With the current red-faced situation of the Congress, what with the UPA-II stained with what appears to be millions of scams, and the general public’s dissatisfaction and anger towards the ruling party and the government, the BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party) is eyeing the big prize in the upcoming 2014 elections at the centre.
It is strategically planning and working to establish its rule in the Lok Sabha. It has been an active opposition throughout the tenure (since 2009) and has constantly kept the government on its toes.
The two big candidates for the post of the prime minister are Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar’s Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Being a more popular candidate, with nationwide appeal, and recognition for his commendable work in Gujarat during his tenure as the chief minister; continuously for more than a decade, rising to some of the biggest challenges while on the job, Modi has proved that he is an able administrator with the capacity to deliver promises.
Despite all the development, and more importantly, equitable development in Gujarat, there is that deep scar which mars the profile of Narendra Modi- the Godhra riots. The dirty picture being unravelled these days, it’s hogging the limelight once more.
The riots were gruesome, all instances of violence are. Because there is no real victor or vanquished in such riots- all parties face unspeakable losses, which are ultimately rooted in baseless instincts.
These things happen in the spur of the moment, attracting an identity to the forefront, which otherwise does not assume pivotal importance in people’s daily lives. And if one introspects, there is no real justification for the actions- whatever the reasons are; they are just to help gulp down the guilt.
But the harsh truth is that such outrageous outbreaks can happen and have happened under any one’s rule.
Didn’t the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi happen right under the nose of the Congress? Or the current burning situation in the north-east, which, in fact, is the boiling point of years of neglect, coercion and sometimes, even force, upon the north-eastern people.
These are the big challenges that make or break a government.
The fact that the BJP is still ruling in Gujarat, with Modi at the apex for the second consecutive term, is a testimony to the positives of the Modi-led BJP government in Gujarat.
Gujarat may not have the highest GDP of all states, but that may be because it invests a lot in infrastructure development. If you go anywhere in Gujarat, you can see that the average standard of living of the populace is higher than those you will find in many other states, even better than those living in the metropolises.
There is a regular and constant supply of electricity in Gujarat, even to the most remote villages. Recently when, the whole of north India was in an abyss during the blackout, it did not affect the power supply in Gujarat.
Rather, Modi’s Jyoti Gram scheme has, actually boosted economic activities in the villages.
But the more impending and urgent question is whether Modi will be able to secure a third successive term in Gujarat in the upcoming December 2012 state elections?
Will the BJP be able to garner the landslide victory in Gujarat that they are aiming for?
This will be but a test run for the big game in 2014. For that, Modi has to prove his popularity in the much bigger field, where Congress is an excellent player.
For all the hype surrounding Modi as the next prime minister, the actual road to it is colossally tough.
There are several hindrances to the realisation of this dream. For starters, Modi has never really played beyond his home turf.
Secondly, it will be much harder to have a consensus amongst BJP leaders from other states, all of whom will be vying for the top position. In contrast, the leadership of the Congress is well in order and hierarchy is maintained at all times.
Finally, BJP as the power at the centre and Modi as the prime minister might project India as a rightist state, with political tilts towards Hindutva and Hinduism. The Godhra riots is a massive, permanent scar that will affect India’s relations with several of its allies, including major powers such as the United States of America and the United Kingdom who have severely condemned the gross human rights violations.
Though the current Congress-led UPA government is brazen with multi-billion dollar scams, its well-oiled machinery and organised branches across the nation is something that’s hard to beat.
But if there is one thing that Narendra Modi is known for, is staying away from being tainted corrupt. He is the only Indian minister who has not been accused for corruption, according to wikileaks.
This is a mega advantage for someone competing against a brazenly corrupt party which has no angel left to save its face anymore.