Narendra Modi: BJP’s dilemma, Congress’ worry

By Biplob Ghosal | Updated: Dec 21, 2012, 11:50 AM IST

Biplob Ghosal

The verdict is out. The Bharatiya Janata Party under the leadership of Narendra Modi has once again conquered Gujarat. Modi`s victory has not only brought back him to power in Gujarat for the third time in a row, but also strengthened his chances of becoming the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate for 2014 Lok Sabha Elections.

Known for his single mindedness, the 62-year-old politician is sure to create ripples if decides to go all out to for the Delhi crown. He made his intentions apparent by the way he went about negating the track record of the UPA government at the Centre.

However, the road ahead is tough for the Hindutva poster boy as he would find stiff resistance from other leaders within the BJP, who also have their eyes set on the top post. But, he may find succor in the backing that the RSS is expected to provide once it becomes certain that there’s no choice but Modi, if the BJP has to have any realistic chance of uprooting the UPA in 2014.

Narendra Modi’s developmental agenda seems to have paid dividends in Gujarat, the scenario is completely different on the national scene where many other states are growing at a fast pace. Additionally, while it is true that Modi has been appreciated by country’s most influential industrialists such as Ambani brothers, Sunil Bharti Mittal and Ratan Tata and SK Birla with Anil Ambani and Mr Birla openly advocating for Modi’s PM candidature, his acceptance as a pan-India choice still remains in doubts given the 2002 riot stain.

He would also have to navigate through the maze called coalition politics. Parties like Biju Janata Dal and Janata Dal (United) have on number of occasions spoken against Modi and will throw a spanner in Modi’s chances of being the consensus candidate of the NDA.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has even threatened to walk out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) if Modi is projected as the PM candidate.

If the Opposition does take the gamble with Modi, it will certainly be a big worry for the Congress party too, which recently announced that Rahul Gandhi will lead party’s 2014 election campaign.

It is noteworthy that TIME magazine earlier this year had said that next Lok Sabha elections will be a battle between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi.

Modi’s victory elevation to the top post will add to the worries of the Congress which has, till now, treated with caution on Modi Vs Rahul debate.

Had Modi lost the current elections, the path for the Congress as well Rahul Gandhi would have been lot easier. Modi’s victory will force the Congress to reformulate its strategy given the fact that Rahul Gandhi has been lying low following the crushing defeat of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh.

As of now Modi seems to be set for the bigger stage in Delhi. Whether it becomes a reality or not will not depend on him as much as it will the way the wind will blow till 2014.