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Sunday, 15 September 2013

Mr Modi Becoming The Next Prime Minister of India: Can He? Should He?

The largest democracy in the world, the Indian democracy, is airing the most closely watched election in 2014. Although competition says players are ruling UPA, opposition NDA and the yet-to-be-born 3rd front - with many stalwarts, and compulsion says coalition politics is an inescapable reality of today's politics, this election could say all will change. No wonder, coalition difficulty is pushing at least the BJP to do away with it altogether.

Ever since federalists and Jeffersonians formed parties, although party programmes and projected rulers have been important to American voters and then to Indians, with MPs anointing ruler, charisma of MP elect is not less significant here. While modifying party goals 'common minimum programme' of coalition politics adds confusion, un-projected or even unelected ruler anointed by MPs after election adds suspense here. Unlike in USA, Caste and faith lingers even in the targeted undecided voters. With chattering class expecting a big change, do or die going on for both parties (BJP loss: non-winning party, Congress loss: fear of incarceration), NRIs keenly watching it and second battle happening in the Net, this election is the most interesting in Indian electoral history.

While projected silence of 2002 Gujarat riots haunts Modi, actual silence of Rahul — inside and outside parliament — haunts Congress. With the 3rd front still remaining unborn, a dream, the reality of the other two still show hesitation in baptising a PM elect. However, while a forceful backing by RSS will most likely make Modi one, a tactful back-out might anoint Rahul after victory. Tactfully, because defeat now still makes Rahul blameless for 2019.

If Modi becomes the candidate, can he win?

Although Rahul has youth, looks and Gandhi dynasty (like Kennedy) on his side, and Congress has roots in the villages by ruling the longest, in addition to Muslim vote bank through what BJP calls 'pseudo secularism', BJP also has grip on caste-divided Hindus united by the Ram temple, unified civil code and feeling of having less rights than non-Hindus. Seen as very corrupt and its central leader even hounded by Dr Swamy, for some Congress leaders defeat isn't just so but unless saved by a secret deal, it is incarceration. With winning thus being a must, vilification working and 'not him' defining the target, Modi's difficulty could match Ambedkar's.

But then, catering to mundane and spiritual human aspirations, his unique two-pronged disposition — Hindutwa and development — as never before, offers both. In addition, strategies, goals, oratory skills and personality don't let him down.

 Hounded by ambitious Nitish Kumar's party leaving coalition, and projected 'non-secular' and 'dictatorial style' not easing future coalition, he creates a goal to do away with coalition politics. For this, while reminding 'quit India' movement his 'get rid of Congress' eases future coalition if needed, his 'now or never' almost does to his followers, what 'for crown and the king' did for Imperial Brits. Almost matching Napoleon's 'Impossible is found in the dictionary of fools', his, 'I will not leave a single stone unturned' adds the determination needed in a leader.

 Almost like Congress using 'Muslim vote bank', Hindutwa-injected Hindu vote bank could propel a party to dizzy heights; as before. In this, him symbolising Hindutwa leader (RSS connection), and even projected as a Muslim basher (2002 riots) enchants ones who dislike Owaisi or Pakistani team supporting Muslims. However, with even his intelligently designed and diplomatic 'born Hindu therefore a Hindu nationalist' statement generating a flack, he strategically, leaves Hindutwa slogans — Ram temple and the rest — to his party stalwarts.

His projection as a Gujarat developing CM forms the second prong. He is projected as improving the lives of both Hindus and Muslims in his state. While this gives him 'one who does what he says' and makes his futuristic vision believable, unlike that of other leaders, it also translates accusation of 'autocrat' into a strong leader. The craze for him developing India is such that, the criticised 'dictatorial style' not only caters to ones saying 'India needs army rule', fed up with weak PM M. Singh, it even caters to ones needing just a strong leader. As a divide and rule or 'give what voters want' he uses this prong on the Muslims. Although, Muslims who praise him are suppressed by other Muslims, he has shown victory in Gujarat's Muslim majority areas.

Although, ticket needing, therefore history creating canvassing speech in Hyderabad was to all age groups, knowing 'a nation of youth' his target group is the Indian youth. With them needing him to do in India what he has done in Gujarat, and him needing them for victory, it's a symbiotic relation. Being mobile, dynamic, computer-savvy, and seeking progress in a competitive world, even if not voters they are a gem in viral message spread.

With media on Congress's side and social media on his side, this election is a battle of rival media too. Although his actions and words are at times distorted, made controversial and then discussed to increase TRP, which in turn makes him the most criticised CM in history, as 'any publicity is good publicity' (Reverts despite Islamophobia) it also makes him the most talked about politician. Although, who's hand was behind the cacophony at Advani's house isn't clear, being undisputed king of social media, it was possibly his diehard fans who shut down site designed to criticise him. Using technology and social media to the till, his 'no stone unturned' traces Obama's victorious social media tricks.

Although youth, like middle class, who consistently rate him the most fitting person for a PM, don't usually vote and Net is rare in villages, BJP can feast on mobiles becoming ubiquitous in villages. Even if the proposed million strong volunteers don't touch the main voters - villagers, with world's largest NGO the RSS, popular Yoga guru Ram Dev and other gurus religiously criss-crossing country for his sake, even villagers won’t remain untouched.

Although by no means fluent in English, which incidentally highlights his humble beginning and a success story akin to the American one — which in turn tempts voters (Dynasty in republic, however, tempts more!) —  his Hindi speeches carry Obama's intensity and charm. Although he copied latter's 'Yes we can', in his historic canvassing address in Hyderabad, his lack of progeny (less corrupt), achievements, leadership style, etc translate his lucid futuristic vision into an equally powerful 'yes he can'. His pride in nation energises locals, and reminds competitor Chinese at work. Although silent on 2002, his answers are intelligently designed and impressive.

He is already the favourite in polls. But then, with middleclass voting less and voting villagers, choosing caste, ethnicity and tradition than change, his journey isn't smooth. Although above factors make things easier, if subtly and intelligently done by not disturbing Hindu vote bank, airing his humble beginning could do a 'Mayawati'. Less known in the south, tracing Rishi Agastya's path could go a long way. Intelligent rectification of media's silence on peace and progress of Muslims pre and post riot periods, and their own silence on the riot can not only tempt hesitant Muslims but hesitant Hindus too. Not by appeasing (inequality) but like Congress sending Christians to the North East, if convinced Muslims are sent to apprise Muslims about those factors, victory isn't distant. When amplification of weakness of the ruling party is added, (even if not by choice, a no to Congress by default could be yes to Modi), a wave could form before election. While this could create a land slide or absolute majority, even if not so, 'worship of power' could bring disagreeing allies on a common minimum program. And when that happens, if self-interest (Students, Multinationals and gagging China) guided American double standard doesn't beat anti-Modi lobby for an American visa, political compulsion of him as PM will. A Congress win is possible; but with many failures and less teamwork, sheer luck alone can explain it.

But then, should this most vilified CM be the PM?

With media judging him guilty of 2002 Hindu-Muslim riots, Congress president Sonia Gandhi calling him 'merchant of death', an Indian thinker A. Nandy seeing future murderer in him, Western politicians denying him entry and their thinkers seeing fundamentals of Hinduism not community behaviour in his ways, it certainly looks like he shouldn't. Also, with him thus becoming the second Hindu politician spokesman after Gandhi and 'Modi is bad' translating into 'Hinduism is bad' even Hindus won't accept him. Let alone not being accepted, not doing Rajdharma or being unfit to be a PM, if complicit in killing of Muslims he needs to be punished. This is so even if pre riot and post riot phase are clean in his three phase interactions with Muslims.

But then again, is he really bad?

Unlike following a local guru, who could misguide him towards communalism, he is an ardent follower of Swami Vivekananda— a national icon, who influenced great thinkers worldwide. Although married when young, through association with RSS that also instilled nationalism in him, he leads an unmarried life. While his obvious suppression of progeny instinct through this is respectable and the feared progeny corruption is abolished, if practicing celibacy, respect for him should approach that of genuine Catholic Bishop and Hindu Brahmacharya. While making him a disciplined Hindu, his waking up at 5 AM and doing yoga and meditation is a punishing schedule not done by many devout Hindus, his having not taken holidays since 12 years airs the dedication of corner shop owning 1st generation UK Indians.

With it being a reaction to Godhra carnage of Hindu devotees and him just recently become CM, the 2002 riot did match attack on Mumbai in suddenness, and his preparedness matched that of the dream city rulers. With less time to plan and 388 of 1,169 killed being Hindus, killed by army and by Muslims, a community clash and army in action alone explains the deaths and not a pogrom like Hitler exterminating Jews in gas chambers as claimed.

Not being an original sin, blaming him for other people's misdeeds — including BJP MLA's — isn't right.  Nor is terming it the worst since independence so, for other riots saw more deaths of Muslims. Far from being aloof like the leaders chairing other riots, he was active. With him interacting with media, imposing curfew after the death of 20 people, deploying Rapid Action Force and keeping Army on standby on the same day as the riot, and calling army to do a flag march with orders to shoot at sight the next day his performance was far better than theirs. He clearly can't be accused of being negligent, incompetent or biased. SIT (Supreme Court) giving him a clean-chit and no FIR being lodged against him, therefore, is not surprising.

Although, him as fresh CM not yet having a full grip on his state machinery did show partisan behaviour by junior officials; as routinely happens in other riots, his public statements don't include ones like Rajiv Gandhi's  'When big tree falls ..' to nail him. Private enticement, as alleged by one officer among several, just amounts to disregarding of a single source intelligence input. Unlike apathy, delayed justice with fewer convictions or even justification of riots as by Indira Gandhi, the post riot period saw earlier conviction of more people — including one MLA — here.

Although loss of lives of both communities was sad and terrible, and demands repatriation of both, media forgot about the Hindu victims and focused on the plight of Muslims. The silence of Hindu victims suddenly 'matched' the cacophony of blame on Modi that effectively made him voiceless too.

Hinduism's Rajdharma demands equitable rule over all subjects. Despite the then-PM actually complimenting him for doing so, forgetting neutrality the media screamed 'respected Bajpai told him to do Rajdharma'. And almost dimly relying on media perception than intelligently relying on paid intelligence agencies, USA reportedly denied him entry. Not seeing community tension but religion at work, and almost repeating the previous mistake, 'polytheist free India will collapse', its thinkers denied Hinduism its pluralism and made it fearful. Suddenly through Modi, Hinduism itself was seen as bad.

True to not being privy to internal secrets or deals, this assessment could easily be wrong. But then, even if not seen in the pre-riot interaction (which showed pleased Christians), with him having tasted blood and still having unfettered authority and as habits die hard, Mr Nandy's fear should become a reality and Muslims should see repeat riots or migration like of Pakistani Hindus or at least some tolerable misgivings. Far from those, and unlike by those lucky un-rebuked CMs, saving precious lives and offering relief to Muslims this most rebuked CM has stopped routine riots in his state altogether.

Although, like racism, bigotry isn't avoidable, in addition to peace a record number — 41000 — applying for Hajj and more Muslims buying luxury cars do attest to their progress. Although Muslims who praise him are sneered at or threatened by their peers, his victory even from Muslim areas silently airs their praise. While the above suggests him doing for Muslims what other parties haven't done, if true, a Muslim leader's 'Gujarat is the best place for Muslims' even paints Rajdharma at work.

Though accused of being a divider, he unites all communities on development. If a divider, he, on reflection, divides people into ones who follow media hype and those who do research. Tracing the latter, let alone critical Hindus, even critical Muslims including Asifa Khan have joined his party and have got exposure; not availed under 'secular' Congress. With Gujarat's progress not being possible with ideas of a single mind, him seeking suggestions in the Net, catering to women's issues when pointed and asking others to follow Tamil Nadu's development programmes, the accusation 'He doesn't listen' sounds undeveloped.

While blame on him matches that on Nepal's ex-king Gyanendra, if both are innocent, their pain is significant and sad. Far from taking revenge on the media — as expected from a rioter — him still believing in freedom of expression and the necessity of criticism for progress is admirable.

Beating Mr B Laxman and reflecting his dedication, while him being of a humble birth (OBC) rising to be a PM candidate of a projected Brahmin's party will air democracy at work in the party, adding becoming a PM will remind success of Obama through American dream, adding him transferring that dream to all Indians will air Abraham Lincoln at work.

However, with democracy easily producing 5 years dictators, once decided, although him as 'single-minded' -as he is accused of - could make him a Tony Blair- who using 'I lead' took UK to Iraq despite protests, it could equally make him a Singapore developing Lee Kuan Yew.  

Guided by Rajdharma, if he takes a middle path (even Muslims finding peace and progress), this most criticised CM could easily become the most favoured. Not barred by constitution like in USA, he could go for 3 terms or more. And when he does so, like Thatcherism, he could easily create Modism. Unlike the former's domain, if it is Rajdharma guided, propelled by friendly and ubiquitous media Modism could be global.


  1. he didn't copy obama. he has been using 'yes we can' since 2004, long before anybody heard of obama. look it up on youtube.

  2. Thanks for the comment
    Wiki says "Yes we can," a slogan used by the Scottish National Party's campaign of the United Kingdom general election, 1997. He might have used it before but today when he says 'Yes we can' Obama is at the back of his mind - as it has been made famous by Obama.
    Don't worry, the article says much more than him being compared to Obama. Read the last portion

  3. Now Modi is copying Obama. He is now using 'yes we can' line which is used long back by Obama.. I am not against Modi or with any political party but when i see Modi as the citizen of India. I see his actions all a PR game. We all know his anti-muslim views very clearly now but he is not accepting the fact and projecting that we see everybody equal makes me doubt him.

    1. Mithun Shetty
      You say you see actions and not slogans. You are doing exactly that. Why don't you see his actions - no riots- whatever his belief is? You are free to doubt anybody, including yourself, but it has to be logical.