BJP ought to declare its PM candidate quickly unless its focus is 2019
It's interesting how most recent political developments are building up towards a scenario, where much like the ongoing Gujarat elections, even the 2014 LS elections could be fought on just one idea: are you for or against Modi as PM?
There are two factors that are contributing towards the creation of such a scenario. The first, is the ever increasing deceptiveness of two major regional players -the SP and the BSP, who will have their stakes in 80 LS seats of UP. Interestingly, even on the FDI voting in Parliament both these parties chose to toe the 'secular' line to browbeat the BJP. How ironical is that considering that just three years ago, Mulayam had been brazenly hobnobbing with Kalyan Singh while Mayawati has twice formed a government with BJP's support. It's well known that every time 'secular politics' is revived by Congress and other parties, it only strengthens the stakes of a leader like Modi.
There is another factor which is contributing towards the elevation of Modi to national politics: it's the spate of fiascos that the party has suffered in Parliament in recent years. Both Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley are outstanding speakers and have done a great job in cornering the government on numerous occasions. But something is terribly amiss with BJP's floor management and strategising. I'm not sure whether its focus on FDI debate any which way was going to yield substantial dividends for the party. FDI is optional for states and the BJP state governments could have easily rejected it and showcased how their states are better off without FDI. With all its focus centred upon the FDI debate, what the BJP has done, is conveniently let the government off the hook on the issue of corruption. So coal-gate seems forgotten. Most surprisingly, the party is least interested in pursuing the murky charges against Robert Vadra - an issue that could have possibly enabled them to directly corner the Gandhi family. Instead, thanks to party's helplessness, people have now actually begun to dread the possibility of UPA-3.
What has happened as a result of these repeated failings is that suddenly the gap in caliber and stature between Modi and other national BJP leaders seems wider than ever. If the BJP wins Gujarat as handsomely as predicted, this gap would increase even more. Agreed, the JDU might walk out of NDA. But you have a difficult choice anyway: JDU's exit will cost you 20 seats; Modi as PM might help you gain 30 seats. The BJP ought to decide whether it wants to project a PM candidate who can intimidate regional parties with his might or one whom regional parties will take for a ride.
Rest assured if the BJP wins 200 seats on its own, the first people to come running to its door will be the 'secular' Mulayam and Mayawati. After all, nobody wants to put its money on the losing horse, least of all India's regional parties.
It's high time the BJP officially names Modi as its PM candidate unless if it has decided to focus on the 2019 elections instead.
More about Tuhin A Sinha
Tuhin A. Sinha is an author, scriptwriter and columnist based in Mumbai, India.
Tuhin was born in Jamshedpur. He has studied at Loyola School, Jamshedpur, Hindu college, Delhi and the National Institute of Advertising, New Delhi.
Tuhin is best known for his novels, Of Love And Politics, That Thing Called Love and 22 Yards. That Thing Called Love is now out in several regional languages as well. Tuhin has scripted several TV shows, apart from having worked as story/script/creative consultant with leading Film and TV production houses.
Tuhin is also a guest columnist with TOI, DNA and some lifestyle magazines. A keen observer of national politics, the subject finds its way in many of Tuhin’s writings.
Tuhin is presently working on his fourth book, the Autobiography.
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