Out of my mind: What kind of PM will Modi be?
We are just 20 days away from the result of the general elections. The polls may not be believed, but the satta bazaar has got its ear to the ground; reportedly, you can win for each rupee bet (illegal, of course, like most of election spending) Rs 1.42 for Narendra Modi and Rs 7 on Rahul Gandhi. Arvind Kejriwal is in the hundreds of rupees territory.
If the satta bazaar has got it right, and if what the polls predict is correct, then the BJP may win around 230-250 seats on its own. With its core partners the Shiv Sena and Akali Dal, the BJP/NDA may get an outright majority of around 275.
The various other allies picked up during the campaign will be surplus to the requirement. Once the BJP/NDA coalition forms the government, it will last five years as the last three coalition governments have.
Thus, the dreams of the Anyone But Modi (ABM) brigade, within the BJP and outside, are unlikely to be realised. So it is time to get real and ask, what sort of prime minister will Modi be? The fear is not that he will be weak, but that he will be authoritarian. There is also the alarm raised by Giriraj Singh and Pravin Togadia (with friends like these, who needs enemies?). Modi had marginalised the VHP in Gujarat in the 2012 elections. Is this the VHP’s revenge on Modi? Can
Modi be the PM for all Indians as he aspires to be?
Modi is the first prospective PM who has never been in Delhi. His perspective is state-oriented and he is likely to be more federalist than any previous PM. The Congress, historically, has been a centralist party. This is the legacy of the Independence struggle and also the Nehru-Gandhi penchant for socialism which requires central direction and control.
The Constitution was said to be ‘unitary in spirit but federal in letter’ in the ’50s. Now we know, especially after P Chidambaram’s bruising experience of trying to establish a national anti-terrorist authority, that the states will not kowtow to the Centre. Modi knows this and even approves of states’ rights.
The expectations are extravagant on the economic front as the Sensex has shown. But remember, in economics, there are not only no free lunches, but no fast food either. Things take time to fructify. It would take any new government, however competent, one year before inflation will come down on a sustained basis below 5 per cent. Hence any quick hope of interest rate cuts must be abandoned. The budget deficit left behind by UPA-II is too large for comfort and that continued…