Spiga

To be a Prime Minister

Mayawati, Ram Vilas Paswan and Narendra Modi fail on many counts

With Lok Sabha polls less than a couple of months away, most newspapers and magazines will begin the usual in-depth analysis of Prime Ministerial candidates of various parties and coalitions. But what seems certain at this point in time is that a fractured coalition is but an inevitability. No party has a share of majority seats. No party can survive without forging together regional parties. Pre-poll alliances are, hence, likely to play a crucial role in the run up to Elections 2009. But the interest here lies purely on the Prime Ministerial candidates offered by various parties, or at least the ones doing the rounds in the media.

One of the most talked about candidates is actually non-BJP, non-Congress - Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati. Mayawati, according to a few estimates, could take advantage of the fractured coalitions of the NDA and the UPA. Now the only basis on which Mayawati is being praised as a beacon of hope is because she is a Dalit. A product of the ‘real’ India. A voice for the oppressed. Not withstanding her contributions in giving the Dalit India a voice, she has so far proved to be a very average administrator as Uttar Pradesh remains one of the most backward states of India. Her record in corruption and involvement in dubious murder cases (like the recent one of a BSP MLA) would also add to the taint on the PM’s chair.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav has given his backing to Ram Vilas Paswan of the LJP, because Lalu also wants to see a Dalit become the Prime Minister. Now being a Dalit has nothing to do with Prime Ministership simply because the focus would overtly be on the symbolic identity of the person and not on issues of governance. If Paswan or Mayawati are potential candidates, then the Indian voter should be anxious about what value they can add to the Prime Minister’s post rather than focus on the point that even India can be an America, where a black Barack Obama became Preisdent. Now, Barack Obama became President because he emerged from all racial divides. While Lalu stresses that he wants Paswan to be Prime Minister, simply because he is a Dalit. Since when did the Prime Minister’s post have a criteria for caste?

If Paswan proves his leadership skills and emerges above all divides, I will vote for him. If Mayawati does the same, I will vote for her. But neither have ever objectively enlightened us about their ideas for India’s progress and are instead focusing on the one aspect, that of being a Dalit, to foster their prime ministerial ambitions. The focus instead of being on good governance, bonding of stand-alone minorities with the majority and the unity of India, is rather on identity politics and the rise of leaders that represent a particular race. This would do no good to India, would it?

Even Gujarat CM Narendra Modi fails at this juncture, despite being endorsed by various corporate heads and celebrities, simply because his focus is also on region and religion. Most of his speeches play to the tune of Hindutva. And a failed ideology like Hindutva is not a trump card to being a Prime Minister. Even regarding the people, Modi’s stress on Gujarati pride will also do no good to the rest of India and the “India first, Gujarat second” Gujaratis.

Hence to all questions that ask where is India’s Barack Obama, the most un-partisan and truthful answer seems to be - “He/she’s not here just yet”.







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29 comments:

  1conoclast

Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 6:38:00 AM PST

I hope I'm the first one to comment on this one!

BRAVO!!! It takes a man of character, a man who is unafraid to stand apart, to take a stand!

Respect man!

  Indian Home Maker

Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 6:58:00 AM PST

I agree that none you have mentioned are any good :)

  Chikki

Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 9:41:00 AM PST

Nice analysis there.:)

It looks scary, we just cannot afford to have a Mayawati or Ram Vilas paswan running India, can we?

Plus, I really pray that we don't have coalition Govt at Center yet again. Much of the Govt's time and energy goes in making their coalition partners happy.

  Pangala Nagendra Rao

Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 10:51:00 AM PST

Yes, It is real facts about Indian politics. Also it is very hard to digest the truth that we haven't got Obama yet!!
But Our hope will one day generate Obama. It may be our generation which has to raise the voice for him with suffering worst governance by these corrupt politicians!! Unless we speak out and demand for what we want from politicians no one is going to deliver it.
Main thing in this regard is creating awareness among the people about how the governance should be and what are the indirect and direct problems of our nation which is causing to each one of us. Multi Party system is a big failure of our democracy and we need to rethink on this direction of reduction of parties and to have quality parties only.

  hitch writer

Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 11:20:00 AM PST

I know one thing if Mayawati becomes PM, my office colleague has promised me to jump from the top of our 4 storeyed office building.

So i hope she doesnt become and my friend survives !!!

  Trailblazer

Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 11:38:00 AM PST


@1conoclast
Thanks.

@IHM
Yes.

@Chikki
Well, your worst fears are more than likely to come true. I suggest you be prepared.

Coalitions are here to stay. Too many divisions already exist for one party to come to power.

@Pangala Nagendra Rao
Yes. Hope is all I have too, as is the theme of this blog. Good points.

@Hitch Writer
A sincere request. Please be prepared for it. And attempt to convince your friend that it is wiser to focus on other aspects of life and hence stay alive. :-)

  Solilo

Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 5:21:00 PM PST

I agree. There is no one in no party who can lead the nation. Right men in wrong party. Actually there aren't any right party.

Anyone from any party can become PM and still wouldn't make any difference because they have all bound by internal politics or dynasty.

  Solilo

Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 5:23:00 PM PST

@Chikki: coalition govt. is here to stay.

One single party rule is over because now people are divided in so many matters and one single party won't get votes appeasing any community.

  1conoclast

Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 11:36:00 PM PST

Hitch Writer,

And I have promised my friends that (God forbid!) if the day should come that durinder modi becomes **, I will, my patriotism notwithstanding, give in to the 14 year long pressure of family & friends & finally migrate to Obama or Sarkozy country!

  Kislay

Sunday, February 8, 2009 at 12:19:00 AM PST

I don't think we need an Obama . Or our own version of Obama . The next great Indian leader , whoever she or he will be , will be one a kind . Tailor made for India ,having a national identity . Why are people clamouring for an Indian Obama ? I hope there is a Great INDIAN leader around the corner .

  Sagarone

Sunday, February 8, 2009 at 12:36:00 AM PST

Is it possible that there will be a single honest person in the next parliament? All of them will have to swear by socialism, according to our constitution and the EC requirements. Whether they believe in it or not. As well as declaring that their election expenditure has not exceeded 25 lakhs, which is impossible to believe. How many of them will be able to run their households or maintain their lifestyles on an MP's pay? What starts with dishonesty will ultimately lead to corruption.

  1conoclast

Sunday, February 8, 2009 at 10:53:00 AM PST

Kislay,

Kiska hai yeh tumko intezaar, main hoon na...! :-)

Sagarone,

The cynic in me is inclined to agree with you.
But shouldn't people like Omar Abdullah who are proposing that each of his cabinet members will declare their assets every year?
Should we not derive faith from Dr. Manmohan Singh not taking a single paisa salary during his stint as FM?

  Sagarone

Monday, February 9, 2009 at 12:21:00 AM PST

@1con, does MM Singh believe in socialism? He may engage in semantics and say that his is a kind of socialism too. And does anyone believe that he or any other leader for that matter, will spend less than 25 lakhs on their campaigns? And compare the PM's salary with the private sector. Is it really worth his while? He should rather not take a salary than those peanuts.

But this is not about MM or OA. We have in place such a system that if you want to enter parliament, you have no option but to lie and misrepresent or manipulate facts. How can an honest person be found in such a parliament where the basic criteria for entry is a pliable conscience?

  Chirag

Monday, February 9, 2009 at 12:55:00 AM PST

@usual in-depth analysis of Prime Ministerial candidates
These are really funny .

@Mayawati

Dude if she became a leader of India, I will loose all the however. She's an entity which stand against all that is right. She's openly corrupt and criminal.

At This point we really miss a leader who we can be sadly, proud of.

  1conoclast

Monday, February 9, 2009 at 2:41:00 AM PST

This comment has been removed by the author.
  1conoclast

Monday, February 9, 2009 at 2:43:00 AM PST

Sagarone,

- You speak of Socialism as if it were a bad thing... Is that what you believe?

- I don't know how much Dr. Singh spent on his campaign. I don't even recall him campaigning! Unless I have that data I will not comment on it.

- But a) knowing fully well that he did not take salary in this stint as FinMin;
b) knowing fully well how wisely & frugally he spent his MPLADS funds on the development of his constituency (I can give you a link);
one can safely infer that the man must be honest.
At least the Keechad mein Kamal types? As opposed to the kamal waala Keechad! ;-) Right?

Lastly, the choice is up to us. Do we want to be cynical & believe that there are no honest leaders at all. Or whether we are optimistic. After all, there are good things in India. They must have been brought about by the efforts of some honest, patriotic, dedicated souls. Right?

  Sagarone

Monday, February 9, 2009 at 6:33:00 AM PST

@1con:
You are missing the point here:

Does MMS believe in socialism? That is what is at stake here. Not whether it is a good or bad thing.

He and every other MP had to swear their belief in Socialism, according to law, to gain entry to parliament. And it is not about being cynical but about pointing out hypocrisy and dishonesty.

As you say there are good things in India. But they are in spite of all those dishonest, unpatriotic and corrupt souls in parliament.

  1conoclast

Monday, February 9, 2009 at 9:05:00 AM PST

No Sagarone.

I'm not missing a single thing here. ;-)

- Was our country not visualised as a socialist republic? Is it not in a way incumbent upon all Indians to aspire to that ideal? And therefore taking an oath to uphold those ideals is very much in line with what is expected of us as citizens.

- I don't think I grasp your last line completely... So who are those good things in India due to?

  Sagarone

Monday, February 9, 2009 at 12:56:00 PM PST

@1con, I hope Jay does not mind, us taking up his space with those back and forth comments.

No 1con, our country was not visualized as a 'socialist secular' republic by those who wrote our constitution. These two words were inserted by the controversial 42nd amendment by Indira Gandhi, during the emergency, when she had dictatorial powers.

Socialism is just one of many economic doctrines. if I have the liberty to pursue any religion, why should my liberty be constrained in the choice of economic doctrine?

  Sandy

Monday, February 9, 2009 at 10:14:00 PM PST

I agree with u that neither of the three deserve to be the Prime Minister. In my mind, the person who truly deserves to be the Prime Minister is Nitish Kumar. He has everything - clear image, secular identity and also happens to be a mass leader.

But sadly, we don't have Presidential form of Govt. and hence, he shall remain confined to Bihar. Mayawati sure has the best chance to become the PM. Infact, I had predicted her victory as early as November in my blog.

  Trailblazer

Monday, February 9, 2009 at 10:39:00 PM PST


@Sagarone
Carry on please. The floor is all yours.

I second your argument on socialism. No specific thesis can serve India's interests.

Moreover, our version has only bred more babus and red tapism.

@Sandy
Nitish Kumar is an interesting mention. But you've also clarified what I would have said in response - that he would remain confined to Bihar as there is no way the NDA would allow anyone but L K Advani to become PM if they were to win.

I too believe that Mayawati is best placed to become Prime Minister, how much ever I wish not.

  1conoclast

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 1:08:00 AM PST

Sagarone,

- I'm certian Jay doesn't mind. He unmoderated comments on this one, the moment this eminently interesting discussion took off. :-)

- Thanks for the correction. I was aware of the controversy around the 42nd, but I thought it was limited to the word secular & not socialist.
What I have always failed to understand is why the hullabaloo over the words?
Which is what brings me back to me original question? Is socialism bad?
Like you & TB say, it is just one of the economic doctrines, and yes people should (& DO!) have the liberty to choose their preferred doctrine. Capitalists & Communists have both thrived in India. The word Socialist (in my opinion) seeks to give direction to our desired socio-economic approach. I personally don't see anything wrong with that. It is a desirable state to have, rather than the widening rift that all-out capitalist economics engenders, isn't it? Didn't Obama too recently talk about the need for controls in their free economy? Could it be that that kind of caution is possibly all the word Socialist seeks to exercise? Otherwise we could well go down the US economy (markets crashing, bailouts galore) path. I hope I am making some sense?

- So coming back to my 2 initial questions:
a) Is taking an oath to uphold the values that the Constitution wants us to, cheating of any kind? And has Dr. Singh proved himself to have gone outside the socialist ideal?

b) The good things in India: Who are they due to?

c) Your thoughts on Omar's recent proposals?
____

Sandy,

Nitish may be all of that you said, but he has one thing going against him: Wrong Party!

Don't agree with Maya's chances.
____

TB,

As someone who is shortly getting off the blogosphere, here is a prediction to remember: Mayawati isn't becoming PM. Not this time around. She stands a lesser chance than Sharad Pawar does for instance!

We can't be sure about the future of course. We've had Chandrashekhar & Deve Gowda become PM too!

And if everyone is throwing unqualified but prospective PM wishlists around, may I add mine too?

What about Chandrababu Naidu?

  Trailblazer

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 1:44:00 AM PST


@1conoclast
Thanks for your prediction. I pray and hope it comes true.

Yes, you are right about Chandrashekhar and Deve Gowda. In fact, it is they who give me belief(fear) that Mayawati could make it too.

Sharad Pawar is in direct competition with Manmohan Singh, 1con. He stands as much a chance as the UPA 1) winning the polls and 2) agreeing to not allow Dr. Singh to take his second term in a bid to keep the NCP happy. Sonia Gandhi has said that wont happen. And hence, two things could happen. The UPA could weaken because of a disgruntled NCP or they could win and Dr. Singh could become PM again while also keeping the NCP's influence minimal.

Mayawati has her own alliance and is not in direct competition with anyone in the attempted Third Front.

The point I was trying to make when I said Mayawati has the best chance is because the mainstream parties have no majority and are not even close to gaining one. And they are scrambling to form regional alliances.

And it's unlikely that either of the two (UPA/NDA) could improve upon their results of last term. Because both alliances are weaker than they were in 2004.

To your question about good things, it was Gandhiji who did good things for India. The man had(has) solutions to all of our problems but I think we dont deserve his greatness. Most of us seem to not be considerate about tearing the idea of India apart, for the progress of our own communities.

  1conoclast

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 2:21:00 AM PST

TB,

Thanks.

A couple of things before I say what I basically want to:

- As you can see, very nice things come from writing very nice posts! Yours is a very clean forum, almost like IHM's, & with this post, almost that popular! :-)

- You were accusing me of sabotaging your forum. I hope you will now dismiss that allegation as premature & childish? :-)

Gandhiji is just one name. The fan that I am, I would gladly like to appropriate all the credit for him, but surely some others contributed too??

  J P Joshi

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 9:21:00 AM PST

A very analytical and to the point post. Agree with you....No one from the three mentioned fit the bill to become the PM, but coalition politics can really throw up some wild surprises. I do hope that the next PM is below 50, whoever it may be... I don't care. We definitely need a generational change to happen.... will take more than one election and that is why the age 50.

  1conoclast

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 2:32:00 AM PST

Sagarone,

Waiting to hear your views Sir...

JP Joshi,

Why do we wait Sir? Why don't we get into it? Why not you?

  R u oK

Thursday, February 12, 2009 at 8:24:00 AM PST

Before talking about the Prime Minister candidates, i would like to share a confusion of mine.
In India, we dont directly choose our Prime Minister, we choose an MP and we are supposed to be that damn sure during voting that our decided MP would further favor the candidature of Prime Minister of our Choice. Does that really holds today, so many years after birth of our republic when it might be true. Even if it holds, i wonder any direct effect that the Prime Minister has on my Life at ground level in this long hierarchy. Whoever is PM, I just wait for the day when the complete ideology of a single person would be applicable and implemented without any resistance from his own right or left !!

  amreekandesi

Saturday, February 14, 2009 at 10:22:00 AM PST

In India we pat our backs for a woman president and a potential dalit PM, but that was not the vision of the people who died for independance.

Sure, make a Dalit prime minister but only if he/she is worthy of the post.

The day a Mayawati or Paswan becomes Prime Minister, India would have taken ten steps backwards. We are not going to become a developed nation with such leaders at the helm.

  Anonymous

Saturday, February 13, 2010 at 6:55:00 PM PST

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