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Is Modi the only charismatic leader left?

Narenra MODI

BJP seems to be on a victory march which is sharper, faster and more prominent than it was during 2014 Parliamentary elections. In the recent bypoll election in Delhi’s Rajouri Garden, Aam Aadmi party candidate Jarnail Singh even lost his deposit which should be a wakeup call for the entire opposition in general and AAP in particular which also harbours national ambitions.

It’s not the ideal time for the opposition when BJP and her affiliates are emerging victorious in almost every election and bypoll and the defeat of AAP candidate should be seen in this context as it literally translates into the demise of competitive politics in the country. Democracy and the entire democratic system is in danger to become irrelevant on account of inactivity and lack of enthusiasm among opposition in India.

The rise of right wing BJP in the country is explicitly linked to the failure of opposition at the centre as well as in almost every state in offering the good leadership and the governance. It’s obvious that the opposition is weaker and vulnerable than what it was in 2014 as it failed to check the band wagon of Bhagwa brigade and couldn’t capture the imagination of youth because of the lack of alternatives.

The electronic as well as the print media have projected Narendra Modi as the Knight in the shining armour on the Indian political scene after a relative vacuum in the leadership became apparent in 2011.Most of the parties at centre as well as in states were mired in one or another controversy and BJP went on winning election after election without pushing themselves too much and they didn’t do anything extraordinary or out of box to woo the ordinary voters.

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) won a thumping majority on the strength of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s clinching the all important Indo-US civil nuclear deal or 123 agreement which gave India a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in 2008 that paved the way for India to trade in civil nuclear fuel and technology. This was a rare geostrategic victory for India which facilitated an exemption from the Non Proliferation Treaty(NPT).

It was an achievement for the Congress led coalition Govt as well as a personal high point for the simple but persuasive skills of diminutive Manmohan Singh. The slide of Congress party began immediately after this as the party got involved in multiple controversies but they kept on denying about it. Narendra Modi saw this as an opportunity and came out with the slogans like “Achhe Din” and “Sab Ka Saath Sab Ka Vikash” which appealed to the masses and the first time voters.

While the Congress was losing its vote share and was in complete state of denial about it, there was one man, who we all know as the Prime Minister of India today was weaving his own magic in Gujarat to the youngsters who wanted change and development. The media also played a pivotal role in projecting Modi as larger than life and his “Gujarat model” was described as panacea for all the ills affecting the system. It also became crystal clear that Mr Modi is PM in waiting when his Independence Day speech was immediately telecast after the speech of outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Let’s take the case of UP assembly elections in March this year that saw political bigwigs in the fray. Akhilesh Yadav, the former chief minister of UP, did not start the election campaign on a winning note as the infighting in the Yadav clan left the voters confused and highly demoralized. His open public spat with his father Mulayam Singh Yadav and uncle Shivpal cost him his traditional Yadav-Muslim vote bank that moved to BJP for as a better option. His pre-poll alliance with the Congress party didn’t find any takers and was thoroughly rejected since Samajwadi party had failed miserably on all counts of governance during their five year stint.

The BJP had a landslide victory in UP because of the excellent social engineering done by the party President Amit Shah who positioned his outfit as a party with a difference ,that is a party which does not practice nepotism and corruption. There was also an impression among the voters that it would be better if both the parties ruling at the centre and state level are the same for the better coordination and synergy.

With arrival of Modi on the national political horizon, it appears that people have started reposing their faith in the rule of one party over an unstable and fragmented multi party coalition as they consider the Govt of a single party more stable. This is an aberration from the 1990s, a phase when politics of India was shaped by 3Ms mandir, mandal and markets and as a result the secular parties had a field day. Now only time will tell if other political parties make a comeback or not but till then we need to wait and watch.

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