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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