Zee Media Bureau/Ajith Vijay Kumar
New Delhi: With poll after opinion poll suggesting that the country is rooting for Narendra Modi as prime minister this time, parties on the other side of the political spectrum seem to be warming up to the taste of `NaMo tea`.
While it is obvious that parties tend to gravitate to the side that appears the fittest to be closet to the trophy, the shake up in the UPA this early into the poll season would be a cause of worry for the Congress given its renewed focus on getting its act together before the General Election, likely to be held in May-June.
First came National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah`s `candid` admission of the reality of India`s democratic system. The union minister said at it was in the hands of voters to decide whether Narendra Modi should be the prime minister or not.
While there was nothing inherently wrong in what he said, but when his comments are viewed in the backdrop of the growing tension between his party and the Congress – they run a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir – questions are bound to be raised on the changing political realities. Farooq Abdullah`s son and J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah added fuel to the fire by saying that his party may be willing to go it alone in the state.
Farooq Abdullah`s statement needs scrutiny also because he had, as recently as October last year, said that Narendra Modi as Prime Minister will be "dangerous and damaging" for the nation`s secular ethos.
"National Conference (NC) has nothing to do with either Modi or BJP or Sangh (Parivar). We want to stay far and would not get into any agreements with them. That (Modi as PM) will be dangerous and damaging for the Indian secular ethos," Abdullah had said.
Even before Congress could analyse NC`s changing position vis-a-vis Narendra Modi came a bigger whammy from its old ally the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
The NCP, which shares power with the Congress in Maharashtra, has been a loyal ally of the Congress despite the very public dream of party boss Sharad Pawar to be prime minister of the country.
Pawar, one of the most astute politicians in the country, is known to have the knack to judge the directions of the wind much before others sense it.
And today his trusted lieutenant Praful Patel, who is also a union minister, created a flutter by asserting that the time has come to lay the 2002 Gujarat riots issue to rest.
When asked by reporters about his views on the role of the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government in the 2002 riots, Patel said, “The fact is that we are in a era were we believe that the judicial system is the final recourse to getting justice on any issue or to bring finality to any controversy. If the judicial system has given any pronouncement, I think we ought ought to respect it and not question it further.”
Besides the NC and the NCP, the DMK has already announced that it will not form an alliance with the Congress.
The task before Rahul Gandhi has just got more daunting.