This week, I read editorials from some of our esteemed journalists like Shekhar Gupta, Sagarika Ghose, Rajdeep Sardesai, Barkha Dutt and the clan on Modi. While I consider most of them to be more of chat show hosts, convention demands they be treated like journalists. Words that stood out in most of the writings were ‘polarising’, ‘nationalist’, ‘Hindu’, ‘arrogant’, ‘accused’ and you get a sense of the fairness accorded to Modi by these esteemed figures.
So I thought of asking my cousin back in India on what she thought about Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. My cousin sister is in her early twenties, a college graduate, urban, independent, have no interest in politics and gets most of the news from mainstream media on the television. After the usual chat around Bollywood, what’s new in life etc, I asked her some pointed questions on politics. I produce the questions and answers verbatim below:
Q. You all are registered to vote and would vote next year in the election. So I am interested to know what you think of Rahul Gandhi and Modi.
A. Well, though I am not well-versed with politics, I would vote for Modi.
A. Modi symbolises development and has a corruption-free image.
Q. What about the 2002 riots that keep coming up against him?
A. I think that’s probably the only blot on his capabilities of governance for which he was not solely responsible.
Q. What do you think about Manmohan Singh?
A. He is an intelligent guy with no guts.
Q. What about Rahul?
A. Rahul Gandhi is good as far as his austerity drive is concerned but he certainly doesn’t qualify for PM candidate. He is invisible at times when we expect him and he does belong to a family of the corrupt.
A key revelation for me in this chat was that the youth somehow still has faith in the intellect of our current Prime Minister meaning he still has a chance to redeem himself in his last few months. Rahul Gandhi somehow manages to evoke positive feelings given his often sermon like speeches and declarations but the fact he is mostly absent in the Lok Sabha and always absconding in the hour when the Nation is looking for a leader hurts him. Fortunately, people in urban India are beginning to look beyond the last name and realise that the current and last two generations of Gandhi family have institutionalised corruption.
As far as Modi is concerned, despite the vigorous media campaign against him, the urban youth can see past the noise and realise the work he has done in Gujarat and the promise he brings to India. While the media makes all the effort to keep 2002 at the top of their agenda when talking about Modi, the youth seem to have put that behind realising it was at worse a failure of governance.
Now these are of course the views of one twenty something Delhi-ite and would not reflect a majority opinion. But for someone who consumes news from mainstream media and has no interest whatsoever in politics, these qualify for pretty strong views.
The unfortunate reality of our elections though is that urban, educated voters consider election day a holiday leaving the outcome to be decided mostly by the ones who could be bribed into voting for a particular candidate — therefore, the Food Security Bill, free mobile phones, free tablets, Land Acquisition Act and there are more to come. What would decide 2014 is whether those being bribed decide to mortgage future of a generation for the deceptive promise of possessing necessities.
– Source: http://www.niticentral.com