So this is the big question, isn’t it-Who will get to take the winning trophy home- Rahul Gandhi or Narendra Modi??? After a whole lot of speculation, the parties have narrowed down on these two names as their Prime Ministerial candidates. Even though, this is not some healthy democracy we are talking about (refer to our article on Indian Democracy), for the average Indian, the Lok Sabha elections are just a matter of choosing between the two names. So who is it going to be, the younger blood Rahul Gandhi or the veteran Narendra Modi? Is the name Gandhi really as powerful as it sounds or the History of the Gujarat elections will repeat itself with Narendra Modi single handedly stealing the show?
Since now the two men stand against each other, one on one, with little bearing of the parties on the either side, they have to be evaluated standalone. Narendra Modi has had quite some time on the Indian soil taking in all the hues of Indian politics. He definitely stands to gain as a veteran in terms of the exposure and the experience he has gained. Rahul on the other hand is ‘The Youth’. He can relate to the youth on a much greater scale since he is a part of the same. But is it really that? To Rahul Gandhi’s dismay, a major chunk of the Indian youth idolises Narendra Modi. So wake up Rahul!!!
Candidates for the face off 2014
Talking of the Jaipur Chintan Shivir, everyone in the Congress party was falling head over heels to proclaim Rahul as their leader. The ‘Gandhi’ thing runs so strong in the Congress party that for them, siding with a Gandhi is life jacket in the open Atlantic. As long as they keep their chant for a Gandhi as the Prime Minister on, they sure as hell are in the good books. So this unquestionably puts forward the fact that if the Congress win this time, it would be a unanimous call for Rahul Gandhi to step up as the Indian PM. On the other hand Narendra Modi is the outcome of a lot of speculation, speculation as to who among the BJP is strong enough to be cast upon as the potential PM. With winning the Gujarat elections three times in a row, it was no fluke that the party supporters rejoiced their leader’s 2012 victory in the Gujarat by the repeated intone of PM, PM, PM. Rahul has been handed over the post of the in charge of the election coordination committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. It is rumoured that the same would be countered by the BJP in the form of Narendra Modi.
The Congress- Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi has been in Indian politics for quite some time now but has no big credits to his name. No credits was a still a better verdict for Rahul’s so far unhappening political career but it is made worse by his numerous failures where he has just failed to perform when entrusted upon with responsibilities. Taking you back to the 2012 Uttar Pradesh elections, congress had put everything into it. No, wait…Congress had just put Rahul into the elections hoping that the name would suffice. Rahul on the other hand campaigned vigorously trying to win people over. His touching speeches made it to the headlines but failed to make it to people’s hearts. Alas, Congress came out pathetic in the UP elections making it even clearer that Rahul is a man of words and no work. The budding Gandhi met a somewhat similar fate in the states of Bihar and Gujarat. Narendra Modi on the other hand had a sweeping hat trick to add to his credentials.
One of the major flaws in the RPP, that is, the Rahul PM Plan put forth by the Congress is that making Rahul Gandhi the face for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections is equivalent to having a fresh college graduate as their prospective candidate for the PM. Even though Rahul is much older, he has hardly shown the same when it comes to mainstream politics. He has long been talking about the Aam Admi and his upliftment but it seems like Narendra Modi has done much more in this regard than Rahul Gandhi has ever talked of. Congress has had no dearth of scams and accusations when it comes to their claim to fame. Be it the Common wealth Games Scam, the 2G Scam or the whole Swiss Banks and black money issue, where not only the Congress party but the Gandhi family was targeted greatly, Rahul Gandhi failed miserably in forming a view of his own or even coming out blatantly and defending his party. If he is competent enough to become the face of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he should be capable enough of doing what every other Congressman was doing; defending Congress. But even at these crucial times, he failed to come up and voice his opinion.
He claims to associate with the youth but still kept mum on the Delhi rape case. The whole nation was mourning but such a ghastly tragedy did not move Rahul Gandhi enough to get a statement from him. Rahul Gandhi has long been protected by the Congress as a baby. He has been kept away from all major issues. So here is my question to Congress, are you sure this young blood of yours isn’t just too young, keeping in mind that it is devoid of the true red hue of the Indian politics that comes only by staying amidst the controversies and discussions and not by being a silent spectator to them.
BJP – Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi on the other hand is a man of action. He has three consecutive victories to his name. His supporters don’t tire speaking of the endless stories about Gujarat’s development. They don’t fail to highlight the fact that everything great in Gujarat is great because of the Great Narendra Modi. Now, the leader needs to be given a little credit for the work that he has put in the state but not all goes to his credit. Gujarat made headlines at a time when the whole of India was progressing. It added to it GDP at a time when many other states were setting similar examples. True enough, the man made some real firm decisions but we need to give some credit to the hard core business minded Gujaratis for the industrial and financial progress in the state in the recent years. I fail to see the miraculous change in Gujarat that was only one of its kinds and will never be repeated. But Narendra Modi as the Chief Minister of the state does stand at a two way relationship with the state. He contributes as well as gains from the state’s development. But this also poses a major question. This is some hard core regional politics that we are talking about. Sure enough BJP is nothing without Narendra Modi in Gujarat but is this regional leader a big enough face to feature as the party’s rallying point in the Lok Sabha elections? Can the same winning streak from the state of Gujarat be extended to the entire country?
Rahul Gandhi- The not so bright part
Rahul has some personal failures to his accord and so does Narendra Modi. Rahul’s failures lack their political nature as he hasn’t been given many chances on the political front to make mistakes. The Rahul Gandhi who so much stresses on the inclusion of Educated youth in mainstream politics is guilty of feigning his own educational qualifications. He failed at Harvard and at Hindi at the St. Stephen College, Sports and management quota were all that carried him forward in his educational quest. I personally do not favour a very high merit score as a prerequisite to a great politician, yet there needs to be something concrete when it comes to education so that you at least have a basic understanding of the issues. Education to a level that builds a perspective in you should be a must for every political leader. But if you have the guts to advocate the advent of an era of education where only highly qualified youth form the mainstream politics, Mr. Gandhi, you need to have the guts to admit that you do not form a part of the same.
Not only this, Rahul has performed awfully when it comes to leadership. In all these years of being in politics, he hasn’t shown any signs of great leadership. He has failed to develop a consensus in the party on some major issues. The UP, Bihar and Gujarat elections stand testimony to this fact. The saving grace has always been that he has some really good oratory skills. He can talk hours of the Aam Admi and end up doing nothing in the end. He has stories to tell about the Gandhis never wanting power and even choosing to opt out of poitics. Now, now, now, it would be better if we didn’t get into the matter of the Gandhis yearning for power or not. The position of the PM was ‘given up’ by Sonia Gandhi or whether, she just couldn’t have had it, no matter how bad she wanted it is something that distracted students will themselves decide. So in a one liner-“words, and words are all he has, to take your heart away”.
Narendra Modi- Where he faltered
If family scandals plague the yet to begin political career of Rahul Gandhi (for his political career never began in the true sense of the words political and career), Narendra Modi has scandals to his own accord. The single case to beat all others straight in the face stands the Godhra Kand. Narendra Modi was not only accused of not being able to control the large scale Hindu-Muslims killings and the riots that followed but was also said to have had a hand in sparking off the riots. The riots that took place a decade ago still surface occasionally to cause ripples in the political milieu. But isn’t the fact that the Gujarati population has so contentedly taken the same person to be their leader for the third time in a row stand testimony to the fact that the episode now stands buried in the hearts of the many Gujarati people and they are ready to move forth with much more conviction.
Claim to fame
Both the faces to feature in the movie to be titled The Lok Sabha Elections 2014 have their own claim to fame. Rahul obviously has the Gandhi to his credit and Narendra Modi has his experience and work to speak about him.
Speaking of the descendant of the Gandhi family, a major chunk of the Indian public still decides on the basis of emotions. If at all anything else, India is definitely not devoid of emotions. What else do you think is acting as Congress’s Victory plan? With a face like Rahul Gandhi and a party with a track record full of scams and accusations in the recent years, this is their only ticket to victory. The average Indian who still thinks with his heart will definitely vote for a Gandhi for he seems to see the face of the late Rajiv Gandhi in his son. With Priyanka Gandhi trying to win over the public by putting up her grandmother’s sari to get closer to the people, the Congress can completely resort to something like this. But amidst all this, we should not forget that the Gandhi family has given a lot to Indian politics, so their descendants might as well cash upon it.
Narendra Modi on the other hand has his work to his credit. But his work in the state of Gujarat is not miraculous or exemplary enough to judge whether he is worthy enough to be the Prime Minister but the man sure has some Leadership qualities.
The trophy goes to…
My personal verdict undoubtedly would be in favour of Narendra Modi, as you would have guessed by now. With no prejudice towards the Gandhi family, I think Rahul Gandhi is still to learn the ropes of Indian politics and grow as a politician as well as a leader. India sure would love to have a mirror image of its coveted leader Rajiv Gandhi, but for Rahul to be a leader as great as his father, there is still a long way to go.
As far as the ground realities are concerned, who takes the trophy home is a matter of how does the politics develop towards the end. How much is the Congress able to capitalise on the Rahul Gandhi- an heir to the Prime Minister’s throne concept or how much is the BJP able to highlight the strong leader and decision maker within Narendra Modi, will decide the fate of these parties. Regional politics is yet to put its cards on the table. For all we know the RJD, only so willing to support the Congress now might not even end up with Congress towards the end and the JD(U) are already not in favour of Narendra Modi. Coalition is in vogue. The real picture would be clear only after the results of the polls come and the entire gamut of permutation and combination becomes clear. With Rajnath Singh becoming the new BJP President, a lot can still change for the BJP and by the action-reaction mechanism for the Congress as well. And as far as the recent comment by Congress is concerned which goes something like this- ‘this entire Rahul Gandhi vs. Narendra Modi faceoff 2014 is a joke’- your hints are well taken. As if the Chintan Shivir at Jaipur could have been more obvious.