At about 3:20 AM in the wee hours of Sunday Morning I along with many Indians in the US and around the world were rejoicing. Was it a cricket match, Olympics, etc.? No, nothing of that sort, instead the jubilation was because Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) had finally made the announcement that a lot of people were waiting for. It made Narendrabhai Damodardas Modi as the Chief of the campaign committee for the 2014 general election.
The reactions were immediate and as expected extreme. The media went into frenzy and tried to play on a rift between the top leaders of the BJP and the social media also acknowledged the rise of the man who could potentially be the prime minister of India. But why was there so much celebration and cheering at the appointment of Mr. Modi at this post, after all the previous campaign committee chiefs hadn’t come close to becoming the PM.
It was significant because here was a man, hounded by the media for 11 years in spite of a mandate by the people of his state, finally at a position which he richly deserved.
It was significant because it gave HOPE to the people of India that after the gloom here was a decisive leader who can lead them out of the darkness.
It was significant because for the first time in the history of modern India did a party democratically choose a leader purely on the wishes of its cadre and the voting public in spite of hostility from within.
It was significant because the son of a small tea vendor will be leading the charge against the government and that gives Indians hope that to enter politics and serve the country, you can be born in a small family and rise to the top.
And it was significant because now Modi would be projected as the face of the party unlike the others who weren’t in 2004 and 2009.
Would this change India? Does this mean that the BJP will easily form the government in 2014? absolutely not! The BJP looks like it will easily become the single largest party but to cross that magic figure of 272 it will need 180+ seats. Narendra Modi with an alternative vision and a record of governance behind him is the best leader to lead the BJP and enthuse its cadre. Thus the decision made was a significant one in the Indian political history. For the first time there will be a leader who is democratically elevated in a primary phenomenon.
One interesting thing that I noticed during the coverage of the Modi elevation was the sudden sympathy that the pathological haters of the BJP now have with Lal Krishna Advani. It was no secret that Mr.Advani was against the anointment of Mr. Modi at this event. But the way it was being played out in the media was laughable.
I welcome that L K Advani gave his point of view and it was taken into cognizance by the party and eventually they elected their most popular leader. That is how political parties in India should function and a divergence in views within a party should be discussed and not strangulated by imposing one leader who is born in a particular family. The media, especially Rajdeep Sardesai and his channel took the line that was it ideology versus personality. This was an uninformed, biased and an absolutely ridiculous line of argument.
Agreed that Modi has a larger than life persona but to suggest that he is not following the ‘ideology’ and Advani is makes it laughable. In Narendra Modi happens to be one of the only Chief Ministers in India who has a center right viewpoint and has a vision opposite to that of Congress. He has stated his position on the economy, social sector schemes, growth, defense, development on a number of occasions. He has shown that vision and implemented it in Gujarat and has proposed to do the same in the country.
So to say that he doesn’t follow any ideology is fallacious. In fact it is the congress which has lost direction and the only ideology it follows is votes and notes. Wherever it thinks that it can gain votes or money they do not hesitate in switching sides.
Coming back to the original point, what motivates a 24 year old like me to stay up at night and watch the proceedings from 10000 miles away? It’s that same four letter word, HOPE. Here is one leader who motivates the youth to work towards their future by working for the country. His leadership is motivating people to come from other countries back to India. Is he the only one responsible for these changes? no, certainly not, he has a great team which works along with him to make this happen.
But a good team needs a great leader who has a vision and can motivate them to maximize their potential. I believe that time has come that India accepts this leader and embraces this phenomenon. Come 2014, it will be the year of hope, the year of the youth and the year of the Indian who made it happen and got a leader who inspires them at the center. The road is tough and it’s not going to be an easy task but as Modi himself said, ” Mana Ki Andhera Ghana Hai, Par Diya Jalana Kaha Mana Hai”