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Why don’t people understand that the only chance the BJP has of coming back to power is to project Nitish Kumar as the NDA candidate (Split Wide Open, Jul 2)? Even in a best case scenario, the BJP can’t garner more than 130 seats with Narendra Modi as their candidate. With Nitish, they can actually make a dent in the northern heartland, where people will trust a moderate face like his. Besides, the man is an able administrator, has an absolutely clean image, is able to run a coalition, has the ability to attract new allies, and commands respect across the political spectrum. He is the only one who can ensure a UPA wipeout.
Instead of wasting time on managing the media, Nitish should spend his resources on the development of the state. A recent visit to Bihar left me with mixed feelings. While the security and infrastructure scenario has vastly improved, corruption in administration remains intact. And this is eating into all the good work done by Nitish and his men. Despite the JD(U)-BJP government’s tall claims about providing good governance, nothing moves at the local level without bribing officials, who are insensitive to the plight of the people, especially the poor and Dalit. Middlemen and black marketers are having a field day. All kinds of government work, be it grant of loans, pension or issuance of certificates, is done through middlemen, who charge for their services. Government officials don’t deal directly with people. The kisan credit card, a tool designed to help farmers, has become a scam. Loans under KCC are not disbursed without greasing the palms of bank officers. The loans themselves are being taken under KCC for non-farm purposes like buying motorcycles or splurging on luxury goods. Nitish may have prime ministerial ambitions, but he needs to be in Bihar for at least 10 more years to really fix things. Any return of the Laloo-Congress combine will undo even the good work being done by the present government.
Ranvijay Yadav, Pune
This is just wishful thinking, building too much on Nitish's outpourings, driven by his personal ambitions. Is it not paradoxical that the talk of a split in the NDA is predicated on Nitish hoping to become PM after beating Modi when the very premise rests on the NDA winning? Can Nitish find anyone to back him for prime ministership outside the NDA, in the UPA, a third front, or a fourth? Is there any hope at all that a non-UPA, non-NDA combine can win? Nitish can aspire to be PM only in the NDA. He will do himself no favour splitting it. Moreover, with two years still to go as per the book, all this talk is not only premature but mere kite-flying by the media.
N.S. Rajan, Bangalore
Votebanks, populism, freebies/ largesse, poverty politics... Modi stands for everything that’s against the Congress culture of 60 years. Hence this diehard opposition to him. The more the media displays its blatant bias for the Congress, the more the nationalists in the majority and minority communities will see through the ‘secular’ games they play to continue their loot.
Narayan Srinivasan, Zurich
If the latest Time poll to put him on the list of ‘100 most powerful people in the world’ is any indication, Modi admirers far outnumber the Modi-haters. And that equation is unlikely to change soon, no matter how Modi is projected.
Najid Hussain, Bear, US
With poverty, misery, backwardness and corruption written all over the nation, should we not have a leader who’s honest, progressive, efficient and with the ability to put the nation on a path of development? Are there very many leaders in the country who have these qualifications?
Vikk Nayyar, New Delhi
Why are people so fixated on Modi? Why not Nitish Kumar or Naveen Patnaik? The aim should be to show UPA the door. As Deng Xiaoping famously said, “I don’t care if it’s a white cat or a black cat as long as it catches the mice.”
Amit K.S., Tucson, US
It seems as though Nitish has raised the Modi issue two years ahead of the general elections to create further confusion and disorder in the already dysfunctional NDA ranks. Might not this antipathy stem from Nitish’s wish to consolidate the Muslim vote in his state?
Pramod Srivastava, New Delhi
Although this latest Modi PR drive was punctured by Nitish, he was only stating the obvious. The BJP–notwithstanding rss pressure—is not going to project Modi as a PM candidate for far too obvious reasons.
Santosh John Samuel, Kochi
I don’t understand why Nitish and Naidu are so obsessed with Modi. Opposing him now brings them no benefit—it keeps them in the news for now, but a year later, it’ll be redundant.
Ganesan, New Jersey
The BJP/NDA made such a hue and cry over Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origins, but it didn’t prevent the Congress from winning in 2004. Such perceptions soon become non-issues in the Indian polity. If Modi comes up with some new populist measure for the aam aadmi, like free power, I don’t see how he can lose in 2014.
The lotus is best suited to be in opposition. After all, didn’t Sonia outsmart all in selecting the right candidate for the presidential poll? Did the BJP find a candidate from their own party?
V.N.K. Murti, Pattambi
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