2009 was the year of (Manmohan) Singh is King. 2011 belonged to Anna Hazare. 2013 undoubtedly has to be the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s year. He has been notching up one victory after another…
1. Nomination as PM candidate: It seems a very long time ago that all his critics grandly declared that the BJP would never dare to anoint Modi as their Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
But one has to commend the BJP for going ahead and taking that gamble. His critics desperately held on to party patriarch LK Advani to stymie Modi but that never happened. The result is that the BJP is forging ahead confidently.
2. Undisputed choice: After that critics continued to prop up Advani and other dark horses like Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. But there is no No. 2. Modi is the undisputed choice for PM. Everyone has accepted him quietly.
In 2014 BJP may fall short of 180 and other allies may push for someone else but that is far away. Today there is no thinking beyond Modi.
3. Media coverage: The mainstream media had been going hammer and tongs after Modi since Godhra in 2002. But since 2011, the tide has been slowly turning. You could say that in 2013 the media in general and TV channels in particular could talk of nothing but Modi.
His opposition is feeling the pinch. Till now they were happy with all the Modi bashing that was going on, but suddenly they find all this “undue publicity”. Either way Modi has emerged as the clear winner.
4. Rallies: The year has also been a tale of Modi rallies all across India. His critics questioned his popularity outside Gujarat. But his rallies were big hits all across North India. They questioned his appeal in South India.
But Hyderabad, Trichy and Bangalore saw packed houses. While sparse crowds were walking out of the rallies of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, they were paying and anxious to enter those held by Modi.
5. Opinion polls: Most opinion polls all across India are showing Modi as the clear choice for PM and the BJP being the preferred party. While the polls are not showing the BJP crossing 200 in the Lok Sabha yet, with this momentum it could be achieved in the next six months.
Even industry leaders are rooting for Modi and again there is no No. 2 closing in and Modi is the undisputed choice for the PM in 2014.
6. Opposition disarray: The Opposition just does not know what to do with Modi. The Congress is in total disarray. Rahul looks more and more like his social media nickname Pappu with each passing day. The Third Front parties that got together recently looked more like caricatures than a serious meeting.
Call it Modiphobia or Modiitis or whatever, but all strategies revolve around Modi and that has only strengthened him.
7. Independence Day speech: Usually the Prime Minister’s speech at Red Fort is the highlight of this day. This time Modi challenged Manmohan Singh and everyone waited for his speech after the PM’s one.
All the channels telecast it and one could say that Modi won hands down. So much so that the I&B Ministry objected and sent a letter to news channels threatening that the plug could be pulled for such acts!
8. International image: The world is also warming up to Modi. Foreign news reports are looking forward to him coming to power and the British House of Commons invited him to be a speaker.
9. Assembly polls: The icing on the cake was the results of the Assembly polls. Four-fifths majority in Rajasthan. Two-thirds majority in Madhya Pradesh. Simple majority in Chhattisgarh. The single largest party in Delhi. That’s a clear 4-0.
And still the baiters continue saying that there is no Modi wave! If that’s the case then they’ll continue to be in denial till 2014.
In 2009, Modi national ambitions seemed finished. In 2010, he was nowhere in the reckoning. In 2011, people started whispering about his chances. In 2012 he won a hat-trick and took centre stage.
In 2013 he became a PM candidate and contender. So will he become PM in 2014? That’s the current crore Rupee question!
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