Elections have always been an edge-of-the-seat affair in India. What, however, heightens the drama in the general election this time around is the Aam Aadmi Party’s spectacular victory in the Delhi Assembly polls, and the drubbing the ruling party got in other recent state elections. Does this prevailing mood of anti-incumbency, then, portend a one-way contest? Outlook Group Editorial Chairman Vinod Mehta delves into an outcome that could well be inevitable.
It will need a miracle to stop a Narendra Modi-led NDA from coming to power in 2014. And it will need an even bigger miracle for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to avoid a rout in the general election. This is the clear message conveyed by the results of the four state elections, even if the BJP is unable to form the government in Delhi. As a part-time Congress sympathiser, I believe that for Manmohan Singh and all the other Congress ministers five years of serious contemplation of follies (mainly corruption) and sitting on the Opposition benches will do their souls an enormous amount of good. It might even get rid of the arrogance courtesy which the Congress assumes it is the natural choice for the government.
So, what kind of India will emerge under the leadership of Narendra Modi? That is the question uppermost in the mind of the citizens who may have voted for Mr Modi but are unsure about what kind of prime minister he will make. I am one of those journalists who are somewhat sceptical about the Gujarat chief minister’s ability to run this vast and diverse nation, given his record and style of governance in his home state. Yet, we must give Mr Modi a fair chance to prove the sceptics wrong and demonstrate that he is capable of transforming himself into a person conscious of the fact that India is not Gujarat.
Without a doubt, Narendra Modi is an intelligent individual. I understand that he is getting some sane advice from people who have a vested interest in his success. Which is? To wear the Vajpayee mantle. His style is not that of the moderate, middle-of-the-road leader, but he could surprise us, if for no other reason than to keep his job. He knows he will not remain prime minister for long if he persists with his old ways. What the country is looking forward to is Narendra Modi Mark II.