Next general election is approaching in 2014. Political parties are tightening their belts in preparation for the great battle ahead. Two main contenders, though yet remain unannounced, are Mr Narendra Modi from BJP and Mr Rahul Gandhi. Mr Modi is a seasoned player, who has won Gujrat state for three consecutive years. Mr Modi is credited with development of Gujrat economy. Many also consider him to be an autocrat who cannot compromise, a disadvantage in pluralistic society like India. Mr Modi also carries the burden of post Godhra communal riot in Gujrat where many Muslims were killed. Mr Modi has not yet been found guilty, though cases are on going. Mr Modi has not even said sorry for the event that happened under his rule. Mr Modi has famously said he does not see people as Hindus and Muslims but as Gujaratis. Of late, several Gujaratis muslim businessmen have come out in support of Mr Modi. In recent municipal election, BJP had fielded Muslim candidates in Gujarat, a majority of whom won. Does all these mean Mr Modi is ready to takeover India?
I happen to hear Modi's speech delivered at Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi. To me it showed hope, to me the speech showed vision, to me it showed what we can do together, even now Inspite of our diversity and red tape. We can wait for some one to cure our problems, but those who help themselves, fortune favours them. India needs to decide we 60% young population do we wait for government to solve our problems, or government should deliver governance by creating opportunities for people, not for select few close to power.
Many consider Rahul Gandhi, potential contender for leadership of UPA and future prime minister of India, as a novice, who has not made any significant contribution or participation in Indian politics. Mr Gandhi many believe is busy reconstructing his party at the grassroots level. It is believed that massive subsidy program of UPA government that includes MGNREGA and food security bill have Mr. Rahul Gandhi's blessing. Mr. Gandhi believes such programs reaching rural poor could be lifeline for corruption ridden UPA government. There is no doubt that in a highly populous country like ours, unless we can lift the levels of our huge unemployed rural poor we are not going anywhere with our 8% growth. However, to employ people in MGNREGA we need to have money that we can spend. In other words, we can only engage in social upliftment, if we have a booming economy. It is governments responsibility to see that economy is growing in a smooth, free and fair manner. Unfortunately, in past 3 - 4 years, government has been saddled with one corruption after another. This there is no decision making, there is no policy creation and economy is growing at 5%. With this kind of prosperity, it is very difficult to sustain MGNREGA and food security bill, even as much government wants to help poor.
So it should be in governments interest, if it wants to return to power again, to boost ecomomy by creating policy and good business climate and bring in a semblance of governance by booking the people guilty of corruption. If these are done, no one will point finger at government for its social schemes. However, who can do the job better? Narendra Modi has a track record in a limited area. Can he replicate his model all over India? We have not heard from Rahul Gandhi anything of any consequence yet.
Another important point to be considered in a multicultural pluralistic society like India is finding acceptance of majority voters. Many a times, people may reject an efficient person, if they do not like him or her. Will Modi be acceptable as Prime Minister to all communities? No one knows. Equally, will any other prime minister deliver anything to this vast under governed, poorly administered country? Answer is a resolute know. Country has not seen any leader that has any vision of growth and development. Look at Mamata Banerjee, elected with massive mandate, darling of secular media, has no delivery to her state. West Bengal is sinking into anarchy. Look at Akhilesh Yadav, a waste of huge mandate. Rahul Gandhi so far does not look impressive at all. Yes, Muslims will not like Modi. May be Modi has to do extra effort. But it is time, India decides what it wants. Platitudes in the name of vote bank politics, dole in the name of social welfare or a system where citizens are not divided along religion, caste and creed. A society that grows on vision, on hope and a leader that gets the job done even at the expense of personal unpopularity. Do we want to take our place as a progressive, modern and just state or we remain mired in ideas of old political philosophy, old prejudices and old bias against prosperity. Country must decide. Leftist and socialists have always believed poor must be taken care of. No dispute on that, however, a poor father cannot help his lazy son/s, despite good intentions, if he himself is jobless. Decide India, time has come, what you want. A government that is bold and full of hope and vision or a government that continues the way we moved for past 60 years.