| by N.S.Venkataraman

( January 14, 2014, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) Dr. Manmohan Singh with his characteristic grace ,announced during the recent press conference that he would retire and would not seek the post of Prime Ministership for the third term. By making this announcement, he has saved the country men from the embarrassment of voting out a person widely perceived to be personally honest. Whatever the history would say about Dr. Manmohan Singh’s stewardship, certainly the history would applaud him for keeping himself out of the race sensing the mood of the country and perhaps, realising that he should not burden the country anymore.

In India, all said and done, the post of Prime minister is the most crucial and critical one , as it has evolved in over 65 years of governance after independence. As proved by former Prime Ministers like Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Prime minister by his personality and leadership attributes can create positive climate and bring great dignity as well as authority to the office.

During the last five years, the country has undergone a stressful period of unprecedented widespread corruption in the government machinery, falling quality of political leadership, spiralling price of commodities and services and slow down in the industrial and economic growth. If the country were to lift itself from such abysmal conditions, it is vitally important that after 2014 elections, the country should have a Prime Minister who is honest and committed with administrative capability and vision to take the country forward socially and economically. The country cannot afford to take a chance anymore and it needs to have a person who has proved himself over a period of time in providing development oriented quality governance.

In such circumstances, it is inevitable that the 2014 elections have to take place like the Presidential contest in USA where the focus is on the presidential candidate and his personality rather than the political party that he belongs to. BJP seems to have well realised this and has nominated clearly Narendra Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate. The country men should be grateful to BJP for naming the Prime Ministerial candidate in advance and leaving no ambiguity in this regard. Certainly, the country knows what kind of leadership that Narendra Modi would provide and there would be no scope for element of surprise.

It is unfortunate that congress party , the other major political party has not yet responded and announced its prime ministerial candidate so far. It should have already done by this time.

What is surprising now is the sudden emergence of Kejriwal with little experience and no proven capability in governance being talked about by the media as the possible prime ministerial candidate. In this case also, BJP has done a signal service by paving way for Kejriwal to become the Chief Minister of Delhi and providing him an opportunity to prove his capability for governance, Kejriwal has not yet to met the expectations and does not give an indication so far that he has the needed acumen to lead a country of India’s diversity and complexities. The country is watching him very closely.

While it appears that there is really no logic or justification for viewing Kejriwal as prime ministerial candidate, many believe that he is a media creation and the media has gone overboard in projecting his performance in Delhi elections as if the mood of the Delhi public represent an all India phenomenon. The media has missed the point that Delhi is a very small state, with many constituencies having less than 50000 voters. Media which appears to be more impressed by sensational developments and political gimmicks rather than clear cut analytical perspective, has been giving a misleading picture about the possible impact of aam aadmi party at all India level. Of course, a few fair weather friends have joined aam aadmi party now, most of whom so far have not been in public life at all but have been in business pursuits of one form or the other. Media calls such trend as reflecting the increasing popularity of aam aadmi party which may not be so.

Now, what is in store for the country after 2014 elections ? It is necessary that the country should have very close and objective look at Narendra Modi and responsible media with analytical capability can help the country in evaluating him. Certainly, Narendra Modi has provided an administration in Gujarat , which has enabled the state to record significant economic , industrial and social growth over the last ten years unsurpassed by any other state in the country and Modi receiving popular mandate from the people three times consecutively . His critics solely focus on 2002 riots. But, in India , ultimate view on the innocence of a person is taken on the basis of the judgement of the judiciary and Indian judiciary at various levels have not found Modi guilty. His critics and the media should have the grace to accept this aspect while evaluating Naendra Modi.