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 SinhaTuhin A Sinha is among the best-selling authors in India, a columnist and a screenwriter. Starting in 2006 with his first book, That Thing Called Love, an unconventional romance set in a Mumbai monsoon, Tuhin has written five novels. They include The Captain (formerly 22 Yards), Of Love And Politics, The Edge of Desire and The Edge Of Power. Tuhin is acknowledged among the most prolific Indian writers with a maverick knack to experiment with new genres. While his first book was an offbeat romance, The Captain was a cricket thriller that explored the underbelly of modern cricket. Of Love And Politics was a political thriller. His last two books which comprise the Edge series can be called socio-political thrillers with a strong feminist skew. Tuhin is a screenwriter of several popular TV shows, the most noteworthy being Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai on Star Plus. Apart from his fiction novels and scripts, Tuhin is a keen political observer. His columns on Indian politics appear regularly in India’s leading dailies. Tuhin has a regular blog on ibnlive.com. He also appears frequently on news channels on discussions around politics and cricket.
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