Narendra Modi created a record of sorts yesterday (31st August) by becoming the first politician to interact with online viewers in a large scale connecting with them using Google +. He took various questions, more comfortable than otherwise and answered each of them with a straightforward attitude, without batting an eyelid and getting his impressive facts and figures right. Many squirmed at the idea, others hailed it. Largely everyone saw it a preparation for 2014. NaMo was seen as throwing down a gauntlet in the race towards 7 Race Course road.
But will Narendrabhai Modi’s name as Prime Minister be acceptable? Acceptable to the voter? Acceptable to BJP? Acceptable to NDA allies? Acceptable to the world? Let’s take it case by case.
But before that the most crucial point. Narendra Modi would not have been subject to so much debate had Godhra massacre not occurred in 2002 which was followed by a pogrom against minorities in the state of Gujarat.
So firstly the Indian voter. It is unlikely that the next general elections will begin with both the major national parties announcing their prime ministerial candidates. While on one hand Rahul Gandhi is still apprehensive and have not ‘come of age’ (if he misses 2012 for entry into the ‘system’ he might miss it in the long run as well), BJP will not project any candidate largely due to internal squabbling. If a party manages to do so, they score brownie points. At the face of such a situation the Indian voter might not have a picture of the prime minister while voting. Hence it will not work in direct favour of NaMo.
Secondly the party. In the scenario where NDA achieves the majority, will Narendra Modi be projected by BJP for the prime ministerial post? Unlikely. NaMo has largely been seen as regional satrap. At the national level, the BJP ‘quartet’ have been aspiring for the coveted position since years now, and will try to shoot down any other name that arises, however large the sound bites in favour of NaMo have been over the few years.
Thirdly a crucial constituency, the NDA allies. A major ally JD(U) has of course made its displeasure known with Nitish Kumar (Another strong contender for PM post)distancing himself from NaMo but not BJP. The others like Shiv Sena, SAD, to address their constituency might or might not support Modi. The remaining smaller parties will be opportunistic when the need arises. It could well be a possibility that propping up Narendra Modi’s name split NDA, with the unhappy faction joining what is increasingly being conjured as the Third Front.
Fourthly, less important to the common man, but more as a card to play by parties, acceptance of Modi at an international forum. The biggest case in point being that of the US which has denied Modi visa based on his alleged role in Gujarat pogrom. With US being one of India’s major allies strategically and otherwise, one might argue that it might not work well for the future of this important foreign relation with Modi at the helm of affairs. Arab nations might as well join club with US against Modi which might affect the politics of oil.
All the above theories have one underlying fact. A politicians name associated with bribery might be acceptable but it associated with mass murder, communalism is a totally untouchable area in politics. An important point that needs mention is that despite various court cases against Mr. Modi with regard to Godhra riots, there has not been a single conviction against him. While a few of the then BJP and Congress politicians have been framed, the black mark has not been stamped on NaMo’s image yet. However prosperous Gujarat has been under his leadership, however dynamism he has shown over the years, however grand his views are for an India of the future, Indian political system will cause his elevation to the chair of Prime Minister highly unlikely.