What we need to look at
There has been a certain inevitability to Narendra Modi's rise as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Over the past two to three years, the noise his supporters - old and new - have created in the media; the sophistication of his public-relations machinery; and the decrepitude of his party's establishment in Delhi have all combined to ensure that, for many BJP workers, there seemed to be no alternative to Mr Modi.
In choosing Modi over the clear wishes of some other senior leaders, the BJP has therefore done well - after all, a crucial part of the difference between it and the post-Indira Congress is that it has been more committed to internal democracy.
Let us, for a moment, take one crucial claim made by Modi's many defenders, both fanatical and supposedly neutral, at face value: that we should not consider the riots he unapologetically presided over in 2002 as relevant to his candidacy for prime minister.
There are various reasons given for this, all self-serving, blind or hypocritical to one degree or another; but Modi himself has made few of them.
He instead carefully sidestepped his record in 2002 when speaking outside Gujarat, and tried to reinvent himself as a messiah of "governance", a word as rritatingly meaningless as "terror".
So let's look at exactly what that means.
And, in doing so, let us not be sidetracked with questions of how much he is responsible for Gujarat's undoubtedly excellent performance on many, but not all, major parameters of economic growth and development.
What we need to investigate is not just what has been done in Gujarat, but what he has said about more national economic issues.
Text: Mihir Sharma, Business Standard
Cartoon: Satish Acharya