The largest democracy in the world, the Indian democracy, is airing the most closely watched election in 2014. Although competition says players are ruling UPA, opposition NDA and the yet-to-be-born 3rd front - with many stalwarts, and compulsion says coalition politics is an inescapable reality of today's politics, this election could say all will change. No wonder, coalition difficulty is pushing at least the BJP to do away with it altogether. Ever since federalists and Jeffersonians formed parties, although party programmes and projected rulers have been important to American voters and then to Indians, with MPs anointing ruler, charisma of MP elect is not less significant here. While modifying party goals 'common minimum programme' of coalition politics adds confusion, un-projected or even unelected ruler anointed by MPs after election adds suspense here. Unlike in USA, Caste and faith lingers even in the targeted undecided voters. With chattering class expecting a big change, do or die going on for both parties (BJP loss: non-winning party, Congress loss: fear of incarceration), NRIs keenly watching it and second battle happening in the Net, this election is the most interesting in Indian electoral history.While projected silence of 2002 Gujarat riots haunts Modi, actual silence of Rahul - inside and outside parliament - haunts Congress. With the 3rd front still remaining unborn, a dream, the reality of the other two still show hesitation in baptising a PM elect. However, while a forceful backing by RSS will most likely make Modi one, a tactful back-out might anoint Rahul after victory. Tactfully, because defeat now still makes Rahul blameless for 2019. If Modi becomes the candidate, can he win?Although Rahul has youth, looks and the Gandhi dynasty (like Kennedy) on his side, and Congress has roots in the villages by ruling the longest, in addition to Muslim vote bank through what BJP calls 'pseudo secularism', BJP also has grip on caste-divided Hindus united by the Ram temple, unified civil code and feeling of having less rights than non-Hindus. Seen as very corrupt and its central leader even hounded by Dr Swamy, for some Congress leaders defeat isn't just so but unless saved by a secret deal, it is incarceration. With winning thus being a must, vilification working and 'not him' defining the target, Modi's difficulty could match Ambedkar's.But then, catering to mundane and spiritual human aspirations, his unique two-pronged disposition - Hindutwa and development - as never before, offers both. In addition, strategies, goals, oratory skills and personality don't let him down.
Hounded by ambitious Nitish Kumar's party leaving coalition, and projected 'non-secular' and 'dictatorial style' not easing future coalition, he creates a goal to do away with coalition politics. For this, while reminding 'quit India' movement his 'get rid of Congress' eases future coalition if needed, his 'now or never' almost does to his followers, what 'for crown and the king' did for Imperial Brits. Almost matching Napoleon's 'Impossible is found in the dictionary of fools', his, 'I will not leave a single stone unturned' adds the determination needed in a leader.
Almost like Congress using 'Muslim vote bank', Hindutwa-injected Hindu vote bank could propel a party to dizzy heights; as before. In this, him symbolising Hindutwa leader (RSS connection), and even projected as a Muslim basher (2002 riots) enchants ones who dislike Owaisi or Pakistani team supporting Muslims. However, with even his intelligently designed and diplomatic 'born Hindu therefore a Hindu nationalist' statement generating a flack, he strategically, leaves Hindutwa slogans - Ram temple and the rest - to his party stalwarts.
His projection as a Gujarat developing CM forms the second prong. He is projected as improving the lives of both Hindus and Muslims in his state. While this gives him 'one who does what he says' and makes his futuristic vision believable, unlike that of other leaders, it also translates accusation of 'autocrat' into a strong leader. The craze for him developing India is such that, the criticised 'dictatorial style' not only caters to ones saying 'India needs army rule', fed up with weak PM M. Singh, it even caters to ones needing just a strong leader. As a divide and rule or 'give what voters want' he uses this prong on the Muslims. Although, Muslims who praise him are suppressed by other Muslims, he has shown victory in Gujarat's Muslim majority areas.
Although, ticket needing, therefore history creating canvassing speech in Hyderabad was to all age groups, knowing 'a nation of youth' his target group is the Indian youth. With them needing him to do in India what he has done in Gujarat, and him needing them for victory, it's a symbiotic relation. Being mobile, dynamic, computer-savvy, and seeking progress in a competitive world, even if not voters they are a gem in viral message spread.
With media on Congress's side and social media on his side, this election is a battle of rival media too. Although his actions and words are at times distorted, made controversial and then discussed to increase TRP, which in turn makes him the most criticised CM in history, as 'any publicity is good publicity' (Reverts despite Islamophobia) it also makes him the most talked about politician. Although, who's hand was behind the cacophony at Advani's house isn't clear, being undisputed king of social media, it was possibly his diehard fans who shut down site designed to criticise him. Using technology and social media to the till, his 'no stone unturned' traces Obama's victorious social media tricks.
Although youth, like middle class, who consistently rate him the most fitting person for a PM, don't usually vote and Net is rare in villages, BJP can feast on mobiles becoming ubiquitous in villages. Even if the proposed million strong volunteers don't touch the main voters - villagers, with world's largest NGO the RSS, popular Yoga guru Ram Dev and other gurus religiously criss-crossing country for his sake, even villagers won't remain untouched. ORATION: Although by no means fluent in English, which incidentally highlights his humble beginning and a success story akin to the American one - which in turn tempts voters (Dynasty in republic, however, tempts more!) - his Hindi speeches carry Obama's intensity and charm. Although he copied latter's 'Yes we can', in his historic canvassing address in Hyderabad, his lack of progeny (less corrupt), achievements, leadership style, etc translate his lucid futuristic vision into an equally powerful 'yes he can'. His pride in nation energises locals, and reminds competitor Chinese at work. Although silent on 2002, his answers are intelligently designed and impressive. He is already the favourite in polls. But then, with middleclass voting less and voting villagers, choosing caste, ethnicity and tradition than change, his journey isn't smooth. Although above factors make things easier, if subtly and intelligently done by not disturbing Hindu vote bank, airing his humble beginning could do a 'Mayawati'. Less known in the south; tracing Rishi Agastya's path could go a long way. Intelligent rectification of media's silence on peace and progress of Muslims pre and post riot periods, and their own silence on the riot can not only tempt hesitant Muslims but hesitant Hindus too. Not by appeasing (inequality) but like Congress sending Christians to the North East, if convinced Muslims are sent to apprise Muslims about those factors, victory isn't distant. When amplification of weakness of the ruling party is added, (even if not by choice, a no to Congress by default could be yes to Modi), a wave could form before election. While this could create a land slide or absolute majority, even if not so, 'worship of power' could bring disagreeing allies on a common minimum program. And when that happens, if self-interest (Students, Multinationals and gagging China) guided American double standard doesn't beat anti-Modi lobby for an American visa, political compulsion of him as PM will. A Congress win is possible; but with many failures and less teamwork, sheer luck alone can explain it.But then, should this most vilified CM be the PM?With media judging him guilty of 2002 Hindu-Muslim riots, Congress president Sonia Gandhi calling him 'merchant of death', an Indian thinker A. Nandy seeing future murderer in him, Western politicians denying him entry and their thinkers seeing fundamentals of Hinduism not community behaviour in his ways, it certainly looks like he shouldn't. Also, with him thus becoming the second Hindu politician spokesman after Gandhi and 'Modi is bad' translating into 'Hinduism is bad' even Hindus won't accept him. Let alone not being accepted, not doing Rajdharma or being unfit to be a PM, if complicit in killing of Muslims he needs to be punished. This is so even if pre riot and post riot phase are clean in his three phase interactions with Muslims.But then, is he really bad?Unlike following a local guru, who could misguide him towards communalism, he is an ardent follower of Swami Vivekananda- a national icon, who influenced great thinkers worldwide. Although married when young, through association with RSS that also instilled nationalism in him, he leads an unmarried life. Continued ..