THE BATTLE ROYALE - THE 2019 POLLS AND A PEEP INTO OUR PMs AND THEIR VULNERABLITIES
2014 has seen India emerge stronger democratically, on two counts. The first positive was that for the third time post independence, a Prime Minister was not hoisted upon India, either by virtue of his being the member of a political family or his being a compromise candidate on behalf of feuding, selfish political leaders of various hues and of political parties who did not have pan-India appeal. The only other two leaders of integrity and huge experience who made to the coveted post were Mr. P.V.Narasimha Rao and Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In the case of both, though, polls were not fought with the two leaders as PM face. PVNR catapulted to the post by his sheer political acumen whereas Vajpayee made grade despite other aspirants like L.K.Advani being in contention. So. we can say that Modi was the first statesman to win the confidence of the voters in 2014.
Let us take detour of India under various PMs since Independence..
Jawarlal Nehru - Foisted on us by the selfishness of Gandhi and his cronies in the Congress. He proved to be a log term disaster for Indian economy, culture, politics and foreign policy. Nothing he did help India to grow. In fact, it sank below dignity.
Lalbahadur Sastry: With due respects to him, he was a compromise candidate, to fill the gap until Indira got ready. But, he did not compromise on governance or values. His short stint as PM has been great relief to the nation that was ruined by the Nehru legacy. Unfortunately he had to meet a sudden and mysterious death in the Soviet Union, with whom Congress leadership was maintaining close relations.
Indira Gandhi: Indira, according political pundits, did not become PM because she was the daughter of Jawaharlal but because a foxy group of Senior leaders (who could never be PM) misread her capability and foisted her into the seat with a view of playing the behind-the-scenes power games. This group was pet-named as "SYNDICATE". Mr. Kuldip Narir in his book "Between the Lines" variously described all the drama that played out before Indira was forcibly made PM. But Indira proved a disaster not only to them but to the nation as a whole. But some bold decisions made by her will go down the history as monumental. In 1977, she committed political suicide by her thoughtless action in 1975. But she rose like phoenix from the ashes of all those who wanted her end.
Morarjee Desai: Dignified politician. But he was a failure. A compromise candidate. Too ambitious to be PM. What can we say? He did nothing.
Charan Singh: He thought PM post was his birth right. He compromised all values to be PM. Did not face Parliament. Stepped down. That was the only good he did to the nation.
Indira Gandhi: Again till she was assassinated. She was a changed, mellowed persona. But her thoughtless actions like Operation Blue Star, saw her end.
Rajiv Gandhi: Lifted to the position of PM, like a kid refusing to join school. He opened the locks of Ayodhya. Reversed Shah Bano Judgment by passing a draconian law. It is haunting women of one community still. IPKF was his biggest blunder like Bluestar was by Indira. IPKF faux pas consumed him.
VP Singh: Compromise candidate.A mature politician. Royal blood. He opened a Pandora's Box in Indian Politics by implementing Mandal. It divided the nation into fragments. The wounds are incurable. Beyond that he did nothing good.
Chandrasekhar: Too ambitious. Thought PM post was his birth right.His short tenure as PM made India bankrupt that we had to pledge gold in the UK. He did nothing to really govern.
PV Narasimharao: The only deserving candidate to have become PM beating the dynasty at its own game. Had distinction of leading a minority government for five yeas. In the process he compromised political values by bribing MPs. Oversaw the demolition of Babri, thinking it was a political master stroke. It pushed BJP back by 10 years but it also pushed BJP forward by fifty years a time passed by. He was the most ill-treated PM by the Congress. He was said to be the architect of reforms. With due credit to him and his FM, reforms were inevitable given the whole world changed during his tenure. I feel any PM would have undertaken reforms to save our economy and align us with the world. Personally, I do not give him or his FM any credit in this regard.
Deve Gowda: The compromise candidate. He was made PM to win over farmers. But while farmers were sweating in their fields, he was napping. The sleeping beauty with a bald head, he sent the nation into coma.
IK Gujral: I still wonder how he he became a PM. He is another compromise candidate, on whose head the revolving crown that hurt the head was placed. What did he do? A million dollar question.
AB Vajpayee: A statesman, an orator, an incorruptible politician, a humorist, a poet and above all a good administrator. Carrying with him vast political experience, he was the first PM from opposition to complete five years in office. He brought many radical changes in governance and administration. He concentrated on infra development as he believed that infra only helps growth. He kept Pakistan under the leash. Victory in Kargil war was a feather in his cap. He believed in soft aggression.
Dr. Manmohan Singh: The funniest incident in the Indian political history is this man becoming PM. He was anointed to the seat by Sonia, just as the Syndicate anointed her mother-in-law. The only difference was Indira came out of the shadows of Syndicate in no time, and this man went further and further deep into the shadow of Sonia that today we can neither see him nor hear him. First five years he spent driving between his residence and 10, Janpath. The next five years, he was helping all UPA leaders amass money in various scams. He has been a curse on the nation sent by the Satan. A forgettable decade.
Narendra Modi: A PM elected by the people with huge mandate. He did not have a family dynasty to support him. He came from a humble background. He had vast experience, that too very good experience, a very successful experience, as a CM. Further in the blog his performance as PM and its possible effect on the 2019 polls.
The second positive was that after three decades voters gave a full mandate to Modi, BJP and NDA to rule for the next five years. This was, by no means, a mean achievement. The charisma of Modi added with the repulsion to Manmohan Siingh, made this possible. This feat changed the landscape of Indian politics, which, since 1989 was being driven by regional parties with no definite agenda to govern India as a unit. After the end of the Indira era, India again slipped back to the 18th or 19th Century, where rulers holding small land mass were ruling over the people in that land declaring themselves as Kings and Princes. India or Bharat, a concept that existed for as long as culture thrived in the universe was given a sore go-by, by these regional satraps. We lost valuable time of around twenty five years, but for occasional glimmers of hope or silver linings in dark clouds.
From where shall we go from here? Did India learn a lesson that a single party ruling India would be for their good? If so, who is the best placed to win 2019, with this logic that could be sold by the national parties? There are at the best two national parties now. If the opposition instead, again attempt a loose conglomeration with no face to be PM, what will be the strategy of BJP? Will Congress fall into the trap of the regional players and lose its national stature forever and ever, just as the Communists were reduced to scrap? This and what a second and third term to Modi will be like for India in the coming blogs.