Best bet for PM's job but BJP keeps Modi waiting
Arvind J Bosmia
October 16, 2012
First Published: 13:51 IST(16/10/2012)
Last Updated: 14:10 IST(16/10/2012)
With the UPA already reeling under the effects of 2G and coal block allocation scams, the Robert Vadra-DLF knockout punch has politically floored the alliance and eliminated the compulsion of BJP high command to seek the help of champion electoral pehalwan Narendra Modi to win the 2014 Lok Sabha bout. The fact that the opponent is in no position to fight can make even a born loser to dream that he may finally win.
Nitin Gadkari is presented with a large floral garland by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. PTI Photo
In this situation even sceptics inside the BJP high-command can become convinced that all of them can be better than Modi. The first indication of this confidence was party president Nitin Gadkari's declaration that the party will not project a particular prime ministerial candidate before the 2014 elections. The Gujarat CM can be one among several other candidates.
The BJP has already paid the price of projecting the wrong one in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. Without the corruption mess UPA is in, there was no choice but to project the right candidate and submit to Gujarat CM Narendra Modi by declaring him as a future prime minister so that the political star's charisma could be fully exploited.
But now even this compulsion is gone with the BJP high command opportunistically assuming that voters will come their way out of disgust for UPA. There is also a good possibility that without Modi people can give BJP the treatment it got in the Uttar Pradesh elections. To express their disgust against Mulayam people voted Mayawati to power; in turn, out of revulsion for Mayawati, Mulayam was returned to power. The UP BJP is of course on political ventilator. But anything can be expected from a party that did nothing when voted out of power in March 2004, because an astrologer predicted that UPA government would fall in November 2004 on its own!
Now Gadkari has declared the field for the prime ministerial candidate open, with several others as options besides Modi. This was clearly evident when he spoke at the rally held on the conclusion of Swami Vivekananda Yuva Vikas Yatra at Pavagadh in Gujarat on October 11. He strode on the stage like a challenger, chest all front. He spoke of his formidable past achievements like building the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, Mumbai flyovers and made a new claim: that he was the father of Pradhanmantri Gramya Sadak Yojna, which launched during the Vajpayee regime. In short, he was saying "Me too Modi" in the presence of the Modi original. The real one bore it all with exasperated expression on his face as Gadkari carried away by his eloquence consumed 20 minutes of extra time.
But stopping Modi this time will be a bit too much. Not only the man himself, crores of Indians fancy him as a potential great PM. Many believe that had BJP projected him as PM in 2004, even wrecking NDA over the issue, UPA would never have come to power and he as PM would have set a scorching development pace for the country. His next big moment was stolen by LK Advani, who sneakily got himself declared as the prime-minister-in waiting a week before results of the 2007 Gujarat assembly elections were to be declared. After the spectacular results the momentum of the process would have made Modi a natural prime minister in waiting, but by not doing so the BJP paid a heavy price.
Modi's plight is like that of a really bright school boy, who in spite of scoring almost cent percent marks at the examination is forced to be repeat his class by a perverse school principal so that the not so bright may shine in the higher classes. This election will be the third examination. Even if he wins all the 182 seats, it will give him no pleasure. For too long PM ship of India has been denied to him by low intrigues in his own party.
One may therefore ask: why doesn't the schoolboy join another meritorious school instead of wasting his precious years or have a school of his own?
(The writer is a political analyst based in Ahmedabad. The views expressed are personal.)