Friday, September 13, 2013

Narendra Modi, the BJP and the 2014 Elections: The Storm Ahead

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

As expected the BJP Parliamentary Board met this morning and declared Shri Narendra Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate for the forthcoming Lok Sabha election. The Congress party which reposes faith in dynastic fascism as its only political principle in all probability  rally around  Rahul Gandhi derisively called Amul Baby in India. It will be an unequal match as Tahul Gandhi does not have either the experience or the national stature to stand up to Narendra Modi and in the forthcoming election all seasoned political observers see a tectonic shift in favour of the NDA led by the BJP.

The issues that will dominate the Elections of 2014 are serious ones and some of the issues are listed below:

1 There has been unprecedented levels of corruption and mis governance during the 10 years of the UPA whose PM was the teflon coated Dr Man Mohan Singh. The disappearance of the files relating to the allocation of coal blocks in the coal gate scandal has put the spotlight on the Prime Minister. Indians are used to corruption and in our everyday lives have to deal with it at some level, but under the Congress the scale and magnitude of corruption has broken all limits and the common man in yearning for a change. Narendra Modi has the image of a clean and efficient politician and is not tainted by a singly scandal.

2 There has been a virtual melt down of the Indian economy. The growth rate has plunged to 3.5% and this is the lowest in nearly tywo decades. The Current Account Deficit is narly 7 % of the GDP and is increasing. The trade gap is widening and in spite of the fall in the value of the rupee exports are not picking up. The high rate of unemployment had made the youth restive and it is the young voter who is expected to vote en masse for Narendra Modi. The Congress has offered no explanation for the decline in the economy except blaming the policies of Pranab Mukherjee the former Finance Minister and now President of INdia. Corrective measure have not been taken for bringing the economy back on track. In fact the situation is getting worse with the inflationary pressure exerted by the rise in petrol and fuel.

3 The populist measures taken by the UPA under the influence of a bunch of civil society activists close to Mrs Sonia Gandhi has imposed an enormous strain on the economy and has made corruption a rural phenomenon. The Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme has spawned huge corruption and the Comptroller and Auditor General has drawn attention to the lapses in the Government schemes

4 The foreign policy scenario is not bright. India has declined before the eyes of the World. There was a time when the voice of India was heard. Today India is silent on all major issues confronting the world. This decline is due . bad statecraft and muddled priorities. The incursions of the Chinese Army have to be addressed in a bilateral forum through discussions. The News papers are full of alarming Reports of the presence of Chinese soldiers deep into Indian territory. I am sure this issue can be settled through dialogue, but the weak UPA Government lacks the credibility to undertake such a dialogue. In the case of Pakistan, India has been craven. Inspite of the fact that the Government of India being aware that Pakistani soldiers killed 5 Indian soldiers in a brutal manner, the UPA regime sought to pass the buck by saying that terrorists dressed in Pakistan Army uniform did this dastardly act. The UPA lost what little respect people had  after this display of cowardice.

Against the declining fortunes of the UPA, Narendra Modi has to craft a winning strategy. His personality and image alone will not see the NDA through because the UPA will throw the 2002 Riots in Gujarat against Modi in onder to garner the votes of the Muslims. This strategy will come unstuck in the big state of Uttar Pradesh, but may have some purchase in other parts. Though the Supreme Court of India has not found anything to prove the involvement of Modi in the riots, the 2002 Riots are still there in public perception. NDA must respond by bringing up the Sikh Massacre of 1984 when Indira Gandhi died. The factionalism within the BJP with the senior leader L K Advani sulking in the shadows after the announcement of the candidature of Hon'ble Narendra Modi may be unsettling in the short run.

The BJP has its work cut out for it and the sooner Narendra Modi establishes an organization which can translate his vision into a reality the bettor it would be.

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