Monday, June 10, 2013

Narendra Modi and the BJP; The Internal crisis and its ramifications

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books The elevation of the Hon'ble Narendra Modi to head the election campaign for the 2014 General Elections was not unexpected. The BJP has seen in the Chief Minister a new kind of leader, one who has the largest appeal in a country where the majority of the population is less than 30 years of age. The demographics of the electorate dictates the choice of a campaign strategist who can connect with the younger sections of the population. Another important point. After fomenting "identity politics" based on confessional sects, the country particularly the Muslims were willing to give the Congress party its thumbs up by default. The Congress party had learned the art of whipping up minority fears for its own dynastic purposes. The happy fallout of the Jaswant Singh controversy has been that it has led to a rethinking about the role of the Congress in the tragedy of Partition and many are now willing to concede that the Congress too was complicit in the tragedy. Minority fears also revolve around the unsettled and ongoing controversy of the role of the Congress Party and its leadership in the anti-Sikh Massacre of 1894. One happy consequence of all these developments is that the Congress propaganda of being a party which protects minority interests has been questioned. The changing nature of Indian society and demography has led to VIRTUAL REJECTION OF POLITICS OF the "old kind". The cobbling together of caste groups, vested interests and sundry other sodalities into a combination that can hurl a candidate across the winning post and in the first past the winning post system this strategy was often successful. The only exception to this general rule was the 1977 election which was a referendum on the Congress Party imposed Emergency. The 2014 Elections is showing every sign of snowballing into a referendum on the Congress and its performance. The series of scandals involving powerful congressmen like P Chidambaram and Pawan Bansal, regional allies like the DMK and the rest has made the entire country restive. Indians have come to accept a fair degree of corruption as then price for democracy, unlike China where the Confucian ethics curbs the predatory instincts. However the rising crime graph and the impunity with which the Congress dealt with the question of accountability has outraged the nation and so the 2014 Election will be fought on the issue of governance and accountability. The Chief Minister of Gujarat, Hon;ble Narendra Modi has been able to articulate a vision of politics which the young find highly inspirational. He has turned politics over to Economics and has made development the sole criterion for political legitimacy. In this, Modi is essentially following the East Asian and China model which placed salience on develpment. The growth rate of Gujarat over the past decade has been virtually in the double digits and even the hostile Indian print media has had to acknowledge the vast improvement in the economy of Gujaratt. There are however questions of inclusion which still remain. We must say that only after the economy has grown can one address the issue of inclusion. The ideologues of the Congress and their cohorts in the Indian "social science" establishment have raised quetions about the "inclusive" nature of Gujarat's growth story. What these ideologues fail to grasp is that over the last decade Gujarat has become almost a developed state and all social indices are positive. It is against this background that Narendra Modi began to draw attention. The people of India, particularly the young want better lives for themselves, better education and better living standards and are convinced that the old style of identity politiccs favored by the Congress is not taking the country anywhere except toward crime and corruption. The schemes launched by the Gujarat Government if replicate on a national scale will lead to tremendous progress. Governance in GujarAT IS FREE FROM THE MALAISE OF CORRUPTION. hON.BLE nAREDRA MODI is perhaps the only chief minister who does not face charges of corruption and financial maleficence. And the people of India want to give this new kind of politics a chance. The BJP like any Indian political party is full of factions. L K Advani has virtually disassociated himself from the leadership of Shri Modi, This is unfortunate as Advani is a tall leader and well respected within the party and outside. I have great respect for L K Advani and I think that he is too great a man to let the clouds of today rain out the prospects for a better India. However Modi has a toough job ahead of him. Being the chairman of the Election Committee he would need to interact with state level leaders who are aligned to various factions and the defeat of the party in Karnataka must have led to the realization that factionalism is self defeating. Modi must quickly develop a line of command which reports directly to him and not to the faction bosses. The 2014 Elections will be fought on the issue of governance and corruption and Modi has demonstarted success in both.

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