The 2014 Elections India
India elections 2014
Come 2014, we will have our next Lok Sabha polls after being under the Manmohan Singh led UPA for two consecutive terms.
A third term looks highly unlikely for the UPA. Seen as a corrupt government with no real leaders, it has a tough task in hand if it wants to win the elections.
NDA – Being the Opposition party is the easier task. No one remembers the failures of the previous NDA regime now, an automatic advantage. But they still have a hard task at hand.
UPA : The present government has failed in numerous ways. The single most important factor in these elections will the 2G scam. Though A.Raja plead guilty (coerced?) for his role in the scam, the spotlight was on the government for a long time until Raja was arrested. The finance minister P.Chidambaram’s involvement in the scam was also under question – even if it was only indirect and marginal, any role of PC (failure to stop the 2G auction) meant a direct implication of the Congress government in the 2G scam. It took too long to distance itself from the DMK once A.Raja was proved guilty – another mistake from the UPA government.
CAG estimate : Kapil Sibal’s argument on there being no such thing as a presumptive loss and that the CAG’s estimate of 1.76 lakh crores was based on loosely founded. Whether or not his argument was valid; it, to an extent did manage to control the damage. This should have been done much earlier. A stitch in time could have saved nine!
Besides the Adarsh and the Commonwealth scam have dented the UPA government’s image.
Apart from the scams, the UPA government has come under severe criticism for failing to reign in price rise and bring the economy back on track. Even though the recent economic survey claims that India is quite on its way to being economically strong, an overall growth rate of 5.3 for the year is way below that of previous years. Criticized of policy paralysis, the government led by a weak Minoan Singh has failed to take bold measures to stabilize the economy. The Dollar : Rupee ratio is at its worst. Millions of dollars still remain hidden as black money in Swiss bank accounts. The UPA also failed to bring a strong Lokpal Bill and empower the state Lokayukthas. All these failures have made the UPA look like an inefficient and corrupt government led by a timid PM.
NDA : No doubt the BJP gained a lot of political mileage from the 2G scams, but it was Anna Hazare who stole the thunder. The BJP probably underestimated the plans of the ex freedom fighter. Just dishing out attacking press releases wasn’t enough. It never got down to actual business. On the other hand Anna Hazare organized protests against corruption and projected himself as the torch bearer of righteousness. Hence the anti UPA sentiment shifted towards Anna Hazare than towards the BJP.
PM candidates :
1) The Congress is on the back foot here : The first name which comes to mind is of Rahul Gandhi (and thats how they have projected it!). Manmohan Singh is unlikely for a third term and Pranab Mukherjee, who could have been a strong PM candidate is now the President. This leaves Rahul Gandhi as the obvious choice.
RG’s strategies have failed multiple times – first in the UP elections where he was the chief campaigner for the Congress and in Bihar where his presence didn’t make a difference. Some one who hasn’t figured out state politics is unlikely to make a good PM and govern a billion people efficiently. Even ignoring those facts, RG hasn’t been in any ministerial post so far and hence could take some years to figure out how things work.
Another problem is that of RG’s image. So far he has been kept out of most tough situations. Every time the government has failed or a scam has broken out, senior congress leaders have taken the blame and addressed the media. RG has never fought a real battle yet. He is a very safe leader – not a bold and responsible one.
Way forward : What the Congress should do is to give RG a bigger post than the Youth Congress head and get their senior leaders to rally around him – thereby creating some belief that he is a serious candidate. Further, RG needs to step out of his comfort zone and get down to raw politics. He should begin taking up responsibilities for things his party does and shed his ‘childish’ image.
2) BJP has a problem of many. Narendra Modi, Sushma Swaraj and Nitish Kumar – all have a good national outlook and are capable candidates for the top post.
Sushma Swaraj has so long been seen as an able leader of opposition and is said to have the ability, but the more charismatic image of Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi would tempt the BJP to not field Sushma.
Nitish Kumar has been doing a lot of great things for Bihar and has put them back on the track of development. He is seen as an able administrator and a secular person. He has a very clean image and could serve the NDA’s prospects well. But choosing Nitish over Narendra Modi could be suicidal for the NDA ( even if Modi agrees to support Nitish’ candidature – which is unlikely to take place).
BJP’s right wing – RSS strongly advocates for Modi – the PM. They see him as a very bold and dynamic leader, an icon for the masses (pretty much like how Indira Gandhi was during her time).
Modi’s track record speaks for himself – ‘His’ Gujarat is currently the best state in the nation on most counts – Development index being the most important one. His capabilities have been hailed by global institutions. No one doubts Modi’s capacity as a leader, but it’s his non-secular image which might be a problem for the BJP ( Or has it been vengefully projected like that by the Congress? ). The Godhra riots and his supposed anti Muslim stand might discourage the BJP from choosing him.
Way forward : Consensus for Modi as BJP’s candidate is fast emerging. He is the man of the moment. Its either now or never for him. One possible solution is to get Nitish Kumar and Sushma Swaraj support Modi’s candidature – If that happens, Modi’s victory will be hard to beat.
Public Pulse :
If online polls are anything to go by, Narendra Modi vs Rahul Gandhi is the most widely discussed faceoff. And Narendra Modi wins hands down ( 65% of the votes ). Man to Man, RG wouldnt be any competition, but if its Sushma Swaraj or Nitish Kumar, then the ‘Yuvraaj’ can wear his hopes on his sleeve!!!
1. 2g scam : 1.76 lakh crore
2. commonwealth scam : 70000 crore
3. anthrixdevas scam : 10000 crore
4. telgi scam : 20000crore
5. satyam scam : 14000 crore
6. fodder scam : 900 crore
7. harshad mehta scam : 4000 crore
8. ketan parekh stock market scam : 1000 crore
9. bofors scam : 16 million dollars
10. hawala scandal : 18 million dollars
12. Aadarsh scam