India today, is in dire need of change. Years of policy paralysis have sapped her citizens of hope, leaving them increasingly disillusioned with their leaders. Riddled by scams, shaken by crimes and confronted repeatedly with the bogey of corruption, there is an overwhelming sense of betrayal in the minds of the common man. India today needs a leader who can lead from the front, shake the administration and the people out of their apathy and inject some hope in their minds.
While Kejriwal once embodied this hope, his overreaching political ambitions perhaps have made him seize too much too fast. His brief stint as the Delhi CM only served to malign the image of both him and his party. Having tasted blood at the Delhi elections, it was but natural for the AAP and its leaders to clamour for a more central role in the scheme of things. But while the opportunity provided by the citizens of Delhi should have been used to consolidate their position and show that they could handle the power they were vested with, with responsibly, they chose to fritter it away in a spectacular manner. The subsequent high decibel spectacle no doubt was meant to impress the country and further cement the AAP's image as the pro-people party. Unfortunately the move backfired spectacularly, casting the AAP in the role of a "rebel without a cause," negating in one stroke any goodwill the RTI and the Lokpal movements had generated for Kejriwal.
In the vacuum left by the AAP and their vacuous politicking rose murmurs of "Achche Din" Within no time these murmurs had turned into a deafening roar that swept the UPA into oblivion and heralded the NDA into power. One must ask though, is Modi really the man who can bring us these Achche din? In an India overwhelmed by her own contradictions, juggling with patriarchy, poverty, illiteracy and inequality even as she strives to send a Mars expedition in space, we need a practical and wise leader. We need someone who can exhort us to face our demons and emerge on the global stage in our full potential.
We need someone who can rally the people of India regardless of their many differences and take them 'forward' into a brighter future. Most incumbent political heavy weights today are burdened by their legacy of divisive vitriol and vote bank politics, calculated at reaping short term gains at the ballots. Such a short sighted approach though has caused several problems to escalate in our society, severely harming any chances of progress or betterment in the foreseeable future. One only has to look at the chaos and agitation that has converged on UP with the twin forces of communalism and patriarchy raising their ugly heads time and again. In this volatile situation, as UP burns, the state stands as a mute spectator, fearful of losing its grip on power by voicing opinions that may not necessarily appease its supporters.
What we need today is an inspiring leader, someone who has the courage to go against the tide and stand by his principles in order to uplift the nation. In the USA, one such leader had emerged as the rallying point for hope amidst the ruins of the economic crisis and plummeting morale in the face of the resource-sapping stalemate in the Afghanistan/Iraq wars. Obama emerged on the centre stage of the USA politics as the answer to all of America's troubles. Extolling the people with slogans like "Yes We Can," he promised to lead from the front and usher in change in America. In the two terms that he has helmed the USA, not everything is picture perfect. There are still chinks in USA's growth story, a certain sense of unfulfilled promises but by and large, Obama has managed to restore a sense of balance in the country. What works for Obama is that he has a very unconventional background and comes across as a leader who will allow room for discussion, instead of imposing his will on the government machinery and expecting people to magically toe the line.
India today stands at the cusp of a similar change. Change demands dialogue, a platform where diverging points of views can be voiced and a common path agreed upon. Modi's legacy in Gujarat at least is that of a form of governance where discussion is discouraged primarily because all authority and indeed all power of the organisation emanates from the man firmly in the centre. Such an approach in a country like India is fraught with risk as we stand to alienate thousands who may not agree with the direction the nation is taking, but who nevertheless have the same rights to them as the majority of India's citizens.
What we need is a leader who is willing to walk with the populace in quest of this change and make them feel a part of the metamorphosis.