Clamour for Modi as prime ministerial candidate
There is clamour in the Gujarat BJP to project Narendra Modi as a prime ministerial candidate after his third consecutive win the Assembly elections.
Party leaders say his win is a result of his “good governance” and “development-oriented” politics. The logic of “Modi-for-PM players” is that Modi, in a short span of two terms, has been able to carve a national, pan-India image - both for himself and the state - in a manner that no other political leader has been able to do so far.
“The biggest message that Modi has delivered in this election is that the image of good governance and development-oriented politics, which he has consciously sought to create, is in total sync with his ground-level work. It’s this alone that has created this buzz around Brand Modi and Brand Gujarat. How else would you explain other three-term chief ministers like Sheila Dikshit and Navin Patnaik whose respective messages have not transcended the boundaries of their states,” asks a pro-Modi leader in the party.
The leader applies the same logic to BJP leaders like Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan who may similarly be re-elected for the third time next year and may be considered in the big league “but not in the league of Modi just yet”.
Another Modi supporter points out that the statesman-like victory speech, delivered in Hindi, in which he said that India was yearning for politics of good governance and development.
“They used to say good economics doesn’t make good politics - in Gujarat, people have shown what good economics and good governance can achieve,” Modi said.
BJP leaders highlighted the almost uneven contest that the state witnessed in urban and semi-urban seats, where the message of the good governance and development has percolated down to the grassroots.
The implicit message was that the BJP would get a huge boost in urban and semi-urban constituencies, were Modi to be in the driving seat for the next General Elections. Modi, inarguably, is the biggest crowd puller among the BJP leaders. His metamorphosis from a Hindutva icon to a “Vikas Purush” may have been complete with the 2012 election where the entire political discourse in the state was centred on development alone. The going for Modi may not be easy, though.
For one, ally JD (U) continues to harbour deep apprehensions about Modi, but some in the BJP counter that if the party manages to win around 180 seats, allies would flock to the party on their own.