My 26-year career in journalism has parallelled the journey of two individuals who have achieved iconic status. The first front page article I got a byline for was Sachin Tendulkar’s maiden first class century in December 1988. The first major outstation assignment I got a chance to track was the Ram Janmabhoomi Rath Yatra where I met a certain Narendra Damodardas Modi for the first time in 1990
Daughters can be unusually prescient: Taking a first look at my book, 2014: The Election that Changed India, she asked why the cover had pictures of both Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi. “Shouldn’t you just be showing Mr Modi, he is after all the big winner, why do you need a Rahul picture also?” “Because,” I replied, “For every winner, you need a loser!”
Political judgements based on opinion polls are hazardous at the best of times, but when there is a five-cornered fight like in Maharashtra, pollsters are often whistling in the dark. There were almost 50 constituencies in Maharashtra in 2009 where the margin was less than 5,000 votes, making any conclusive poll prediction a nightmare. And yet, let me stick my neck out on my home state: The BJP will be almost certainly the single-largest party and, in fact, should get a clear majority.
If Narendra Modi’s triumphant visit to the United States was marked by a series of photo-ops, two stood out: the first was in New York’s Central Park where the Indian prime minister made a visit to a high-profile citizens’ festival ...
Indian voters have a knack of surprising political pundits. Just a few weeks ago, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah could do no wrong; now, after a series of byelection reverses, the Modi-Shah duo is being blamed for losing the Midas touch. Neither is the euphoria nor the harsh criticism valid: No two elections are the same and the extreme responses that accompany every election result are perhaps uncalled for.
We live in an age where a Hindi film is declared a hit if it has a strong opening on its first weekend: The era of the silver jubilee is well and truly behind us.Politics too, is experiencing a similar compression in time. So, Narendra Modi's first 100 days are already being seen as a verdict on his government. A 100 days is just over 14 weeks.
Barring a miracle, at some stage on Friday, Narendra Modi will be poised to fulfil his long-cherished ambition of being the next prime minister. Yes, exit polls have a spotty record in the country, but unless we have all got it horribly wrong, there is no reason to believe that there isn’t a Modi ‘wave’ in large parts of the country, if not a tsunami. When Modi writes his blog and thanks the Indian voter, here are a few more thank you cards he should send out.
He is an expert in turning a lie into the truth. It is the BJP’s principle to divide the nation and rule.
Wherever the BJP government is in power, there is more corruption. Modi has started thinking that by promoting a few industrialists and a constant presence in the media, he can take over the nation.
He does not understand that 70% of India is rural and this is not going to affect them. He is not only poor in calculation, but poor in history’.
Narendra Modi today claims to derive inspiration from Sardar Patel and Swami Vivekananda even if his original icon was the long-serving RSS chief Guru Golwalkar. Patel and Vivekananda are natural choices for the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate: with Patel, there is the instant strongman from Gujarat connect, while Vivekananda gives him the image of an ‘inclusive’ Hindu nationalist. The truth is Modi’s real role model in the 2014 election is someone very different: Former prime minister Indira Gandhi.
Predicting elections can be injurious to the health of journalists and pollsters, more so when there is still a month to go before voting. Even so, there is a near unanimity that Narendra Modi is poised for a hat-trick of victories in Gujarat. The CNN IBN-The Week-CSDS poll done a fortnight ago, in fact, puts him as much as 14 points ahead, which if translated into seats should give Modi a comprehensive two-thirds majority triumph. The Modi groupies will no doubt attribute a victory solely to the charisma and achievements of the Gujarat chief minister.