The Modi Movement
Ahmedabad, 18 December 2012
The mainstream media (MSM) seems to have an agenda-driven anxiety about who will be the Prime Ministerial candidate of the BJP in the next parliamentary elections. Although, the MSM has been asking this question for more than a couple of years, the BJP has to prepare itself for the media onslaught of these types of questions immediately after the results of Gujarat elections on December 20. While there is hardly any doubt about who will win Gujarat elections, regardless of who wins it, the MSM will try to leverage the election results to fulfill its agenda. The immediate agenda is very clear. The MSM wants to build up the perception that Mr. Narendra Modi will be the Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 parliamentary elections. This will help the Congress party not only in maintaining the current structure of the UPA, but may also help in making sure that the BJP’s previous alliance partners including Trinamool Congres , Biju Janta Dal, and Bahujan Samaj Party, do not rejoin BJP. More importantly, the Congress may be able to create an alliance, even loosely so, with the Janta Dal United and other NDA partners, if BJP announces Mr. Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate. It is interesting to note here that just one month before Gujarat elections, the AICC General Secretary Mr. Rahul Gandhi formed a sub-committee, under the leadership of Mr. AK Antony, to look after the pre-poll alliances!
While the short term agenda is to build a platform to strengthen the UPA and weaken the NDA, the long term agenda is to consolidate the minority vote bank through scare tactics. In 2009, the Congress party was able to consolidate this vote bank after continuous fear mongering by the MSM which used Mr. Varun Gandhi and Mr. Narendra Modi as the BJP mascots. Historically, the Congress has been successful with these tactics because the BJP’s traditional vote bank of the nationalist Indians is fragmented.
The BJP has to introspect very carefully. From 1989 to 1999, BJP’s golden period, the BJP increased its own tally from around 85 to 182 and even formed the stable government in 1999. The unusual success of the BJP during this period could be attributed to two factors. First, the Ayodhya movement helped the BJP in consolidating traditionally fragmented Hindu votes during the first half of the 1990s. Although successful, the BJP could not form the government during this period because it did not have enough numbers of its own. In 1999, the BJP could form strong alliances across different political parties because of the great leadership of Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee. While the Ayodhya effect was able to consolidate Hindu vote banks, Mr. Vajpayee could consolidate traditionally anti-Congress political parties and formed a strong National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Unfortunately, in the absence of Ayodhya like movement, Vajpayee like leader, and ageing Advani, the BJP has been struggling for the last few years to position itself.
When faced with the question about the Prime Ministerial candidate in 2014, the BJP seems to be in a dilemma. Should it declare the candidate? If yes, should that candidate be declared before election or after election? Who should be the candidate? Some of the BJP leaders, including Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, recently concluded that in these days of coalition based ruling, they are not in favor of declaring the Prime Ministerial candidate before election. Some others might be waiting for the results of the Gujarat elections and believe that if Mr. Modi single handedly achieves landslide victory in Gujarat, then he should be brought to the national level and eventually declared as the Prime Ministerial candidate.
Should Gujarat election results matter? Regardless of the results, Mr. Modi has proved his worth with the grand scale contributions towards Gujarat’s development. Indeed, Mr. Modi is once in a lifetime leader. He has been a source of inspiration to millions of youths in India. He is the only hope that India could take a quantum jump in development. For the decades, we have been complaining about the problems related to bureaucracy, corruption, homeland security, and foreign policy. Mr. Modi is the only politician who has successfully addressed some of these issues and has clear and grand vision for India. While other politicians have won the elections based on sadak-bijli-paani based promises, Mr. Modi has won the elections based on his performance in sadak-bijli-paani.
While I believe that Mr. Modi will get historical victory in Gujarat, regardless of the results, without any inhibitions and at the time of its own choice, the BJP must declare Mr. Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate. Doing so will undoubtedly take BJP back into its golden era. Just like the Ayodhya movement helped consolidating Hindu votes, Mr. Modi, as the Prime Ministerial candidate will help in consolidating the nationalist development based votes. In this sense, Mr. Modi is BJP’s Ram Mandir for the 2014 elections. The BJP does not have Mr. Vajpayee who could help in forming an alliance with the other parties, but Modi movement will work as good as , if not better than, the Ayodhya movement in consolidating the nationalist votes. Moreover, the nation needs Mr. Modi and not Mr. Vajpayee today. The Vajpayee-era NDA included pseudo-secularist parties like Lok Janshakti Party and DMK which diluted BJP’s image, message, and functioning. The nation also does not need Agra Summits, Sada-e-Sarhad, or visits to Minar-e-Pakistan. The nation deserves a nationalist party with a clear majority and the leader with the full commitment who can make tough decisions.
The BJP must declare Mr. Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 parliamentary elections. Let the MSM and the Congress play games and get the prize catch of Mr. Nitish Kumar. Removal of such pseudo-secular weeds from the BJP will result in the purest form of the BJP. It will be blessing in disguise for the BJP. With the Modi movement consolidating all the nationalist votes, the BJP will barely need to convince any alliance partners. Mr. Modi will be able to take BJP’s electoral seats beyond 200 and various political parties will come seeking their place in the NDA. Just like their other tactics, the MSM’s agenda of alienating the BJP will fall flat. If the BJP declares Mr. Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate and he does not get elected, historians will attribute this misfortune to the bad choice made by the people. If the BJP does not declare Mr. Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate, such misfortune will be attributed to the BJP.
My humble request to the BJP is to please fulfill the wish of the MSM and declare Mr. Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate to initiate the Modimovement.
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