| by N.S.Venkataraman
( March 17, 2014, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) It appears that, by and large, Indian voters have made up their mind to vote for Narendra Modi in the forthcoming parliamentary poll. Of course, this would be the vote for Narendra Modi rather than for BJP, for which he is the Prime Ministerial candidate. Certainly, leaders in BJP themselves have understood this mind set of an average Indian.
However, one cannot miss the fact that there is an unrelenting campaign against Modi by a few political parties, particularly Congress party and the recent political outfit AAP. In the next few days, certainly Modi would be abused in sharper and harsher tones and one need not be surprised even if attempts would be made to tarnish his personal character. Whereas Modi has the task of living upto the standards expected of a potential Prime Minister, his critics do not have this compulsion. Therefore, Modi has to face such criticisms with extreme caution and dignity. It remains to be seen how Modi would handle such onslaught all by himself, particularly in a situation where his own party may not be able to adequately shield him in the torrid conditions ahead before the days of polling.
While there are attempts to create huge doubt against Modi, people seem to be willing to support him by giving him the benefit of doubt, realising the fact that Modi stands much taller compared to his political opponents due to the above average standards of governance that he could provide in Gujarat for ten long years and the fact that he has not been accused of any corrupt practices. He is the most vocal leader today who has been stressing the importance of implementing development oriented projects , using modern technology in an efficient way. He has been trying to lift the standards of political debate by constantly speaking about the importance of industrial and economic growth and providing opportunities for skill acquisition and quality education for people at all level. This has made Modi’s interaction with the public refreshingly different and it gives feeling to the country men that they are listening to a person with vision and foresight.
The congress party seem to have already reconciled itself to losing power after the election due to its poor performance during the last five years and the incumbent Prime Minister not even saying anything to defend his performance in clear terms . Manmohan Singh has now become almost silent , even more silent than he used to be in the past. This gives an impression that Manmohan Singh realises that he has failed the people and would like to move away quietly. The existing congress government is unable to provide any credible explanation with regard to its poor quality of governance and the only weapon in its hands appear to be to go for negative campaign against Modi.
Kejriwal , who has now been given space in the Indian political arena disproportionate to his achievements and track record , has really brought down the standards of political debate by indulging in gimmicks, using abusive and vituperative language and conducting his party as if it is a drama troupe. After much bonhomie with Kejriwal in the initial stages, the media has now realised that he nowhere matches the standards required for taking charge of the governance of the country. While the media, by constantly highlighting him , built him , now he remains only as a spoiler and he only satisfies the critics of Modi who want Modi to be criticised in the strongest language. Kejriwal meets the expectations of critics of Modi and not the people of India.
The real challenge for Modi will come after the elections ,when he will have the tough task of meeting the expectations of the people. He has to put down the corruption in the governance with heavy hand and this may even threaten his job. He has to realise that , if he were to become the Prime minister of the country , the country men would have given him a chance to rewrite the process of Indian political democracy. In this regard, Modi is facing a huge task and has to prove himself.
The biggest concern amongst the average Indian voter today is the level of corruption in India, which has affected the economic and industrial growth of the country in several ways. If Modi would fail to put down corruption and implement progressive economic policies with due regard for the plight of the 300 million under privileged people, then he would lose the esteem much faster than he could gain. Certainly, Modi would not like to face such scenario. As of now, the country men are willing to place bet on him and the ball is clearly in the court of Narendra Modi.