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Why Narendra Modi is BJPís best PM candidate

GVL Narasimha Rao, LensOnNews
Untitled Document
September 22, 2011

In the last decade, ‘leadership factor’ has become decisive and winning elections is becoming increasingly difficult for political parties without projecting a popular leader as chief minister or prime minister. This factor would be much more pronounced now as people’s trust in all political parties has sunk to an all time low in the wake of recent anti-corruption campaigns. Against this background, the ongoing debate about who should be the prime ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the next Lok Sabha polls has acquired much significance. 

Narendra Modi is the Choice

In this context, no one fits the bill better than Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. He is hugely successful as chief minister, popular among the masses and BJP cadres and is the only BJP leader with a pan-Indian appeal from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.

Nationwide, Narendra Modi is perceived to be a development icon, a role model for strong leadership and a symbol of efficient and honest governance – virtues that are extremely rare in Indian politics today. For the same reasons, Narendra Modi has been rated as the best chief minister in the country by India Today’s “Mood of the Nation” surveys year after year.

If people of every state want to have a chief minister like him in their states, it is natural to expect that they would support him as the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP cutting across party lines. He has the ability to increase the BJP’s support base much like Atal Behari Vajpayee did earlier. This assessment is based on the findings of a nationwide poll undertaken in June this year by LensOnNews in 14 crucial states across 40 parliamentary constituencies. http://bit.ly/iIPZAy

Two of the questions asked in the poll were: First, which party would you vote for if Lok Sabha elections are held now? And second, which party would you vote for if Narendra Modi is the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate?

The results are revealing. With Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate, the poll showed that the BJP would gain nationally an additional 5.4 percentage points in votes and an additional 65 seats. The BJP’s campaign would get a huge thrust with Narendra Modi’s projection as the prime minister.

With such strong credentials and support, Narendra Modi’s prime ministerial candidature should have been a settled issue. But there are many myths in circulation about imaginary risks in projecting Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate. Let me explain why I consider them to be myths.

Myth 1: “Muslims would vehemently vote against the BJP”

It is the most aggressively circulated myth that Muslims will turn against the BJP if Narendra Modi is the PM candidate. Let me ask a counter question: when did the Muslims not vote vehemently against the BJP in national elections? Did the Muslims not vote tactically and vehemently against the BJP in 1996, 1998 and 1999 when a moderate Atal Behari Vajpayee was projected as prime minister? Of course, they did. The BJP had emerged as the single largest party in all these elections and grew from strength to strength despite stiff resistance from the Muslims.

The BJP attracted allies in 1998 and 1999 despite the Muslim community’s fears and opposition to its ascension to power at the Centre. The allies needed the BJP because it had a popular leader in Vajpayee who could sway masses.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had once told a media acquaintance in a personal conversation, ”Who wants the BJP to get the Muslim votes for us? We want the BJP to win Hindu votes for us.” That is the overriding sentiment among most potential allies of the BJP for whom electoral success is all that matters.

Narendra Modi isn’t even relying on such calculations. He began a process of reaching out to Muslims more than a year ago. Last year, he had got 120 corporators from the Muslim community elected in municipal bodies on BJP ticket. Tell me one other state that has as many elected Muslim representatives from the BJP.

Further, with his Sadbhavana Mission Narendra Modi has begun to build bridges with the Muslim community, albeit without any appeasement. Congress party is already unnerved about Narendra Modi’s efforts and is organizing a statewide minority campaign (See Indian Express Report http://bit.ly/oityTJ). If his efforts pay off, he may be the only BJP leader ever in its history to attract Muslim votes in large numbers first in Gujarat and later, possibly outside Gujarat.

Myth 2:  “NDA cannot attract new allies”

The three days of Narendra Modi’s fast have debunked this theory squarely. A number of potential entrants into the NDA like the AIADMK, Raj Thackeray’s MNS, RPI (Athawale) et al. had arrived at the fast venue to express solidarity with the fasting chief minister. It was much more than a subtle hint that they would join the NDA bandwagon with Narendra Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.

Nobody does anybody a favour in politics. If parties are willing to join the NDA with Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate, it is for their own political success. In Narendra Modi, they see a strong national leader who has a tremendous nationwide appeal.

The cardinal principle in alliance building: allies would like to deal with a leader who has stature, nationwide appeal, a strong political base, authority and ability to strike deals. Narendra Modi has all these and thus has a compelling attraction for potential allies to join the NDA.

Once he is declared the prime ministerial candidate by the BJP and vested with the authority to strike alliances, Narendra Modi will be able to get a number of other parties to sign up with the NDA. The most likely allies would include the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Chautala-led INLD, Ajit Singh-led RLD, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) etc. Alliances with regional parties like Telugu Desam Party, YSR Congress and Trinamul Congress also cannot be ruled out. If not before elections, after elections, they would happily join a Narendra Modi led government.

Myth 3: “Narendra Modi is not acceptable to present NDA allies”

The BJP has only three NDA allies at present: Shiv Sena, Shiromani Akali Dal and Janata Dal (United). Shiv Sena and Akali Dal have cordial relations with Narendra Modi and that was established at the fast venue.

The JD (U)’s opposition to Narendra Modi is overstated. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is a shrewd politician and has strong political instincts. Nitish Kumar continued as the Railways minister in the Vajpayee government in 2002 when the communal riots followed and had not protested against Gujarat developments then.

In my assessment, JD (U) would go along with the choice of Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate, notwithstanding its grandstanding over the issue. It needs the BJP as much as the BJP needs the JD (U). This is amply illustrated by the combined vote share of just 39% (JD-U 22.6% plus BJP 16.5%) in last year’s Bihar assembly polls when the JD (U)-BJP alliance rode to power with a landslide majority. With such a shaky vote base, can the JD (U) afford to break out on its own? Will it join the discredited Congress-led UPA to enhance its electoral viability?

Janata Dal (United) has been a trusted ally of the BJP and has immensely profited from this association. It will make a rational decision, which is to continue in the alliance and back Narendra Modi’s candidature rather than commit political hara-kiri.

Prime Ministerial Candidate Essential

The BJP’s official position of not declaring a prime ministerial candidate is sure to be revisited as the elections draw closer. Narendra Modi as a PM candidate is acceptable to all BJP leaders if the attendance and speeches at the Sadbhavana fast are any indication. It left nobody in doubt that Narendra Modi is not in any race of any kind but is in a different leadership league altogether.

Narendra Modi has the personal charisma and capacity to channelise the public anger against the Congress-led UPA government and bring the BJP to power at the Centre. Much like Barack Obama who won 2008 U.S. presidential elections on the slogan “Change we can believe in,” Narendra Modi is adept at fueling youth aspirations to build an electoral wave in the BJP’s favour in next elections. And Narendra Modi should be much more successful as, unlike Obama, Modi has a decade of sterling governance record in Gujarat. Modi’s won’t be empty rhetoric but a promise based on proven performance.
 
Narendra Modi’s promise of a “New India” is not a dream that needs to be told by the BJP. It is a dream already sold by Narendra Modi. The only moot question is not whether Narendra Modi should be the BJP’s prime ministeral candidate but the timing of its announcement.

 
G V L Narasimha Rao is a noted political analyst
E-mail : nrao@lensonnews.com
 
Reprinting or republication of this story on websites is authorized by prominently displaying the following sentence, including the hyperlink to LensOnNews, at the beginning or end of the story: "Why Narendra Modi is BJP's best PM Candidate" is republished with permission of LensOnNews

Showing 27 comments on this article
muslimbhagawat says:
September 22, 2011
Narendra Modi is teh only candidate for PM of india to save this country from deprevation.Congress has made peoples life hell by unimaginable price rise.Terrorists are more emboldened to strike at their will in any part of country.they have shown that they can kill any where in the country.Police is silenta nd their moral totally broken down after the batala house encounter which was politicised by the pseudo secularists to get votes.Vote Bank politics of congress ahs made indian life vauleless and under strike by any killer.If Narendra Modi wouldnot be PM then India would be slave again,This time it would be total mincemeat of indianarmy by PLA of China who is provoking us by attack on borders and threatening us for our oil exploration in vietnam.Only a strong PM like Namo can save India now.There is no soft option.Muslism would never vote in fvaour of BJP and it wud be divided among congress and regionla parties.But if 85% of hindu votes would be polarised in favour of BJP then it would get 400 seats.
C.S.Ramalakshmi says:
September 22, 2011
When he talked of 120 crores, I knew this person has got vision.He has volunteered to give direction to 120 crores.The job has to be given to him.
kaushikthakkar says:
September 22, 2011
i 100% confident. next 2014 p.m. narendra modi. because he is brillint politicion. i prey my god.
srinivasa rao says:
September 22, 2011
Whole the story did not mention the power of minority vote. minority were not against vajpayee. but they are against modi. They even try to defeat potential allies of BJP in the next electons with a strong commitment. dont forget about new social media which bind communites with internal discourse.
BAPTY.S says:
September 22, 2011
India is definitely coming of age. Dr Rao pertinent need of the hour article by you.may i comment as follows. 1.the public mood,atmosphere in the country on elections,trust on politicians have all undergone substantial change. all this is now much against congress. ofcourse this does not mean its swung totally to bjp.,but yet bjp stands to gain. 2.anger against congress 7 top leaders like Sonia,P.M MMS is quite high, & TRUST ON MMS IS VERY MUCH DOWN.THIS ITSELF ACCOUNTS FOR 8O SEATS FOR CONGRESS.,IN COMPARISON TO 2009. 3.WHO IS GOING TO FILL THIS VACUUM, IN MY OPINION ITS TOO MUCH TO ASSUME ANNAJI TEAM,& HIS IDEAS WOULD TRANSLATE TO THAT EXTENT TO FORM A NEW SET OF POLITICIANS. 3.LOKPAL & CORRUPTION BEING THEIR MAIN THEME, IF BJP CAN CONVINCE MASSES THEY ARE ONLY FOR THIS THEY HAVE WON THIS ELECTION. 4. THERE IS NO BETTER LEADER WITH PROVEN PERFORMANCE & INCORRUPTIBILITY THAN MODIJI.SO BJP STARTS WITH GREAT ADVANTAGE.THERE IS NO EQUAL LEADER FROM ANY OTHER PARTY IN ALL THESE ASPECTS EQUAL TO MODIJI. 5.ELECTION NEEDS GROUNDWORK & TEAM WORK,WITH MODIJIS LEADERSHIP & BJP BACKING THIS ASPECT FALLS IN LINE PERFECTLY. 6. THERE ARE MORE SPECIGFIC POINTS BUT I FEEL TO SUPPRT DR RAOs GREAT ASSESSMENT THRU THIS ARTICLE THIS IS ENOUGH. 6,JUST ONE MORE IF BJP CAN SWING MEDIA & TV EVEN BY 25% OR PUT THEM IN A SPOT, THEY WILL ALSO COME AROUND.
Ami.Brahmbhatt says:
September 22, 2011
According to me Narendra Modi is the best candidate that BJP should select if they want to see India as a developed nation.Narendra Modi is a person who talks less and lets others to speak and appreciate his work and deeds.We can see how Gujarat has crossed the fixed target and achieved lots of success and development.I would surely cast my vote to such a deserving candidate.
Agni Shiva says:
September 22, 2011
Modern India never seen such selfless leader, true nationalist,proven administrator, strongest leader in the past 2 decades as Sri Modiji. Indians walk around the world very proudly when this Golden Man rules India. It is only under him we Indians feel proud to be an Indian
P.G.Aravindakshan Nair says:
September 22, 2011
Yes,Narendra Modi is surely the best PM candidate for BJP. He is a true nationalist and a man with an excellent willpower who can build a modern India.
Lokesh says:
September 23, 2011
Modi for PM. Great
Ali ShahanShah says:
September 23, 2011
Narender Modi is a good nomination but not a good choice.He may not be accepted by the West for his views and his actions in 2002.The Middle East also may not support his candidature.Unless its purely hardcore business which Modi bhai is very good at!!Let us wait and watch!
Mohan says:
September 22, 2011
Except Media, who don't loe Narendra Modi. It's the Secular media(They don't know the meaning of secularism), which always creats the noise. If Not Modi, who can save the India. If Modi not become PM by 2014, It's a great loss to India and 120 crore Indians....I never voted in elections before....But If Modi is PM candidate, I will vote and I will let my family and friends vote for him... In my opinion, there is no national leader in India except Modi
Lokesh says:
September 23, 2011
I salute for this article. I was against all media for writing against modi even though comments on his articles are favoring him. I respect you and balakrishnan for the true comments. Please tell other media people to stop taking bribe on writing against modi. Congress is afraid of LION ( Modi ), they know they will be defeated if he is in delhi. I am from bangalore, and love our leader more than any one.
ranvijay singh says:
September 23, 2011
next pm of india -narendra modi
Sahibraj Bajaj says:
September 23, 2011
Narendra Modi is a deserving person as PM for the India, as now it is about 10 yers over with the Godhra Kaand, and after that he has done huge for his Gujrat state and not looking that who is Hindu and who is Muslim, but every one is a Gujrati, and he did every thing for them without the prejudice. And it is proved that he gave chance to all minority community in local body elelction, where more than 120 muslims have come as elected which is an exmple for every one, even no any political party has done to bring so many muslims elected to the states corporation elelction. I shall request every Indian to forget the past, and give a chance to make a new India undert the leadership of Narendra Modi.
Jai Maharaj says:
September 24, 2011
I fully support Shri Narendra Modi ji for prime ministership. I do have a question: What will his answer be to this question that his opponents may ask of voters: How can you vote for a candidate who is not allowed to enter the United States, which is our partner in many areas?
Alpesh Shah says:
September 25, 2011
Generally you see comments on both sides but this time almost all comments are positive and approving Mr Modi as a PM of India. It is an eye opening for BJP to recognize and especially for Mr L K Advani and other top BJP members to make a way for Mr Modi.
Balu says:
September 24, 2011
My $0.02 on the question of Modi and visa for the US. Voters don't give a rip about who has a visa for the US. After all, US and company put sanctions on India after 1998 Pokhran but afterwards has been a 180 degree turn. Hopefully voters are focused on good governance and just constantly comparing Gujarat governance vs UPA governance should hammer the message home.
sankara chidambaram says:
September 26, 2011
Sir, I accept Narendra Modi as future PM of our country. There is no one else in the party to beat him. But there are a few catches here. The news media, instigated by the congress party, has been spreading a lot of propaganda against Modi since 2002. And BJP has not yet come out in the open as one man in support of Modi. Unless the BJP cadres all over the country take up Modi's case in right earnest (there are no signs of it yet) and wipe out the bad image created against him, it would be doubtful for Modi to come up. This is the reality that is to be faced. I hope and wish that BJP as a party will start canvassing for Modi.
Chandan Sharma says:
September 26, 2011
I am an avid follower of your writings since when you used to write for Mint. On this recent article that you wrote about Namo's candidature, I have the following observations/questions.Would love to know your thoughts wherever possible. 1) Even though Muslims voted against BJP during Vajpayee's time, don't you think that the turnout among Muslims will be higher in case of Namo just to block him? 2) The other crucial factor that nobody has discussed openly so far is the OBC factor. Do you think projection of Namo can get that extra OBC votes to counter any minority mobilization against him? 3) Is it possible to have a BJP PM candidate instead of a NDA PM candidate? 4) From your voteshare and seats data, BJP would be killing its own future if it goes for someone other than Namo just to please some alliance partners. BJP is weakened and some allies get strengthened. I guess we will know what happens in due course of time.
Ravi Krishnamoorty says:
September 27, 2011
I pray daily that we get Modi as PM to save India from vultures called Congress.
Chandan Sharma says:
September 26, 2011
I am an avid follower of your writings since when you used to write for Mint. On this recent article that you wrote about Namo's candidature, I have the following observations/questions.Would love to know your thoughts wherever possible. 1) Even though Muslims voted against BJP during Vajpayee's time, don't you think that the turnout among Muslims will be higher in case of Namo just to block him? 2) The other crucial factor that nobody has discussed openly so far is the OBC factor. Do you think projection of Namo can get that extra OBC votes to counter any minority mobilization against him? 3) Is it possible to have a BJP PM candidate instead of a NDA PM candidate? 4) From your voteshare and seats data, BJP would be killing its own future if it goes for someone other than Namo just to please some alliance partners. BJP is weakened and some allies get strengthened. I guess we will know what happens in due course of time.
Dhananjaya Agrawal says:
October 02, 2011
Absolutely Narendra bhai must be there on PM chair to save India. But BJP internal fight who knows where would it land. First the old guns in BJP should be in a guiding mode & not in leading mode.
Rama Krishnan says:
December 21, 2011
No doubt. NaMo is the best choice for PM. He has already established his credentials. India will be at loss if he is not put up as PM candidate
AD says:
December 01, 2011
Very positive and fact based article. Good to see a positive article on Narendra Modi. All Indians who want to see a strong and prosperous India should support Narendra Modi's candidature for PM. He will get the extra vote share that BJP needs to cross the 282 mark in lok sabha. All supporters of Mr.Modi should take action in convincing their friends and family members to vote for BJP and Mr.Modi in the next elections. We can also join groups like friendsofbjp.org to organize ourselves better so that our support will be united and will strengthen BJP and Mr.Modi
Pattu says:
January 10, 2012
Modiji. The well deserved & the only eligible leader to become PM. See his dedication, planning & execution.
Arun Choudhary says:
January 29, 2012
Hi, Good article and we need such good article and support from differnet news channel. In current period World structure is changing and all the world is looking at this region of asia . This is a red zone area and most likely to cantre point of third world war (if happens in future). And we need a strong leader who can lead our country both economically and with attitude to make strong defence.we need a leader who can take our politics from religion and castism to devlopement and corruption free. so we need a strong leader to achieve this and in current leaders list Narendra Modi is the best choice.It's responsibility of every Indian to think about country than himself
alexis Sudhakar says:
March 17, 2012
Together with our fellow indians we have learned a lot. NaMo is truly game-changing. A hopeful opportunity for our country. A differentiating competitive framework for India. Building smarter India isnít simply a Drean or theory, but a reality, with clear steps, quantifiable benefits and best practices. Namo is HERE and we to carry on this and we must capitilize on this

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