Friday, April 24, 2009

Choices for next PM for India

It’s already Election Time. In less than a month we may hope to see the next PM. I say, ‘hope to see’, because there’s also a possibility that we again have a fractured verdict and there’s all the tamasha before the next PM evolves out of the unlimited compromises and MP trading (Well, I don’t want to bring disgrace to the elegant horses by dragging their names in such a heinous act).  Let’s take a stock of who all are aspiring to occupy the PM’s gaddi, even if for a few days or months, before our taxes are wasted for another round of election!!

The name that comes to our mind first is Mayawati. She has been very explicit about her intentions. Being a citizen of a democratic country she does have the every right to aspire of anything. After all thinking is tax-free and doesn’t invite the wrath of IT sleuths or anti corruption squads. It can be argued that after Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao & Lalu Prasad we should have learnt to accept corruption as a ‘chalta hai‘ feature of PM - very much like the irritable ‘feature’ of call dropping in mobile phones which has become quite a norm now-a-days!! Mayawati might be a toddler compared to her other illustrious peers in areas of corruption, but still I’d prefer a Rajiv Gandhi more than her as the PM of our country. The post of PM is like the CEO of a big corporate house. The CEO of Vodafone need not know the technicalities of GSM or CDMA, but should be an elegant and presentable face for the company. He has to represent the company in all public forums, international trade fairs, summits, media and everywhere. The CEO of India needs to be much more presentable than any other CEO of any company. Whether we accept or not, Mayawati won’t be able to command the attention or respect of an international audience. Mayawati doesn’t fit at all to the idea of India that has created her mark internationally in the recent times.

In order to command attention any or more of the following three things are absolutely essential.

(1) You should be a well read person with impeccable oratory skills. Jawaharlal Nehru & Indira Gandhi make perfect candidates from this point of view. It’s not necessary that you have to speak great English. Otherwise the Russian or Chinese premiers won’t have ever made any mark in world politics. But you have to indeed speak assertively and make a very impressive presentation of yourself. In spite of Atal Behari Vajpayee’s poetic oratory and extra ordinary diction in Hindi Musharraf used to steal the show in many cases in international summits just because of the fact that Musharraf could carry and present himself better than Vajpayee in front of international audience.

(2) You should have a dignified personality, even if it’s humble and benign - like Lal Bahadur Shastri, Rajendra Prasad or Vajpayee.  Vajpayee always commanded a respect and dignity with his personality that had evolved over the years through his education, dedication and honesty. He could compensate for the lack of presentation skills in English with his dignified personality. International leaders do take note of the background of their peers. A humble and honest person is always respected.

(3) You should be an extraordinary person in some technical area like Abdul Kalam or Manmohan Singh. Even though Abdul Kalam spoke quite bad English and was not at all presentable, still people used to listen to him with utmost interest and respect because very few of his peers were as educated as him. Same is the case with Dr. Manmohan Singh. A doctorate from Cambridge is always hailed with dignity and respect.

It’s not that if anyone possesses any of these three traits would make a perfect PM. But without any of these he or she can’t be accepted at all as a PM of our country irrespective of whatever is his/her credentials. Mayawati neither has Nehru’s communication skill, nor Vajpayee’s personality nor Manmohan’s education!!

After Mayawati, it’s Lalu’s name that comes to my mind. No doubt he is a better choice than Mayawati. He has already created an aura for himself in the corporate world and international arena by turning around the fortunes of the biggest employer in the world - even though people understand very well that the credit should go the people who work for him. But still, a minister in the cabinet and PM of the country are not the same thing.

Next in the line may be Sharad Pawar. He has a dignified personality and commands respect.  He doesn’t speak nonsense and articulates his views in a very decisive manner - everything that’s very important to represent and lead a country. But then what can you expect of a person who had once left Congress just because he couldn’t accept the dynastic importance of Gandhi family but finally joined hands with the same people he’d parted with? Still I’d prefer him more than anyone else in the list.

What about Prakash Karat?? Well, Leftists are always the most unreasonable and unpredictable ones. It’s disastrous to have Left when the country is in the right track after almost fifty years of misgovernance.

The list doesn’t seem to end. Jayalalitha, despite her impeccable credentials in corruption, makes a better choice than many others because she is decisive and has the guts to dismiss some lakhs of agitating state employees in a day. That’s something India needs badly - some guts and decisive people. But she is a dictator and that’s dangerous for democracy.

Chandrababu Naidu’s case is a very interesting one. He has overcome his lack of presentation skills by sheer diligence and dedication. He has patience and tenacity. He has the urge to make things happen. He also would make a good choice. But like Jayalalitha he is also a dictator.

I assume the noble lady of Indian politics - Mrs. Sonia Gandhi is not in the race for PM. Her son Rahul, though hailed by Pranab Mukherjee as the next PM, might not also be in the race. He has enough time for himself.

So we’re left with only L K Advani and Manmohan Singh. I wrote a few days back that it’s no time for a Vishma Pitamaha who despite all his knowledge and greatness is just a mere spectator at the end!!

We need a PM with commanding personality, great leadership skills, decisive power and the strength to change. So is there any choice really?

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