Sal­man, Ka­t­rina, Anna and Dhoni are tipped to shine on

India Today - - OPINION POLL -

In the end, the win­ner from BJP in 2014 has to be a leader who has the po­ten­tial to come closer to the golden record set by Va­j­payee. As the poll proves, Va­j­payee may be in­vis­i­ble but he con­tin­ues to be an en­dur­ing as well as en­dear­ing pres­ence in In­dian pol­i­tics. In the prime min­is­te­rial hall of fame, he is sec­ond only to Indira Gandhi.

BJP’s chal­lenge is to keep the mo­men­tum and find a prime min­is­te­rial can­di­date. Such vari­ables have opened the door for an­other strong claimant, an­other apos­tle of de­vel­op­ment pol­i­tics, whose suc­cess in undoing the bad­land legacy of Bi­har has made him the most pop­u­lar non- BJP prime min­is­te­rial can­di­date within NDA. Ni­tish Ku­mar is on the rise. He is aware of the lim­its of his party’s influence in na­tional af­fairs. But he also un­der­stands that cred­i­bil­ity can com­pen­sate for num­bers. His rep­u­ta­tion is big­ger than the size of his party.

Even though the poll high­lights the un­equal show­down be­tween the Big Two ( BJP win­ning 150- 160 seats against the Congress’s 125- 135) in Bat­tle­ground 2014, the per­for­mance of other par­ties out­side both al­liances shows marked im­prove­ment on their 2009 tally ( 163- 173 as against their 2009 tally of 125). Ma­mata Banerjee and Jay­alalithaa have kept their fiefs free of en­croach­ers, in spite of their far from ex­em­plary record in gov­er­nance and tol­er­ance for dis­sent. Both are UPA- averse at the mo­ment. For Banerjee, the re­la­tion­ship with Congress is en­tirely based on con­ve­nience. If NDA crosses the 200- mark in 2014, the two ladies will fill the num­bers gap. Ja­gan Mo­han Reddy, anti- Con­gres­sism’s new­est star in the South, and Naveen Pat­naik, a for­mer friend of BJP whose pop­u­lar­ity re­mains in­tact in Odisha, are also NDA’s pos­si­ble post- elec­tion al­lies.

Will In­dia get the change that it is des­per­ate for? A coun­try fed up with pol­i­tics- as- usual is mak­ing up its mind. The di­rec­tion is ev­i­dent, but there is still some way to des­ti­na­tion. Hell hath no fury like the In­dian voter scorned.


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