- Posted March 13, 2014 by
Indian Political Leaders or Cartoon Characters.
Everyone I meet these days tells me I am on the wrong side, backing the wrong horse. Narendra Modi is a sure shot winner and the next Prime Minister. It takes me a while to convince them I am not on the wrong side. In fact, I am on no one’s side. I enjoy riling them all.
Probably I am less critical of the smaller parties. But that’s because one expects less from them. Having said that, I quite like what Nitish Kumar has done in Bihar. I find Naveen Patnaik quite charming if not terribly competent. He has tried to change Orissa is his own way.
Jayalalitha is not my idea of a great leader. A large leader perhaps and I like her charming convent school accent. But that’s about it. Mamata bewilders me. I like the fact that she has displaced the Communists but, like most people who love Bengal, I am not convinced about the way she runs it. Jailing cartoonists, politicising rape, threatening entire villages, and fielding out of work movie stars for parliament is not my idea of taking Bengal ahead. Anna may think otherwise. But then Anna also recommends that alcoholics be tied to trees and flogged. As for Mayavati and Mulayam Singh, the less said the better.
Have I covered all the others who want to be PM? The answer is no. If sleepyhead Deve Gowda and good-for-nothing Gujral can be Prime Ministers, who am I to count anyone out? There’s Sharad Pawar waiting in the wings. There’s Chandrababu Naidu. There’s Jagan Reddy, the new star of the South. Some say Manohar Parikkar and Shivraj Chauhan could make fine PMs but then there’s no vacancy in the BJP. At least not till the voting’s over.
Is there anyone in the Congress who can make a good PM? No one comes to mind apart from the former Congressman who now resides in Rashtrapati Bhavan. The rest are all supplicants to a God that failed. Rahul is undoubtedly heroic. But even his most ardent supporters know he has been set up to fail. Like Sisyphus, he tries to roll the huge boulder up every hill, knowing it will roll down the moment he leaves. No,his is not the job I envy.
Some on twitter call me an Arvind Kejriwal critic. Perhaps I am. I have not seen many people come from nowhere and put together an election fighting machine, like he has done in such a short time. I like that. I also like the fact that he has focussed single-mindedly on fighting corruption. I am curious to see what he does next. If that makes me a fan, so be it.
Why can’t the Congress or the BJP do something about corruption? Ofcourse they can. But they won’t. The status quo suits them both. The Congress has unabashedly brought the nation to this sorry pass. And yet they are eager to field some of the old rascals again. And, incredible as it may sound, they want us to vote for them too, even though these are the very people who have destroyed the party and its credibility. This must be some desperation. Or is it that no one who has a reputation to protect wants to stand for the Congress?
No, that can’t be true. As in every party, the Congress has some good people too and some truly horrid ones. But the horrid ones seem to be impossible to dislodge. If they are lucky, the good ones may still win a few seats for them. I hope they do. Every democracy deserves a strong Opposition.
And what about Modi, the overwhelming favourite as far as betting odds go? Well, one thing is sure: Modi’s victory will kill the sense of despondency that has gripped the nation, the feeling that nothing can ever get better. This is good. It’s good for India. Good for you, me, the stock market. It’s good for industrialists, and you know why.
But, for most Indians, it’s not about Modi or his Gujarat model. It’s not about good governance either. It’s not about the BJP. The difference between the Congress and the BJP is as imaginary as the roc bird that Sinbad saw on his fifth voyage. It’s about change. Everyone, but particularly the young, are anxious for change. That’s clear. And Modi has seized that advantage. Good, bad, or whatever you imagine him to be, he has now positioned himself as the face of change.
Is he good for India? In the short run, perhaps. Everything will be up and running. In the long run, who knows? And do we really care? The first task is to clean our wounds. Actual healing may take a while.
I trust our politicians as much as I trust cartoon characters. Yes, you could say I am kyrofelonoshophobia. Is there a problem with that?