Narendra Modi is the biggest topic in Indian political landscape. Althrough not formally christened, in the eyes of many politicians and citizens alike, he is the Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP. I remember 1999 elections of India when people around me had the wish to see Atal Bihari Vajpayee to emerge as the Prime Minister of India. It happened and the government had its share of highs and lows. Kargil war, hijacking of IC 814, Godhra riots, booming economy, inflation and cost of fuel being low, golden quadrilateral project, IRCTC vision etc. My surrounding gives me a similar feel as in 1999 with the hope that Narendra Modi led BJP may establish a government at the Centre.

However, he comes with his own set of burning questions. Can he be trusted? Will he take care of the minorities? Is he a monster? Can he be impartial? As much as I know, there is nothing to be scared of him. He has been investigated by SIT appointed by Supreme Court of India and has been found innocent of any wrongdoing. The claims of rioters carrying ballot paper information with precise details of Muslims gives a very thick plot to write a Satan Bourne story on him but every tragedy has a set of conspiracy theories. Now, investigations into political offices are often toothless, so I cannot really comment on the credibitlity of the SIT report. However, a team appointed by court has to report directly to the court and given the fact the Modi’s biggest haters, Congress, have held the government for last 10 years and the SIT hasn’t been able to prove anything incriminating about Modi, makes him the head that must be sacked after a disaster. As the history goes, Modi did resign from the post of CM, and he came back to power in the elections that ensued.

The only significant thing from the above paragraph to the topic in hand is that there are a lot of assumptions about Modi. I want to digress for a moment and clarify that I am not belittling the deaths of people in Gujarat and its really sad that people in 21st century want to be dumb enough to consider religion as a reason for fighting. Religion as a philosophy can provide a meaning and ideals to living a life. But it doesn’t give any meaning to life to every normal human being, but even the underprivileged ones get a reason to feel fundamentally different from someone of other religion to take up arms against each other. But then, that debate is for some other day. There were a lot of innocents who lost their lives in those riots. I hope that such a tragedy never happens because God knows that with insurgents inside the country and terrorists on the borders, we have enough ways of dying as innocents. Coming back to Modi’s situation, there are a large number of assumptions around Modi and one should try to look at the facts. Opposition parties potray him nothing short of harbinger of death, some people inside BJP probably hate him for scaling the ranks so quick and eliminating so many other aspirants of the top job. Nitish Kumar might have severed the ties with BJP over ego instead of claims over Modi’s secular credentials which Modi lost in the midst of all the investigations. Most of it is the result of slow and gradual building of stories about him. The veracity can be doubted and I hope that Modi haters would agree to me that there is no conclusive proof to show that he is a harbinger of death. Many politicians inside a major party would agree to policies made by someone at the top, and some would disagree, but that wouldn’t make the policy a divisive one. In politics, politicians strive only to remain in power, and policies may or may not help that goal, but in the name of greater good, things must move on.

Is Narendra Modi the name for India and BJP to move on? Now, this one is a real question. I think to obtain an answer here one must look to answer various subquestions which can be answered with FACTS instead of assumptions. Can he lead a government? I say, yes he can. He has done that for more than 3500 days in Gujarat and it has delivered a success story better than many other states. There have been numerous reports in the media about RSS calling the shots in the BJP, but he did work against the RSS mandate of anti globalisation policies. He has been a proponent of Gujarat’s development more than making ties with RSS or VHP to the point that he had 200 illegal temples in Gujarat demolished.  The irrigation development in Gujarat which increased the agricultural productivity also answers the question if he can lead development. The growth rate in 2001-2010 decade was 10.97% compounded annually which mathematically yields to an increase of almost 283% from 2001 levels. He embraces technology, he promotes technology oriented projects (solar power, wind power) and that has reflected in the growth of cities in Gujarat leading to Ahmedabad becoming one of the most sought after destinations in India.

Can he be trusted as benefactor to all? This question has a sketchy answer. He carried out the Sadbhavna Mission but refused to be presented with a scarf around his shoulders by a Muslim leader. He took his own team to Uttarakhand recently to rescue the stranded Gujaratis. Some Bengalis too were rescued by him as I have heard. He is part of BJP where RSS is allegedly the glue, and RSS is into development of Hinduism primarily. So, there is no clear answer in facts that he can be a benefactor to all. In Uttarakhand, it is alleged that he saw a political opportunity to rescue the people of his state and come out as benefactor. Or he had a noble heart as BJP would claim. Either way, he was decisive and quick enough to see an opportunity to do something good. Just the way he was been decisive about developing Gujarat, he showed his quick decision making skills and the alacrity in his organisation to make things happen. I wouldn’t hazard on saying anything more as the issue is contentious, but apart from the lives saved, I see his quick decision making ability as the only genuine silver lining in the attempt to rescue them.

If he comes to power, can he be trusted to replicate the same success story of Gujarat to rest of India? I say no. In fact nobody can do it in the coalition setup. It will need a group of extremely dedicated and loyal base for his policies to take effect. Apart from that, one cannot clean up the huge economic problems of India overnight. Mamta Banerjee, however reckless in her words, is ruling a state which is practically an economical disaster. Economic problems do not go away in a short frame of time and it will be a lot of years before the levels of prices etc. similar to 2000-04 would be seen in Indian economy. But I think he will try, and I say that because I think he is passionate about development led politics. His success or failure would depend upon how the policies are executed and the underlying machinery (bureaucracy/ corruption) but that is the story of almost every government. So, in case you want to vote BJP into power, I think Naredra Modi is a good enough reason because of his work in Gujarat.

Last question is very easy to answer. Does India need a break from UPA? With economy in shambles and the string of scams, I guess this question is a no brainer. I would prefer AAP to be a very important part of the government but BJP is the largest party to be able to take on Congress and I don’t see any harm in most successful leader of BJP leading the party from the front.

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