THERE was never any doubt in the minds of unbiased citizens, let alone our shoddy pseudo-secularists who specialised in hating Narendra Modi (even if they would not openly admit to it) that when it came to brass tacks, he would win hands down. Actually, practically every exit poll predicted a resounding victory to Modi, with the BJP winning an average of 120 to 125 seats. That, in actuality, the party secured only 115 (in contrast to 117 in the 2007 elections) should be considered even more creditable, considering the vicious propaganda that the Congress had let loose against Modi. That the sophisticated Gujarat public saw through Congress hypocrisy and gave its unquestionable support to Modi is to his credit.
The BJP victory in the circumstances is remarkable in every way. Importantly it has sent four messages to the electorate at large. One, that Modi’s basic humanism, his care, commitment and dedication to the welfare of all Gujaratis, irrespective of their caste, creed or religion is unchallengeable; two, that what has mattered to him is across-the-State prosperity of people and not their political affiliation; three, that if there is one man who can be trusted to put people before politics and can be further relied upon to provide good and efficient government, it is Modi and finally, four, that it is time to stop denigrating Modi and to see him in a new light.
That last message should be specially taken to heart by the United States which has been brazen and vicious in treating Modi all these years. That the BJP won in eight of the 12 Muslim dominated constituencies is particularly significant, considering that the BJP had not given even a single candidature to a Muslim in the elections. That was obviously not held against him. What has come through clearly is that not only have tribals and lower OBCs lent their support to Modi, but even the Muslims have realised that he remains their best friend.
The Gujarati Muslim, it would seem, wants to forget 2002 and to move on. The Congress with its disgusting self-righteousness, is the only party it seems, which wants to keep the memory of 2002 alive. As BS Raghavan, a reputed bureaucrat put it, “the aam aadmi of Gujarat, with his shrewd native wisdom” has been “able to see through the contemptible hypocrisy behind the constant harping on 2002 riots by those who had the blood of the massacre of more than 4,000 Sikhs in 1984 riots on their hands.”
The Congress has now been taught a lesson which, one hopes, it will never forget. The United Kingdom has shown greater maturity by sending its High Commissioner to call on Modi in recent times, to make amends. It is time for the United States to be equally apologetic, if, that is, it has any decency left. There is now a good deal of talk on what Modi’s remarkable victory means in terms of the forthcoming general elections, hardly 14 months away. In other words, can Gujarat be replicated?
But then, why did the BJP do so miserably in Himachal Pradesh? Was it because of plain incumbency? One answer – and that is provided by BJP leaders themselves – has been the dissidence within the party that caused the humiliating defeat. In the coming months will this be repeated in Karnataka, following BS Yediyurappa’s traitorous revolt? It is too early to predict. After all, in Gujarat, Keshubhai Patel did very little damage despite being propped up by the Congress. It might have led the BJP to lose a couple of seats, but that was bearable. However, naming Modi as a putative Prime Ministerial candidate should a BJP coalition like the NDA gain a workable majority in the general elections is asking for trouble. A wise BJP will keep its options open which exactly what it is now doing. Modi maybe popular in Gujarat – and there is every reason for him to be – but that popularity still remains to be tested beyond the State’s boundaries. And there are too many politicians who want to be Prime Ministers. If Deve Gowda can become one, why shouldn’t Nitish Kumar or, for that matter, a Mulayam Singh Yadav? Never mind if they can’t distinguish between a spoken word in Telugu and another in Kannada, never mind, if they have never heard of a Madhwacharya or a Ramanuja or what Kaladi is famous for. But they all want to be Prime Ministers.
However, the presumption is that the UPA-2 will not give in but will stay its course till March 2014, unless, of course, the public in its anger demands that it be thrown out. But time is running out fast. If the BJP wants to put up a good fight it must see that its own house is put in order. The BJP has a lot of introspection to do. To blurt out the truth, Modi has now no equal to him. He has shown in many ways that as an administrator, a visionary, a diplomat and a populist, he has no equals, not just within the BJP but among all parties, including the Congress. He is the aam aadmi’s ideal, being an aam aadmi himself, coming from a poor family. Consider some of his achievements: He has risen on his own, unlike Rahul Baba; in addition to being the peoples’ choice in three consecutive elections, who, in the entire country can beat him in his qualifications as an administrator? He has travelled widely, and has met international leaders whether in China, Japan or elsewhere on his own terms. He has shown that he is a man of determination, able to stand by his convictions. He has the humility to say that it was the party that won in Gujarat and not he, when everyone knows that most of the credit for winning the elections should go to him. What, in effect Modi has uncompromisingly shown is that he is a fighter through and through, one of a kind that the country badly need today.
Like America’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the thirties, Britain’s Winston Spencer Churchill in the forties and France’s Charles de Gaulle in the fifties, Modi is just the man of the hour that India badly wants now to put it firmly on the map of resurgent nations of the world. For the Congress to name a novice as its candidate for Prime Ministership is to insult 1.2 billion people that is not only not permissible but should be determinedly fought. India is not the one to be spat upon by dynastic rule and its ever growing sycophants.