That we have the vote means nothing. That we use it in the right way means everything.
- Lou Henry Hoover
The elections in India are round the corner. Wherever you go, whether on the streets or at home when you switch on the TV or on social media, you can’t escape the ubiquitous propaganda by various political parties. Election times are like falling in love! At least that is what it seems for some of the supporters that I have seen. Having a hard time believing this? Well, here’s how: While in love, you put your beloved on a pedestal. You are not willing to listen to anything or anybody that makes him a mere mortal, not a God. You daydream about that person fulfilling your dreams, your desires. You feel that the panacea for all your ills, for all your afflictions – lies only with your beloved.
But….Love is Blind. And one can not afford to be blind when it is the solemn question of governance of a country, one as diverse as and with so many complicated issues as India. One has to analyze things and not become just emotional. I was trying to find a link that would analyze the plus and minus points of the PM candidates of each of the major groups, but couldn’t find this. That’s when I decided to make my own list. You know, the kinds of lists that we make while making a major investment, or major decisions like switching of jobs, moving to a new house or changing one’s kid’s school.
Now you may ask: why am I so interested in Indian elections while being on the other side of the globe? Well, please read up the About page of this blog if you haven’t already. You’ll get your answer :-) One more thing. An important term or concept that you should be aware of : Depending on which side of the political spectrum one belongs to; DOWS OTPS OBT in short. Nobody knows the truth absolutely, what we see and get closest to is the Perceived truth and that is colored by a lot of factors including our own experiences, political or ideological leanings, friends, family and so on. So one person’s truth is another’s myth. With no further ado, here we go:
Rahul Gandhi (INC):
- Commands the whole-hearted support of party-workers
- Has age on his side
- Can take decisions that benefit the country as seen occasionally such as in the convicted lawmakers ordinance case
- Seen as the face of a party and a family that is neck deep in corruption, DOWS OTPS OBT
- Inexperienced in administration
- Vague, confused utterances on policy matters
- Seen as lacking a coherent vision for the country – either short term or long term, DOWS OTPS OBT
- Perceived as honest, educated and having his heart at the right place
- Seen as the face of a common man who is tired of the system and has the courage to change it from within
- Good ideas such as decentralization of power, time-bound delivery of services, police/judicial/land reforms
- Commands the allegiance of party-workers
- Has age on his side
- Has charisma and ideology to attract eminent personalities from different fields to the party.
- Seen as the face of a party that is good for protests, not yet for governance, DOWS OTPS OBT
- Inexperienced team players
- Not enough information on policies concerning economy, national security, energy
- Resorted to populist socialist measures during the brief tenure at Delhi
- Made U-turns on several issues, giving an image of not being decisive or clear enough.
- Perceived as a decisive and assertive leader
- Proved fairly well his administrative skills in Gujarat for 4 terms as evidenced by growth in industry, energy, infrastructure, IT, agriculture (Contrast this with the numerous wasted terms by the Left in West Bengal)
- Good strategist
- Has a vision for the country – well articulated through blogs, speeches, social media
- Good ideas such as – ‘Minimum Government Maximum Governance’, ‘India first’, 5 Ts (Talent, Tradition, Tourism, Trade, Technology) , Surajya is my birthright, P2G2 (Proactive Pro-people Good Governance)
- Humble origins; has worked his way through the ranks
- Seen as a polarizing and communal figure, DOWS OTPS OBT
- Belongs to a party infamous for internal politics; not clear how much goodwill he has within the party
- Seen as an authoritarian leader, DOWS OTPS OBT
- Will have major difficulty getting support if/when the NDA fails to get majority
May the best man, i.e. best for the country at this juncture, win!