Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi clearly seeks further engagement with the nation and propagates a self-identified model of growth for Indians (“The man who would rule India,” Feb. 8). The Gujarat pogrom is rendered feeble by Mr. Modi’s non-reference to it in his speeches. What gives meaning to his actions is the media coverage of NaMo, the brand. At all times, his actions are made to look like they are replete with national ambitions. There is no comparative analysis on possible leadership options vis-à-vis Mr. Modi in the BJP.
But can charisma sustain? Does capital alone fuel development? A minister is at best a helmsperson, not a superhuman to effect changes in every sphere on his own.
Ishaan Mital, Noida
Ramachandra Guha calls Mr. Modi authoritarian. Does he believe Mr. Modi was elected the Gujarat Chief Minister the third time by authoritarian machinations? Did the people of Gujarat elect him without judging him properly?
What India needs today is a leader like Mr. Modi who has exhibited his capacity to lead. Under the present regime, the nation is fast drifting into political and economic anarchy.
S. Sivadas, Alappuzha
What we need today is authoritative administration. Although it may not be entirely desirable, consensus and discussions on every issue will lead us nowhere. If we are to pack off both Mr. Modi and Rahul Gandhi, who are we to vote for? Mr. Guha has not suggested an alternative — a capable and worthy leader.
We have lost precious years in our near imperfect democracy. We deserve an authoritative leader for some time. In the circumstances, Mr. Modi — although he uses “I” and not “we” — is perhaps the best bet. We can afford to live with some amount of authoritativeness, rather than meekly accept prevarication, and despair.
Vijay Pathi, Bellary
By the standards set by Mr. Guha, every leader who has been firm should be flayed, including Sardar Patel. I urge Mr. Guha to acknowledge the desperate times we live in. An authoritarian leader is the need of the hour.
Narayan Har Gupta, Nainital
From economics undergraduates to EU ambassadors, many see Mr. Modi as the future of India’s leadership. He is a man of vision, who has won the hearts of the masses and is waiting to prove his popularity in the 2014 elections.
Sumeet Mahendra, New Delhi
It is a fact that there is little discipline in public life and no respect (there may be some fear) for the law. We need a national leader who can enforce law and discipline. If, in the process, his rule becomes ‘authoritative,’ so be it. It is a very small price to pay.
Raj Jayaswal, Chennai
Mr. Guha has convincingly driven home the point that Mr. Modi is unacceptable as the future Prime Minister. However, the author devoted a single sentence to Rahul Gandhi, saying he is “shirking responsibility.” I am neither a Rahul admirer nor a Congress supporter. But I find the argument put forth by Mr. Guha unconvincing. Wasn’t Rajiv Gandhi averse to joining politics, let alone aspiring to become Prime Minister? Did not Sonia Gandhi go into hibernation before being persuaded to plunge into politics? It is another matter that India does not need a novice like Rahul to adorn the top post.
Syed Sultan Mohiddin, Kadapa
The article is a true portrayal of Gujarat and Mr. Modi. Urban Gujarat looks at only the highways, ports and industries. Industrialists are happy that they get cheap land and near-zero per cent loans. But growth should be inclusive. Industrialisation may appeal to the urban youth, the media and the CII but not to all Gujarat. Governance is also about securing the life and liberty of citizens.
Most Indians would not like such a model to be replicated throughout the country. When the BJP’s allies in the NDA are themselves not keen on Mr. Modi as their leader, why are some sections of the media launching a Modi-for-PM campaign?
Ahamad Fuad, Kochi
Mr. Guha, like Erick Erikson, has analysed Mr. Modi’s mental make-up and concluded that “Mr. Modi is conspicuously unfitted to be the reconciling, accommodating, plural, democratic Prime Minister that India needs and deserves.” Without giving equal space and analytical points, he has concluded that Rahul Gandhi “shirks responsibility.”
Let people instinctively decide who they want as their leader. There is enough time and space for them to think and rethink.
One fondly hopes Mr. Modi and Rahul will reorient their personalities to serve the nation as either the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition.
Thomas Edmunds, Chennai