shambles at the moment with a long list of allegations tainting the image of its ministers. The CBI and the CAG, while struggling to get the perpetrators of a scam to book, are soon burdened with another scam - far too complicated and involving much more money than the previous one. It's a mess.
The economy is also struggling and the growth has largely been sluggish - Thanks to the lackadaisical attitude and policy paralysis of our ministers. One of the world's most promising economies until a few years back, almost on the verge of touching the two-digit growth mark, is now snailing at a mere 4-5% growth. And then if that's not enough, the troika of  the leading credit rating agencies of the world - Moody's, Fitch and S&P - are deteriorating India's stand in the international market by relentlessly talking about downgrading India's rating even further. Any more fall in the ratings, would plummet India down to junk status. And that would be a big blow to the economy. From the people's perspective too, the economy is not any better. Inflation is ever increasing, interest rates are rising, and rupee is dipping like mercury in winters and markets in the job are also at their all-time low. All credits to Congress. The giant robust bull of Indian economy is now reeling under pressure and trying to fight its way out of the vagaries of the western economies.

The BJP is not a stable party within itself. Its party leaders can't manage their own internal politics, let alone they would be able to manage the politics of the seventh largest nation of the world. 'Mr Red', I mean Lal Krishna Advani or the angry old man, has been all hustling and bustling with a 'Modi' elevating as the forerunner in the race to the Prime Minister’s office. Advani has divided the party further into two major factions, the Modi's and the Non-Modi's. At a juncture when the entire so called 'Parivar' of the BJP should be on its toes to curb this menace called Congress, they are busy in these petty fights. Mr  Red, with this attitude, you should not be called the party patriarch anymore. And Mr Modi, please learn to behave like a would-be-PM of the country and get over your tantrums. Your arrogance and 'I’m-the-man' kind of attitude is way too much for the people of this country to deal with. You are surely the people's best bet today but please learn to make people believe in you rather than trying to impose your belief on them.

Neither the Congress nor the BJP, by any chance, would be able to reach that 243 mark all alone. They would need the support of regional parties to form a coalition. Now the situation on both sides is pretty worse. The Congress lately lost two of its major allies, the TMC and the DMK. Its terms with the SP do not seem very good either. BJP also is struggling to soothe things with JDU.  Also, the BJP, with it banking on NaMo as the Prime Ministerial candidate, will not be able to get the support of many parties, if at all it appears out as the one with the major chunk of votes.
The bottom-line: Both the BJP and the Congress need to have at least 200 seats on their own to be able to form a coalition at the Centre. If that doesn't happen, the election result can swing in any of the infinite possible directions.

The Con-PM vs The Bha-PM :
This one's a bummer. While we surely know now that Bhartiya Janta Party-PM candidate would be Narendra Modi (NaMo), the Congress is still playing it ugly and has not openly come forward with a name for Congress-PM candidate. It might also be that the Congress is vacillating from Manmohan Singh to Rahul Gandhi and back to Manmohan Singh as their choice. But to expect Manmohan Singh to come up for a third consecutive term, especially when the
country's economy and also the country itself is not doing so well, would be far too much. So most probably it would be Rahul Gandhi (RaGa).
This epic battle between NaMo and RaGa is due for sure, if not now then surely in 2019. But for now, let’s presume its NaMo vs RaGa, which most likely is the case.
Now NaMo is surely the best available choice. He might not be able to do a 'Vajpayee' but he might do very well, even with his arrogance of sorts. Critics of Modi, might say that the pogrom that happened in Gujarat in the 2002 communal riots brands him as an anti-Muslim communist and stands out as the biggest example of his bad governance and administration. Okay, point conceded dear critics. As a rebuttal, I would like to make you aware of the fact that Mr Modi had been at the helm for no longer than 2 months when the riots started. And no CM, just two months old, would have been able to deal with it with strong actions right away. Can this be treated as an excuse to exculpate Modi - a blunt No. But should Modi be given a chance considering Gujarat has not witnessed any other incident of communal violence ever since - a welcoming Yes.
Modi's, arrogance and fearlessness, can also prove to be a big boon for the country, provided its channelized properly. Modi is the one who can take some serious steps in times of crisis with great audacity and conviction, he can re-establish India's dominance in the South East Asia and the subcontinent, propose India's ideas in the international zone and force leaders of other nations to mould or relax policies in India's favor.
But does all this make Modi, the best Prime Minister India could ever dream of - apologies but the answer is a NO yet again. Mr Modi has done some really good work in Gujarat. Not only has he made the state administration and bureaucracy almost corruption free, he has also helped Gujarat gain new industrial significance both in the country and abroad.  But the growth in Gujarat is not, as Nitish Kumar pointed out, all inclusive. The southern parts of Gujarat are blossoming and industrial activity is at its peak, but the drier parts of the state like Saurashtra are struggling. So if the Gujarat-model of development really work for the entire country is still a riddle. Those who champion Modi's idea of development fail to realize that 70% of India's population still resides in rural villages or rural suburbs.
But then again Mr Modi, any day, would be a better choice than the INC’s heir apparent – Rahul Gandhi. This scion of Indian politics’ first family has been remiss in his responsibilities for far too long. We cannot afford shirking of duties anymore. India needs a strong leader given that things are not panning out very well for countries around the world. And if there is no one better than Narendra Modi, we accept him with grace.

 Pseudonym : h!v

Disclaimer: The opinions presented in the article are author''s own. The author does not intend to promote any National Party/Candidate.
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