Opinion » Lead

Updated: October 10, 2013 00:38 IST

Commandeering change

Harish Khare
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With just a lacklustre UPA and a partisan BJP to choose from, the country must vote for inclusiveness, compassion and harmony in 2014

A month away from India, without Indian newspapers and television, can be a deeply detoxifying experience. Without the clutter of daily chatter, the big picture becomes clearer. The country is in the mood for change. The status quo is no longer very inspiring; it does not engage society’s collective attention and does not even agitate us enough to look to the political arena for reassurance.

Just think: for the last 15 years the country has had just two Prime Ministers. There was a time between 1996 and 1998 when the country had four Prime Ministers and we deeply yearned for “stability.” In fact, when it came to power in New Delhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had even thought of tinkering with the Constitution to produce “stability.”

Collective dissatisfaction

Now we are tired of stability, as we declare that the stability of old men has not exactly been the answer to our collective prayers. Meanwhile the country just gets younger and younger and a whole generation has come of age knowing only two Prime Ministers.

The yearning for change is not against this or that government; it is a collective dissatisfaction with the political class as a whole and its institutionalised indifference. While we have empowered our citizens with more and more rights, talked incessantly of “democratization” and tirelessly invoked the aam aadmi, the gap between the citizen’s expectations and satisfaction has only widened.

It is in the nature of political contestation and its modern techniques of marketing and persuasion, that we are often lured into believing that all our accumulated problems would get resolved overnight if only this or that person replaces this or that incumbent.

On Modi

Narendra Modi has understood this yearning for change and is promising a change from the tired and compromised United Progressive Alliance (UPA). But he has already scared sober and sensible middle class Indians. The country has watched with apprehension how a provincial and deeply divisive actor has not only hijacked a national political party but has also forced one and all — some of them proud and sensitive public leaders in the BJP — to fall in line with his ambitions.

However, Mr. Modi may have won a battle against the BJP, but he has yet to convince the nation that he represents the change that it needs or wants. In the process, the BJP has made a grand miscalculation: that the Lok Sabha election would be held in November 2013. It was this miscalculation that propelled the party's strategy to bring Parliament to a grinding halt and to frogmarch the UPA leadership towards a dissolution of the Lok Sabha and early elections.

That did not happen. And now Mr. Modi has peaked too early; he is no longer looking the bright, unsullied, sparkling thing that he was three months earlier; his “model” is already under scrutiny, and is being contested in city after city, in a thousand conversations across the land. The “feku” will not be allowed to get away with half-truths. Indian democracy has developed a healthy capacity to see through those who make spurious claims.

To be fair to him, Mr. Modi has not promised any grand or dramatic departures from the presumed elements of “national consensus.” He is only saying he will take forward the same agenda (including toilets) but with much greater vigour, greater honesty and without “corruption,” compared to the UPA. He has yet to identify a single programme of the UPA that he categorically promises to scrap.

It may be worth recalling that during the National Democratic Alliance’s “golden era,” Atal Bihari Vajpayee never once broke ranks with national consensus. The only time he could not live up to the obligations of this consensus was when he failed to show the door to the man responsible for the Gujarat riots in 2002. It was because he failed to safeguard the basic interests of the Indian state that the voters showed him the door. Now the same man who ensured the end of the Vajpayee era is asking for our indulgence, without any of the Vajpayeean refinements.

So, the grand question is this: has the country changed so much that it has suddenly become sanguine enough about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to accept its nominee as Prime Minister?

Arguably, democracies the world over breed distrust and dissatisfaction with the government of the day. We in India have made a habit of changing and challenging governments every five years. Indeed the only exception was when the UPA was voted back in 2009. That victory had perhaps as much to do with the UPA’s politics of becalming the nation and healing our collective wounds, as with the nature of its opposition. At nearly 80, L.K. Advani could not be the answer to a 77-year-old Manmohan Singh. Mr. Advani was too familiar a face, his pluses and minuses were all too well known to appropriate the mantle of “change.” His only claim to attention was that he was not a Manmohan Singh. And Dr. Singh’s advantage was that he was sought to be replaced by an Advani.

The Congress and Rahul

And so, in 2014, the country will again make a choice, and that decision will hinge on the citizen’s sense of who can produce a desirable change without unsettling our established sense of comfort and order.

The Congress has a difficult task. It has been ruling the country for 10 years, with a governing model that has never fully been appreciated nor entirely accepted. Its performance, at best, can be described as a mixed blessing.

It now has to anchor itself in this gathering desire for change. Rahul Gandhi has on his hands a delicate task: how to put some distance between the Congress of 2014 and the UPA of 2004-2014. He began that process very clumsily and inelegantly when he rubbished the “criminal” ordinance. In the process, everybody, including his mother, the Congress president, and the Prime Minister, stands diminished.

This unsteady start can only be a beginning. Mr. Gandhi has to assure the nation that he is here to stay and has the stamina of a long-distance runner. So far his “leadership” has been erratic, at best. Leadership is not a matter of private convenience, nor is it a personal hobby to be pursued at random. It is a lifelong commitment, with both rewards and frustrations.

And if he is here to stay, the country will want to know how, if at all, Mr. Gandhi will be different from his mother and Dr. Manmohan Singh. Will he, for example, continue with A.K. Antony, that king of inertia, as a senior minister and even more respected a counsellor? Will he remain in awe of the Kamal Naths and the Anand Sharmas, of petty practitioners of petty arrogance? Will he be able to assure the nation that he will have no compunction in discarding non-performing Congress leaders and their less than wholesome instincts and tactics?

On the other hand, the BJP has been out of power for 10 years now. Addicted as it is to righteousness, the party has not come to terms with the loss of 2004; its leaders did not have the grace to accept the voters’ choice; the loss of 2009 only deepened the bitterness and propelled the party on a path of unbridled partisanship and confrontation. Now, if the Modi-led BJP does not get a chance to rule, the party could turn its back on parliamentary democracy, just as the Jana Sangh had done after the 1971 loss.

For now, neither Mr. Modi nor Mr. Gandhi has pan-Indian acceptance. Both of them face two dozen counter-narratives of competence and performance. A prime ministerial mascot can only marginally help his party overcome its organisational infirmities and its ideological confusion. Yet the country needs to change out of its current matrix of too much confrontation and too little harmony, too much contestation and too little consensus, too much institutional overreach and too little institutional synergy. If we have to survive as a vibrant nation in an unforgiving world, then our polity must change and cure itself of the present fascination for cultivated divisiveness and joyful ugliness. The change the country needs is a rediscovery of inclusiveness, compassion and harmony as the first principles of statecraft.

(Harish Khare is a senior journalist and a Jawaharlal Nehru Fellow.)

More In: Lead | Opinion

An ailing economy, lack of deciciveness, tumbling rupee, staggering scams, misusing and undermining the constitutional institutions are enough reasons for the Indian citizens "yearning" for a change. As far as Mr Modi is concerned whom the author so candidly questions, has by far delivered better results than the UPA on many if not all of the above mentioned problems.
The Gujrat BJP winning the verdict of the people twice after 2002 proves that it is ridiculous to blame 2002 riots alone for NDA's loss in 2004.
While it is true that the leaders in BJP fell in line with Modi, there is no mention about why there is no talk of any other PM candidate other than Rahul in Congress. The author mentions that the nation is asking Mr Gandhi "How", actually the nation is asking "Why...on what credentials".
Need of the hour is Mr Modi.

from:  Aditya Mohan Sharma
Posted on: Oct 11, 2013 at 01:09 IST

I think this the author of this article is biased but he doesn't try to hide it; The author clearly wants the UPA to win although he acknowledges that "Its performance, at best, can be described as a mixed blessing" and Rahul to lead it although "his “leadership” has been erratic, at best". Let me concentrate on two very interesting statements "Now we are tired of stability" and "the country needs to change out of its current matrix of too much confrontation... contestation... [and] institutional overreach" I accept the first statement - that the UPA has demonstrated that stability is no solution - and may even be a problem; hence I don't believe in the second. Let me say that democracy is a mechanism to replace the destabilizing folly of a Tughlaq with paralysis. Hence I prefer an opposition who paralyzed parliament rather than mute, though idealistic image of "inclusiveness, compassion and harmony".

from:  Nirmesh Mehta
Posted on: Oct 11, 2013 at 00:18 IST

Mr Harish Khare ,
it was a fair job but not good enough to convince the middle class who
supports Namo. I
will use this article to improve upon my grammar and vocabulary.

Posted on: Oct 11, 2013 at 00:04 IST

In Marathi, Khare means "True" or "Pure". The author seems to be
intent on proving his name otherwise by peddling only falsehoods. He
is clearly trying to mislead the readers with fancy sounding words and
even fancier assertions. Modi hijacked the leadership? On the
contrary, it was finest moment for inner-party democracy when the
clamour of the rank and file prevailed backed by solid performance on
the ground. Secondly, the anger in the nation is not about the intent
of UPA's programs. It is in the implementation. To understand
how good implementation is done, Mr. Khare will have to travel
to Gujarat. Which he may not want to do as it may open his eyes. Some
people like Harish prefer to play blind. But, the nations future
cannot be gambled with by giving the Congress party another term.

from:  Shashi Patil
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 23:13 IST

For all those who keep saying that neither Modi nor Rahul deserve to be
PM, I can only say "The perfect is the enemy of the good". Just choose
the better one between the two.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 23:02 IST

I am sorry but neither Modi, nor Rahul seem like the right choice for PM right now. The PM of the largest democracy in the world needs to be something more, someone greater than these two men who have been put up as candidates for the job. There has to be someone better out there. For those who support Modi, have you forgotten the Gujrat riots of 2002 when Modi sat idly on the sidelines and let the Hindus exact their revenge?!! Admittedly, his progressive policies have shown results but is that enough to erase the red from his ledger? And besides, where is the guarantee that he would be able to replicate those results on a countrywide scale.
And as far as Rahul is concerned, he has recently demonstrated that he is just too erratic and too mercurial to be a diplomat. Do we really need a guy who doesn't know when to rein in his tongue in the top office? Who's to say that in a couple of years, he'd just be reduced to a loud mouthed figurehead controlled by his mother....

from:  Abhinav
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 21:59 IST

The character of a person is always based on much he had experienced. Noone will know the pain of the common citizen without experience it. On that basis, Nodi is having huge advantage. He has raised from that position. He rightly experienced the pain of the ordinary citizen to suffering politician to a successful Authoritarian now. I like that many citizens of India want to see my country who had and experienced( not just heard from others, read from papers) the sufferings of poor of the country. Enough of a family ruling in democracy.

from:  Sasidhar Subramaniyam
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 21:39 IST

I cannot believe that such an educated and qualified person, such as
the author, can be so blind to what's happening. The "sensible and
sober middle class" is not "scared". It is INSPIRED!! I've been
following the news quite closely and nowhere did I read that there was
even a talk of a November 2013 elections. I don't know where this
piece of information is coming from. I could go on like this. The list
of shocking statements in this article is endless. The author is right
about one thing though - the "Indian democracy has developed the
capacity to see through spurious claims" - Yes, we know Modi is not
Feku, people like this author are.

from:  Chintana
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 20:53 IST

Author says that Mr. Vajpayee did not show the door to Modi in 2002 and hence people showed the door to Mr. Vajpayee in 2004. Nothing can be more absurd than this. The people in Gujarat where it all happened elected Mr. Modi over and over again. What the Author has to say on this. Modi has not peaked out. The mood of the public in favour of Modi is already made. In-fact, they are waiting impatiently for May 2014. BJP need not bring forward the election. People want to change Congress and UPA and they are not interested in anybody as PM of Congress. Author's keenness in talking about 2002 riot is evident even though people think about the development and progress. By stating that both Modi and Rahul Gandhi have pan India acceptance, the Author is trying to put as equals. Before Modi's administrative experience and organisational skill Rahul Gandhi is a novice and he can never reach the height of Modi.

from:  V Sridharan
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 20:44 IST

Any surprise why within less than 3 days of Google results of online Indian voters, esp. youth, we see a barrage of articles on almost every single English newspaper, trying desperately to convince readers that Modi is a bad choice and tacitly supporting Rahul Gandhi? I have been following this kind of news for close to two years now, and I can tell you this in all sincerity that this is nothing short of a civil war going on in our country. The crux of the matter is that for the first time in post-independence history, an underdog is challenging the power equations of the mighty Nehru-Gandhi dynasty and all its associated structures in the country. Any other democratic society would have welcomed the rise of a grassroots leader, but the very people who pretend to work with the "poor " and the "backward" are not allowing this to happen.

from:  Luhar Sen
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 16:58 IST

"The Congress has a difficult task. It has been ruling the country for
10 years, with a governing model that has never fully been appreciated
nor entirely accepted. Its performance, at best, can be described as a
mixed blessing." ...The author tried, but failed. Can the author
highlight any partially accepted and appreciated governing model?

from:  Harish
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 16:37 IST

The present Govt allowed plunder of the nation with impunity, thwarted
corruption reduction, tried legitimising continuation of criminal
politicians in Parliament – by the back door (!), subverts democratic
institutions, circumvents submitting to the laws of the land, muzzles
premier investigating agencies, puts itself on a pedestal high above
the citizens, acts anti-poor-people (astronomical national plunders,
endemic corruption, profligate wasteful leaky public programmes, high
inflation every year are not pro-poor), is highly divisive (foments
religious fear/hatred using absurd notions of secularism, eg most Govt
social/welfare policies are religion and caste driven not “blind” to
them), ignores good governance (rule of law, transparency,
accountability), acts unconstrained by morals, ethics or the
Constitution .....
Should such a Govt be re-elected in any country? Is replacing the mother with the son (who is No 2 in the party!!) a sufficiently credible transformation?

from:  D Mahapatra
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 16:16 IST

Modi is the best choice right now to lead the country, when the country is facing grave problems.

from:  Madhu
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 15:47 IST

Im really sorry, but these articles seems to be a attempt to stop people for getting a better future, which they can only get if they vote for modi, author has failed to consider the huge efforts done by modi govt in development of gujarat, it is the only state which has seen the amount of growth, which no other developing country has seen in recent years, its not possible without doing anything.

The bottom line is with development, you see a change in society as a whole, if people are happy, they are getting better livelyhood, they will forget about their differences of caste, and other social evils,
modi can bring that change and i'm really sad to see such hate articles being published every now and then against him, he is doing a good thing for this nation, i don't understand why are we so critical.

from:  sidharth chaudhary
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 15:28 IST

Superb article. Every patriotic citizen burdened with boredom of the present government and parties craving for reboot of governance will accept the above suggestion. The plight of BJP today is same as Congress had in 2004 facing an imminent political obituary. But politics in India is so vibrant that formations unheard of have indeed sprung up and taken the country forward. Examples governments formed after elections in 1977 and 1991

from:  S Raghavan
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 15:01 IST

The author pejoratively calls Narendra Modi, a three-time elected CM,
as "provincial". Of all the people, as a seasoned pro-Congress
commentator he should know that many national Congress stalwarts
started out as only "provincials", eg. Kamaraj, S.K. Patil,
Nijalingappa, Y.B. Chavan, Charan Singh, Sharad Pawar and many more.
And Modi came to the top by a process of internal selection in the
party and it is really stupid to say that he hijacked or forced his
way. As the intensity of the national election drama keeps on
increasing it is only normal that the Congress drum beaters are
getting more and more feverish at the (unthinkable) prospect of Modi
ascension. It is somewhat amusing to hear about the author's sympathy
for the "proud and sensitive public leaders in the BJP"!

from:  kvjayan
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 14:44 IST

The writer tries his best to show that he isnt biased..but still couldnt resist the itch to
slander against bjp and modi in most vilifying manner.sad

from:  navjyot singj
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 14:43 IST

At the next hustings, the electorate is in a double bind. Between a rock & a hard place, do they really have a choice. Democracy cannot be just about two wolves & a lamb deciding on what to have for dinner. Surely, most of us would like to throw out the Congress, lock stock & barrel. But if in the process are we to invite carnage & mayhem in the true form & style of Mr. Modi, who has a proven track record on this score? Mr. Rahul Gandhi is of no consequence, he is still not out of his nappies. If & when Mr. Modi wins, does it prove that we have great democratic traditions? On the contrary, it will only prove that 51% of a nations population can establish a totalitarian regime, suppress minorities & still remain democratic. Mr. Modi with all his band, baja, baraat may have the sound bytes of a capable administrator, but that doesn't put to rest all the misgivings that the road to development was laid over the dead bodies of a few thousand innocents. Woe to the people who overlook this.

from:  Yunus Sait
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 14:33 IST

As usual, Mr.Harish Khare is best at the political analysis and the
words he uses just becomes the jargon....!!! Indeed this is one of his

from:  Vedaprakash
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 14:20 IST

All we want is a working Governance model - 1. A Prime minister who has the nation's development & benefits in his / her consideration, who does not always say Yes to US or any other big brother's agenda 2,Ministries which think thru' and then introduce new schemes unlike the Aadhar on which we see the flip flops every day 3. Govt depts that work , without the goading of PILs.

UPA II has disappointed the nation with a strategy aimed just to get Foreign investments and not looking at Internal development.
We desperately need people in top positions with integrity and honesty .

from:  Rajlakshmi
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 14:13 IST

On the contrary, it's the middle class which backs Modi and if we consider Mr.
Khare's argument to be valid, not more than 5% of Indian Middle Class is Sober. A
Party which forces diligent people like Mr. Antony to work under people of RG's
acumen doesn't deserve to be in power.

from:  Siddharth Pandit
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 14:07 IST

Mr.Harish Khare is back with an excellent article. The UPA's lacklustre appearance may also be due to the now famous "demoralise and destabilise" brigade starting with Subramanian Swamy. It started with Dr.Swamy's 2G case which gathered momentum thanks to Vinod Rai's astronomical 1.76 lakh crores and an overactive Supreme Court. He was followed by Anna Hazare,Kiran Bedi and Baba Ramdev with their "theatre of absurd" Lokpal and Swiss black money. The middle class "jihadists" as Mr. Harish Khare calls them jumped onto the anti UPA bandwagon with their abusive tweets. All are in Modi's camp now!
Governance was paralysed by these actions and the stage was set for the grand entry of Mr. Modi, a pastmaster at polarisation in the Gujarat lab. He promptly appointed Mr.Amit Shah as UP in charge and the results are there for all to see.
If a repeat of the chaos caused by Parliament attack, IC 814 hijacking and Kargil is to be avoided let us choose the "inept" Rahul over the "dynamic" Modi.

from:  C Balachander
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 14:04 IST

Compliments to 'The Hindu' for publishing opinion of Harish Khare on
various issues affecting the nation in national interest despite his
known tilt and soft-corner towards MMS and UPA. Indian history says
India was like this before, now and in future too lacking in cohesive
team effort on any issue however important it may be.Envy, Indiscipline,
disorder are our great attributes. What 1.30 billion people want is
whether they want the ignomenious status quo or any change from the
existing system for better? Oh God! Give us wisdom to decide the best!

from:  Vyas K Susarla
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 12:27 IST

A good analysis! But is there a system to bring 'Inclusiveness, Compassion and Harmony'?

Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 11:43 IST

An article which is contributing concatenated political philosophy but
ideologically difference between Mr. Modi and Mr.Raul. whoever so, Young
India desires to search out " A Strong Prime minister" who could be
spread-head the real glory of India.Similarly,even urban or Rural voters
deliberately will caste their vote wisely.Therefore, 2014 will not be a
trouble-free balloting.It will completely change gears.

from:  Subeesh Kumar S
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 10:54 IST

A very good article, it shows the real picture of the current political
scenario in India. I totally agree with the author over the fact that
for now, neither Mr. Modi nor Mr. Gandhi has pan-Indian acceptance.

from:  Archit Saini
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 10:42 IST

Mr. Khare's pieces in The Hindu seem more and more bogus with every
day passing.....they sound "yeah rule of Congress is the worst and
your house and your lives might fall apart any time; but dont vote
for the BJP because there is a chance those thugs will burn your
house when there is a riot". Mr. Khare thinks the hallmark of
"inclusiveness, compassion and harmony" is being corrupt. If he had
come out openly in the begining and made his choice that the AAP
party is what we should vote for, at least he would salvage some of
his respect.

from:  venkat
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 10:07 IST

How can one compare Namo and Rahul Gandhi ? It is a joke or what? It is
like comparing a post graduate student with a Kindergarten student .

from:  vibhor
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 09:58 IST

The article highlights what can be best described as the devil's alternative a choice between ineptitude on the one hand and arrogance and deception on the other.The earliest rulers of this country influenced by the western ideals of nationhood founded on strong institutions failed to realize that this may not work in India because it entails respect for institutions which is difficult to inculcate in a highly cynical society that functions on expediency.Traditional belief systems have always been in conflict with the spirit of the Constitution with the former triumphing most of the time.Civic spirit is yet to take birth in the Indian society.Expecting radical change from a new dispensation in 2014 will be a pipe dream without eliminating the huge anomalies in our society and let it be said the task has not yet begun.

from:  Jairaj Menon
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 09:58 IST

Look at the statement: "he (Modi) has already scared sober and sensible middle class Indians", so the author is trying to say that those are supporting Mr. Modi (in Gujarat or other parts of country) are nonsense and non-sober. This argument is nothing but an assault on democratic norms where one has to respect the mandate of the people.

from:  Durgesh K Rai
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 09:50 IST

Was this article written 5 years ago? Because Manmohan Singh is 81 years
old and Advani is 85 years old.

from:  Balaji Srinivasan
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 09:44 IST

Sir! No use of this article.Rahul Gandhi is our future Prime Minister. Its because congress always sidelines important, popular and fair leaders who has public following. Examples are many- Mr. pranab mukherjee, Sharad pawar, Margret Alwa etc. And this is done to keep 1 family rule intact. Analysing this article it is clear that there is no alternative to modi in india now. Its impossible for rahul to change the basic policies and thinking of congress as he has been the part of UPA-1 & 2 indirectly and by authority. . How can intelligent indians can trust on congress or Rahul who despite being in power did only heckneying about inclusiveness, compassion & harmony and divided the society on ground for luring some religions, castes, regions and who couldn't guide economy in distress. Development in BJP ruled states are showing the country that its better to vote BJP in power than to make same mistake again which we did in 2009.

from:  saurabh upadhyay
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 09:42 IST

Harish Khare is living in a dream world. He is suggesting with a lack
luster UPA and a partisan BJP people should vote for inclusiveness,
compassion and harmony.There is not a single political party either at
federal level or state level qualify these requirements.Perhaps Aam
Adhmi party may qualify. They have no experience of Indian politics
and manipulations.2014 Election is very crucial and important for
India. The Voters must come in large numbers and vote for persons who
are honest, young with good background and education,and with out any
criminal records and should not be influenced by false promises of
various political parties.Election manifestos are only routine
exercise of political parties with out any sincerity and commitment.

from:  Narayanan Krishnan
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 09:27 IST

Almost a balanced analysis except that it is very soft about the
nonperformance of the party in power. It will be a herculean task for Mr
Gandhi with his amateurish style to dump the stinking garbage
accumulated during the UPA regime to make him acceptable to the voters.
The only alternative left before the voters seems to be a yet-to-form

from:  dipendutta
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 09:27 IST

I am surprised that you did not mention AAP and the third front?

FYI, Mr Modi has not introduced any scheme in Gujarat which favours
any community in particular. And that's an example of inclusiveness,
right? Don't think of us as Hindu/Muslim/Sikh/Christain etc. But think
of us as Indian.

Also, Please correct your facts.
Congress has been ruling the country for more than 50 years and we are
still not able to solve the problems of shiksha and rozgaar

from:  amit agarwal
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 08:58 IST

I was forced to recall the notion that everything is biased. There
isn't anything like this article that is unbiased. Presumption as to
a dark future if Mr. Modi comes to power and shine if Mr. Gandhi
comes, is in itself a biased opinion. The article put the failure of
Modi rightly but fail to put out the failures of Congress correctly.
The expectation that Rahul gonna change the Congress is too much an
exaggeration. Don't know who will come to power (although this notion
of power is not well placed, it should be a service rather) the
future of this country depends on a better stakeholders approach.
Bringing authority to grass root level and steering the directions of
development needs a vision. Both of the contenders falls short of

from:  Hemant Singla
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 08:37 IST

What happened within BJP was like a primary and Modi won with wide ranging support of
the party cadre. To say that it was Modi's battle against BJP is absurd.

Not sure if the author is part of sensible middle class demographic, most in the demographic
including me find hope in Modi.

Lastly - the author has given away his political preferences by using the "feku" used by rabid
congress supporters.

from:  Ram Prasad
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 08:23 IST

Regarding coming to terms with loss of power The Cong(I) led by Soniaji never came to
terms with loss of power to NDA, the way it responded to Kargil war was ultimate in narrow
selfishness. How it boycotted every appearance of the then defense minister George
Fernandez because he was a bitter critic of the Nehru clan. Congress' boycott of unveiling of
Savarkar picture in the parliament speaks volumes about Congress' ulterior motives and
ideological delusions. It has become a political fashion to talk glibly about "inclusiveness".
Please explain what actually it means and how it looks when implemented as intended by
the scribe.

from:  Seshadri
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 08:00 IST

The graphics by "Surendra" are wonderful, as usual. Sir, you are a star!

from:  D Mahapatra
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 07:43 IST

It is the author's wrong perception that the BJP is partisan. I find BJP
to be secular and non partisan. Modi's idea of secularism is much more
in sync with actual secularism than the congress' version of pseudo-

from:  Siva Bhaskaran
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 07:35 IST

The author wants us to believe that the 'yearning for change' is because of 'collective dissatisfaction against political class' and has nothing to do with the performance of the UPA. As an ex-Press Secretary for the PM, the author can be expected to say this. But, this is simply untrue. Poor and misgovernance, a plethora of huge scams, general drift in political matters and foreign affairs, a 'theek hai' laissez faire approach in all matters, multiple, contradictory and extra-constitutional power centres, an inability of PM to wield power over his Cabinet ministers etc have completely shattered people's faith in the Congress in particular and the UPA in general. The author has completely white-washed this elephant in the room. The Modi-model may or may not be under scrutiny, but the Congress-model lies pathetically flat on its face. Khare ignores the apathy of the nation to 'dynastic rule' and its unwillingness to accept, by force, a person who has come out a cropper so far.

from:  Subramanyam Sridharan
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 06:29 IST

This is typical Congress-speak, trying to equate Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi. Modi is a proven performer, while Rahul is a mother's favorite and total non-achiever. Most people have some sort of a record by the time they are in their forties, he has none.

from:  N.S. Rajaram
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 06:23 IST

Surprisingly, Harish Khare is candid and non-partisan for the first time. He rightly says that the UPA leadership is tired and compromised and the country needs a change. However, as he has rightly pointed out, options are very limited and Indian voters are in a dilemma. The third option, though not yet on the anvil , would also not appear to be viable, with leaders such as Mayawati, Jaylalita, Mamata and Mulayam yearning to form a third (or fourth) front. Overall scenario is confused and voters would have exercise extreme caution while casing their votes. Inclusiveness, compassion and harmony, obviously yes. These are essential but not adequate. Manmohan Singh had all these and yet he failed. Why?

from:  Pramod Patil
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 06:21 IST

It will be a service to the readers of The Hindu if we can avoid such partisan propaganda matters. The basic principle during comparison is compare apple to apple. How can UPA be compared to BJP? Calling people names like "feku", become the one man judge by proclaiming "the man responsible for the Gujarat riots in 2002" this article has lowered the decency expected in a national newspaper. There is a court in the country and the UPA was in power for 10 years why they did not take action against those responsible for Gujarat riots 2002? This article conveniently fails to mention the present govt is having the reputation of the most corrupt and inefficient govt India ever had.

from:  Ayyappa
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 06:06 IST

I wish more and more people read "The Hindu" daily. This article
eloquently details the current state of the two main contenders for the
upcoming elections. The need of the hour is to teach both congress and
BJP a fitting lesson but that will only happen if the whole country
makes a unilateral decision to reject those that have been persistently
denigrating the Indian political culture.

from:  Imran
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 05:58 IST

In this day of social media, the 'Pravda; style brain-washing does not work anymore as ordinary citizens in India now have information to make their own decision.

from:  Jaywant Nitturkar
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 04:54 IST

Khare sir with all respect I think u r being too critical of modiji.... Maybe his gujrat is nt as vibrant as it looks on paper ... But how can u even compare rahul with him.... Rahul not only lacks experience but also promotes dynasty... beleive me if I m suppose to vote for some dynasty than whats the point of livin in a democratic and free nation... I'd rather be under british rule... I am much more educated and I think anyone can speak better than rahul Gandhi .... So why is it that he should be elected for the top takes a lifetime for many politicians to be general Secretary but he jus seemed to secure the seat by birth.

from:  Arun
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 03:58 IST

A majority of people is looking for a clean and incorruptible
government. Narendra Modi has proved his credentials. Rahul Gandhi is
no where close. Modi has come to the top of his party as an orphan,
with no help virtually. That is just the opposite with Gandhi. The
article has missed out on these key points. Who is more secular? That
is an important question, and Modi has learnt to come clean on this
credential. So Modi scores on economy, clean government and
inclusiveness of all people in leadership not just a single family.
Totally he scores four points, and Gandhi scores just one on
secularism. It is for our wise people to choose.

from:  schar
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 03:37 IST

One thing is clear to me that Rahul Gandhi has no experience and political wisdom. Therefore he will be experimenting if he becomes PM. Further he has only repeated old slogans in new phrases. Modi has a proven record of bringing change and is decisive and out of Box thinker. Watch his outlook through his various speeches he talks sense and emits brilliance. Everybody wants to remember 2002 but not the Sikh riots and all those riots in congress ruled states. Modi scares all the corrupt - be it congress or any other party. But the people are with change and will bring change.

from:  vijay
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 03:18 IST

What a fantastic piece. As always, Mr. Khare wonderfully articulates the current state of affairs. I feel we need to bring back the constitution into the political discourse and ask all parties to put their positions on social justice, economic inequality and pluralism on the record. "Corruption" is an energizer but you can't have a governing philosophy that is only "anti" something. As Mr. Khare highlights the lack of deviation from the national consensus, parties like AAP haven't shown any thing different than this national consensus.

from:  Rohit Tripathi
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 01:45 IST

The argument seems heavily biased in the way MODI and Rahul are
compared. The terms of comparison should be similar and equally
stringent which is not the case here. Modi is criticised on baseless,
assumptive grounds. Whereas Rahul being a novice has still been assumed
as a mass leader which he is not. Similar grounds for comparison is a

from:  manish
Posted on: Oct 10, 2013 at 00:57 IST
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