BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has emerged as the clear frontrunner in the 2014 general elections. A look at his strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats...
Strengths: Currently Modi's biggest strength is his popularity. He's probably India's most popular leader in decades. There is definitely a Modi wave in the country and he has used it well so far at least. All that remains to be seen is how this translates into Lok Sabha seats in the coming general elections.
His second strength is his oratorical skills. The Sonia Gandhi-Manmohan Singh duo will probably be judged as some of the worst orators in India's history, but they are exceptions to the rule.
The truth is that excellent orators like Barack Obama can come from any situation and win elections. That is the single biggest reason why Modi's appeal has been consistently rising for the past couple of years. He has won over both the people and party workers on that count.
Next are his governance and administrative skills. Modi has been Chief Minister of Gujarat and has much to show for it. There have been major road and power reforms and there has been a great buzz around the Gujarat industry.
That’s another reason why Modi is taken so seriously. He keeps giving actual examples from post-2002 Gujarat during his rallies and industry speeches.
Modi has been called a polarizing figure, but that is definitely not so when it comes to rival political parties. Nobody expected so many parties to come into the NDA fold before the elections.
His efforts have yielded 5 small parties in Tamil Nadu and even something like an RPI faction in Maharashtra. In Seemandhra-Telangana all the major parties are open to working with him and he even received praise from NC and NCP leaders.
He is also a master strategist and has panned out his Gujarat vision and his personal national ambition with a combination of acumen and marketing.
Finally, he is a decisive leader. He offers a clear and strong leadership style and such leaders usually bring about a change and are extremely successful. That is his biggest strength and he has leveraged it well so far.
Weaknesses: Godhra will also remain a question mark on his career and some people will always ask whether he had a hand in the riots or not. A majority of the minorities and a minority of the majority will never accept him as their leader.
While India strongly believes in consensus, Modi totally brushes this aside and has crushed all opposition in the State. How this side of his personality will pan out at the national level remains to be seen.
At times also he tends to get overconfident and so far he has succeeded with this, but he may be severely tested if the BJP falls way short of a comfortable amount of Lok Sabha seats in the next elections.
Opportunities: There are plenty. The nation is in a shambles and the country is totally fed up of Congress rules with its scams and misgovernance. So far whatever opportunities have come his way, he has grabbed with both hands.
He worked his way to the CM's chair and went all out after that. He literally grabbed the choice of PM candidate and maximized his opportunities via social media and election speeches.
Threats: His biggest threat will come from the BJP leadership should the party fall short on the LS tally. They will try their best to finish him off at the national level if that happens.
If he becomes PM, then his biggest threat is the huge amount of expectations that have been built around him. The nation is also facing huge problems in the economic scene, external security, defence preparedness etc and Modi is in danger of being swamped by all of these should he become PM.
Finally there is the issue of the VHP-RSS. So far Modi has been pushing his development model strongly. What would happen if the VHP-RSS would want to push a hardline Hindutva model on the country?
How would Modi take that? While that had taken a backseat in Gujarat, Modi's background is that of a hardliner and that may embolden the Sangh Parviar to get really busy all across the country.
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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogshere.