Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, is being projected as the next Prime Minister of the country. This has been received in a mixed manner by different people, media personalities and people in the political fraternity.
The opinion of scholars
Ashley Tellis and Milan Vaishnav, leading US scholars, have stated that if Modi becomes the PM it is unlikely that there will be any change in the bilateral relations of the two countries at the fundamental level. According to them, there is a good chance that the ties might become stronger than before. Tellis, who is attached to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and had a major role to play in the civil nuclear deal between both the countries, has also pointed out that the relations actually changed when the NDA was in power.
He also feels that Manmohan Singh benefited the most because of the changes in relation that took place between 1998 and 2004. According to Tellis this relationship will continue if BJP is able to get back to power, since they were the ones who started it. At the moment Narendra Modi is not allowed to enter the US but Milan Vaishnav states that the US administration has revealed that all that will change if he becomes the PM. He has also reasoned that the statute as per which Modi has been denied visa by the US will not be applicable for the heads of states. He has also stated that US government officers have been meeting Modi through the office of the consul general located in Mumbai.
What does BJP say?
According to BJP, once Modi becomes the PM, Pakistan will have no other option but to shut down the various camps where terrorists are being trained. The party has been criticizing the ruling UPA for what it perceives to be an overtly peaceful response to Pakistan. They have cited that during NDA’s previous reign, Pakistan had been provided a fitting response when they encroached on the Kargil area.
BJP has also criticized the present administration for the way supposedly smaller nations such as Bangladesh and Myanmar have been behaving with India. The general feeling in BJP is that India requires courageous leadership that is capable of taking authoritative decisions, and one feels that they think Modi is the right person for that.
What is Naveen Patnaik thinking?
The head of BJD and the Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik, has stated that he will not be extending his support to the candidature of Narendra Modi as the PM for the upcoming assembly polls. This statement effectively means that BJD, which was earlier a part of the NDA, will not be renewing its ties with the said alliance.
What is the Congress saying?
The Congress, which is the main opponent of the BJP in the 2014 assembly elections, has stated clearly that it is not perturbed with the idea of Narendra Modi being projected as the next prime ministerial candidate by its premier political opponents. It has reasoned that a party is free to choose whoever it thinks to be suitable for the said post.
The opinions of Karan Thapar
Karan Thapar, one of the most well known media personalities in India, is also of the opinion that Modi should not be the next PM of India. He thinks Modi was in his right to criticize the PM as and where he wished to, but Thapar also feels that he has jumped to conclusions, rather unwisely, on the basis of evidence that cannot be considered foolproof.
The noted editor also feels that Modi is in such an indignant rush to bring Manmohan Singh down that he has not deigned it fit to check the authenticity of the information that he has been using to criticize him, and this has only tarnished his image. Amartya Sen, the Nobel Laureate economist, has also opposed Modi as a possible prime minister.
It is hard to say whether Modi will be the right prime minister for India as many, including his detractors, are yet to forget what happened in the 2002 Godhra riots. However, he has also helped Gujarat become one of the most prosperous states, if not the most prosperous, in India and that cannot be overlooked. But the question that can be asked here is: Is the growth inclusive?
As and when Modi becomes the PM, he will also need to look into the matter of foreign policy and sort out bilateral relations with countries like Pakistan and China, as cooperative and friendly relations with these countries will be crucial to India’s development in the long run.