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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Editorials

Playing to the in-house gallery
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 09, 2013
First Published: 22:42 IST(9/4/2013)
Last Updated: 22:45 IST(9/4/2013)

Modi magic, Modi mania, Modi's mantras, we just don't seem to be able to get enough of it, at least in the print and electronic media. And the Gujarat chief minister has chosen his audiences well. They were all platforms on which he could speak uninterrupted about his vision for his state without let or hindrance before a gathering of powerful people. Mr Modi is no political novice, he is perfectly aware that while his appearances before confederations of industry will not get him the votes his party needs to be sure of a victory in 2014, he also realises that he needs India Inc's approval both for election funds and for his image as a man whom you can do business with. But most of all, his back-to-back appearances were to tell his own party that it did not have anyone quite his equal when it comes to both economics and politics.

The party, as we have seen, has simply not named him as the first among equals. Every now and again, we have some functionary floating a name, at times, LK Advani, at times Sushma Swaraj only to back off and suggest that this was a personal opinion. We have also had BJP luminaries mention Mr Modi as the best bet for prime minister only to backtrack later. Mr Modi is clearly not one to leave anything to chance. He has now made it very difficult for the party to come up with someone who can counter him. Indeed, it would take a brave man or woman to take him on while he is on such a roll. But there is many a slip between the cup and the lip for Mr Modi.

First, he has not got the unequivocal backing of the RSS without which there can be no consensus on who will be the prime ministerial candidate. The baggage of the past has still not been left behind making many wary of projecting Mr Modi at this early stage. There are still doubts about his all-India appeal, especially in the south. But there is still no doubt that the Modi of earlier days who was given to stringent attacks on opponents, who was given to unnecessary remarks like the one made about minister of state for human resource development Shashi Tharoor's wife has had a makeover. Today, he talks with gravitas on India or Bharat Mata and about debts to be paid to the nation. He has held up his state as a microcosm of what India could be given less government and more governance as he put it. The other successful BJP chief ministers are nowhere in the picture. Whether the party plumps for Mr Modi for 2014 or not, it is becomingly increasingly difficult to ignore his claim, if he openly makes it, to the top post.


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