With India moving into election mode, pan-Indian political equations are getting drawn up. Six states will have elections to their legislative assemblies in 2013, while three states have already held their elections in the last two months. The Congress’s stock isn’t very high, considering that corruption, a pet subject, has come to stalk them, particularly in UPA-II. In the eventuality of a politically-hung Parliament, a third front is an option, but forming such a front would require that leaders of some of the larger non-BJP and non-Congress run states such as Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu sit down and see eye to eye. It would also mean pulling in the fading charisma of the Left to put up a front. The BJP that appeared more disjointed than united until even a couple of months ago, has suddenly received some oxygen after Narendra Modi announced his arrival on the national scene in March with a bang.
The Na Mo factor is now the talking point in India, and not just in political circles. Cutting across drawing rooms, meeting places and educational campuses, there is a buzz about Narendra Modi. Elected 4th-time chief minister of Gujarat in December 2012, Modi has a proven track record of running the state efficiently. He has been attracting investments and businesses from across the world in order to power the state to model 21st century standards that entire India wishes to set. He has a growing acceptance among world leaders—in 2013 EU ambassadors have opened up to him, realizing that they cannot sit back and continue to ignore him any longer. Business with Gujarat is now top priority for almost every European country.
In February, Narendra Modi appeared at Delhi’s Shri Ram College of Commerce and made headlines. Weeks later at the BJP Conclave, he received praise from his own party leaders who have de facto declared him the prime ministerial candidate. The cancellation of his invitation from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, added to his charisma. In the age of the New Media, more people wanted to access electronically what makes Modi such a polarizing factor in India, and even overseas, and at the same time such a huge hit with India’s youth whose numbers are swelling.
Modi’s USP has been good, solid administration. He has been a motivation and a revelation for other state leaders that have admired him, sometimes openly, for the transparency he brings in to his everyday work. The Gujarat model is something that is now a topic of discussion in b-schools and elite academic institutions around the world.
Well nigh, politics is the art of the possible. There are international and national forces aligned against Modi that would love to see him stay put in Gujarat and not enter New Delhi. But with a rising stock, and growing nationwide appeal, it could be that Narendra Modi pulls of something spectacular in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. There is every possibility that these elections could now even be held in 2013, for the UPA II may not wish to wait for the results of the elections to the rest of the legislative assemblies.
In such a scenario, Narendra Modi may well be an idea whose time has
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