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Leading India is different from leading Gujarat: Vivian Fernandes

Updated: April 9, 2013, 5:28 PM IST
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Leading India is different from leading Gujarat: Vivian Fernandes
Has Narendra Modi gone on an image-building and personality projection endeavour too soon?

Has Narendra Modi gone on an image-building and personality projection endeavour too soon? Do his speeches, aimed at the urban middle class, have any resonance with the rural voters who will decide the 2014 polls? Is he making the right noises? Senior journalist Vivian Fernandes joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

Q. If BJP doesn't come in power in 2014..will this mean end of Modi dream to be India PM? Asked by: rajiv

A. If Mr L K Advani can nurse Prime Ministerial ambitions at his ripe age, can we write off the much younger Mr Modi after just one shot at the top slot?

Q. Modi will face stiff opposition from Nitish JD(U)..without JD(U) forming a government for BJP will not be possible..do you think BJP will be able to take in confidence Mr Nitish? Asked by: Ranajn

A. Nitish Kumar may hem and haw but may fall in line if Modi emerges as the clear winner. After all, he has cohabited with the BJP for 14 years now.

Q. Will Congress be able to get more than 200 seats in 2014? Asked by: Ratul

A. To get as many seats as now seems difficult.

Q. Do really Modi ji know India...He is only visiting business function. But Business class people votes is very less in India..India lives in villages what about them? In Agriculture Madhya Pradesh is done well instead of Gujarat.What about agriculture Vision? Asked by: Balram

A. I do not agree with you. Modi is a clear mass leader who is forever in campaign mode. He like campaigning not only during polls but also in between. For instance, there have been campaigns to get the girl child into school, to clean up Gujarat, to prevent female foeticide and so on. Gujarat's agriculture growth in the past decade has been impressive. Modi has his faults, but not the ones you cite.

Q. There are few states election before 2014..how much relevance these election will prove to be in the run-up to 2014? Asked by: Randhiv

A. We are now getting into speculation.

Q. Is it not a myth that Muslims vote en bloc, if Muslim votes split between Congress, SP and BSP in UP then BJP (with Modi at helm) can get 40+ seats in UP. Asked by: Bardhman

A. Modi is a polarizing figure. So the minorities might vote strategically to try and prevent an outcome that they perceive as adverse for them. On the other hand, Hindu votes might coalesce around the BJP and its allies.

Q. How many ministries are headed by NaMo? Can't see any regional ally willing to work with him Asked by: Sickular Indian

A. He is certainly an autocrat. But he is also a shrewd person. Just as he has subdued the VHP and the RSS in his state, he might be able to deal with truculent allies at the centre should he come to lead the government there.

Q. I believe if BJP on its own wins 180-200 seats I believe smaller parties will align with BJP otherwise secular card will be played to form a third front govt. Asked by: balaji

A. Quite possible.

Q. Will BJP given a change bring about the change? Asked by: rajuwa

A. Definitions of change vary in India. Mamata Banerjee's poriborton (or change) looks so much like the old thing to those not aligned with her. Not all of Modi's policies are liked by the Sangh Parivar he belongs to. For instance, the farmers" wing (BKS) opposed power tariff hikes. It also did not take kindly to the multinational corporation, Monsanto's hybrid maize seeds, being supplied to tribal farmers under Gujarat's innovative tribal development program of 2007-2012.

Q. So what if Modi polarise voters -Congress may win a few more-But BJP numbers shoot up dramaticaly...why do BJP worry if SP, BSP lose in UP and RJD in Bihar? Asked by: Surya

A. People do not like polarizing figures because they threaten social peace. If one set of Indian citizens do not feel secure can another set of Indians who answer to a different religious persuasion be reassured?

Q. How can Modi counter questions on 2002? It is sure to be brought up with intensity when election approaches. Asked by: Siddharth

A. So far he has fobbed them off with talk of development. He has also admitted to flaws and mistakes, which those generous to him interpret as veiled regret for the mass murder of 2002. But those who suffered might correctly ask: what is development without justice?

Q. Will 2002 become obstacle for Modi's PM ambition? Asked by: Randhir

A. A large number seem to see it as a stepping stone!

Q. With the current modi campaigning strategies/noises, will you vote for him? Asked by: SHRI

A. I cherish compassion in a leader,an intolerance of injustice. A leader should be able to take everybody along. If Modi embodies these qualities he will have my vote.

Q. How do you rate Rahul Gandhi v/s Modi's speeach at Think India? Asked by: Amrish

A. At the Think India event Modi was able to explain the issue, 'governance not government' in a manner that people could understand. He has this great ability to speak the idiom of the people, for instance, when he explained how governments expand and so on. But he also gave the impression that Gujarat under him could only teach and not learn. Rahul Gandhi talks like one who is enthralled by the wonder that is India!

Q. Why BJP is not announcing him as a prime minister candidate. Strategy or just a matter of time? Asked by: Tej singh

A. There are too many leaders in the party who nurse Prime Ministerial ambitions.

Q. How do you define communalism? Asked by: mayur

A. The use of religion for political purposes is communalism.

Q. What are the percentage of chances that Nitish will quit NDA if Modi is named as the prime ministerial candidate? Asked by: Raj

A. I wish you can enlighten me.

Q. If Modi prime ministerial candidate then how much BJP gain according to you? Asked by: vikas

A. Is it the party or the man that matters in Gujarat? It might be the same at the centre, should Modi became PM.

Q. Do his speeches, aimed at the urban middle class, have any resonance with the rural voters who will decide the 2014 polls? Is he making the right noises? Asked by: kiran

A. Modi tailors his speeches according to his audiences.

Q. Will there not be infight in BJP if Modi is appointment as PM..there are other leaders also having this ambition.. Asked by: Rajat

A. That seems to be the case. For instance, while Modi is taking care not to ruffle the sensitivities of the Muslims, Advani has said that he is proud of the Babri Masjid movement, and the issue of building a Ram temple has to be on the BJP agenda.

Q. Is it possible that a dark horse might emerge if Narendra Modi doesn't become the Prime Minister? Do you foresee the possibility of either Yashwant Sinha or Jaswant Singh becoming a Prime Minister if BJP wins more than 200 seats in General Elections? Both are experienced administrators and have a bird's eye view of governance and the global events. Asked by: Bhumish Khudkhudia

A. The arena will be open to leaders from outside the BJP as well.

Q. I feel the competition should be healthy. dragging 2002 or 1984 will not be considered as healthy competition. if some one has good plan or new theory of development, should be introduced and analysed. Asked by: pc aka @jpchat9

A. You mean to say that life does not count for anything in this country? Remember, there is no law of limitation for criminal acts.

Q. Today speech at Kolkata seems to get TMC on NDA ..he can get more allies & Cong other 2002 is their is any core issue to corner Modi? Asked by: hari

A. Mamata Banerjee was in the NDA and she was a disastrous Railway Minister. If Modi depends on her for numbers, she will ensure that he remembers it every moment.

Q. If BJP has to get 180 seats ..it must get 40 seat in UP..now what senari we have in UP I don't think they are going to cross more then 10-12..do you feel BJP will get more than 150 seats.. Asked by: Radhuki

A. Cannot speculate in a manner that can convince you. Let us not get carried away by the hype. When more facts emerge MMS may get a better evaluation from the people of this country.

Q. As a senior Journo, do you sense some kind of a wave in favour of Modi? Waves can completely surprise and shock the electoral maths! Asked by: Ahmed Nur

A. Have you not seen the media get it consistently wrong with election results. The media gets carried away by the hype it creates. I have just come from a week-long tour of tribal Gujarat and I am not sure the answers to India's development are as glib as Modi makes them out to be.

Q. What is one of the most important quality of Modi which make him favourite among BJP.. Asked by: Raka

A. That he is an out and out Hindu leader, who will never 'appease' the minorities.

Q. Do you think Modi if given a change will emerge as one of the India best PM.. Asked by: Raju

A. Leading a diverse country like India is different from leading a more or less mono-cultural society like Gujarat. He will never be a great PM if the communities that are are wary of him are not reassured of a place of dignity in this country.

First Published: April 9, 2013, 5:28 PM IST
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