Options for 2014

Who should be the Prime Minister next year? Should it be Modi or Rahul Gandhi? Well, neither are officially the prime ministerial candidates, but at least Modi’s candidature has almost been decided. Already BJP is allowing some amount of polarisation take place and even geared itself to put Advani in place and lose JD(U). If this is not an indication that they will stick to Modi at any cost, we don’t know what is. Nevertheless, that’s not the point of this discussion.

The point is, should we necessarily tolerate either Modi or Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Minister? Like Modi, Rahul too hasn’t been declared as the candidate, but it is very much likely that, in the event of Congress winning a third term, Rahul will be formally anointed. It is fairly certain that they will not declare it before the election lest the possible defeat be attributed to him. Madam-ji wouldn’t like such a stigma of electoral defeat be attributed to her son.

Well, I digress again. Now, deciding on behalf of the two confused parties, let us say it is Modi versus Rahul, what now. There is a possibility of third front becoming a reality. But even the conveners of that front won’t hazard a guess as to who the PM candidate would be. Regardless, in today’s scenario, it is absolutely impossible for a third front to win a minimum of 200 seats to stake a claim. It is Congress or BJP, only one of the parties that are going to win more than 150 seats, and whoever wins more than that number are going to stake a claim to form the government. Going by the precedence, the President will have to invite the largest single party to form the government and prove their majority in the floor test, in a week or ten days. That time-frame would be sufficient for the party in government to ‘acquire’ the numbers to prove their majority on the floor. Then what happens is anybody’s guess.

Now, as voters, we don’t have control over what happens on the floor test. In fact, we do, but about that later. But we do have enormous control over what happens before that. Modi is a very polarising personality. Rahul Gandhi is an inexperienced, reluctant princeling. Also, Rahul hasn’t done much in these nine years when his mum’s proxy was in power. Regardless of whether he had power to do anything or not even as a simple politician, his voice was not heard on any of the key issues. He remained mute on several of the scams and other controversies that shook the incumbent government in which he wielded considerable power. So, is it possible to believe that what he wasn’t able to do, even with limited power in nine years will suddenly happen once he sits in the chair?

The other alternative is Modi. Even leaving out all the trumpeted achievement figures, including the ‘Rambo Act’, Modi has at least something to show as his performance. No doubt, his role or the lack of it in the Gujarat Pogrom is disturbing. But if we don’t want Modi, we only have to settle for Congress. We would be singing in joy if someone like Nitish Kumar has the opportunity to come close to the PM’s seat, but unfortunately, the numbers indicate that no one except these two has a chance at the chair. And those being extremely critical of Modi are unaware that they are in fact rooting for the Congress. A third time to the same party, which literally devastated the country, would be writing our own obituary. We can not only simply forget about 2G, Commonwealth, Adarsh, Black Money retrieval, Augusta Westland, etc., we can also expect much more such pestilent scams occurring in the future, because our rulers would become extremely complacent at the fact that no matter how grave their errors are or their callousness is, they can easily make people forget about it by scaring people with a communal bogeyman. It is an easy recipe for letting the country into a slippery slope.

Therefore, our focus in this election should not be welcoming Modi, but chasing out the Congress. The incumbent government must be emphatically defeated to send a clear and unambiguous message not only to the future government in the centre, but to all the state governments that we will not tolerate such atrocious, brazen corruption and maladministration. This is where our role even after the election will help. If we are reluctant in our message towards the Congress, that is if we don’t give enough number of seats to the party opposed to the Congress, we are leaving our fate to smaller regional parties who are far worse than BJP or the Congress and who will make the Parliament into a horse trading club. So the Congress’ defeat should not just be clear, but should be unambiguously emphatic. If Modi was going to be the beneficiary of this move, we can’t help it, but the need of the hour is not worry about the future bogeyman, but exorcise the incumbent one first!