Though formally not announced, it is a widely presumed fact that Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi are the two main contenders for the Prime Minister’s post in the 2014 elections. They represent contrasting backgrounds, ideologies and personas. Rahul belongs to the elite class, born with a silver spoon and has his partymen craving for him to lead them. His biggest achievement, so far, is his surname.
On the other hand, Narendra Modi comes from a less than ordinary family and has surged forward in hierarchy of his party slowly and gradually. Though a large majority of his party men are now rooting for him as the PM candidate, there are also some in his party interested in pulling him down.
In the run-up to the elections, every word uttered by these two men is amplified and dissected. Hence, the nation observed them with interest, as they delivered speeches on public platform.
Rahul, looking keen to display his versatility, gave an emotional speech at Jaipur after having previously been the angry young man during Uttar Pradesh elections. He made several valid points why India is still lagging behind. He pointed out why our system is not effective. He expressed disappointment at the state of affairs in the country.
But his arguments were laced with contradictions, because it is his family which has been at the helm of affairs for most of the time after 1947. He also expressed the desire to change the way things run, forgetting that it’s his mother who runs most things.
His speech was dubbed as his “Obama” moment by a section of the media, but it appeared more like Obama promising change and rooting against a fellow Democrat. He has made it a point to regularly remind the country of his lineage comprising his Great Grandfather, Grandmother and Father. He recollected how he used to play badminton with the assassins of Indira Gandhi, as badminton gave him stability. But the soap opera moment came when he described how his mother Sonia Gandhi, came to his room with tears in eyes and warned him that power is akin to poison. Such anecdotes show that either Rahul is too naive for politics or the Indian population is too unsuspecting and fooled easily.
On the other hand, Modi in his first such interaction outside Gujarat was a revelation. Invited by the Shri Ram College of Commerce, Modi enthralled the audience.
Having heard mostly negative comments about him from the mainstream media, the youth were floored by his oration and ideas. He spoke on the topic ‘Emerging business models in the global scenario’.
Referring a glass half-filled with water, he said most people would either label it as half full or half empty. But he chose to look at it as completely filled, half with air and half with water. He gave his lingo for development as P2G2: Pro People Good Governance. He gave an insight into the contribution of India and Indians in the world.
The most heartening aspect of his speech was that he encouraged youngsters to take on the World Giants including China with the help of Skill, Scale and Speed. It is a pleasant change to see an Indian leader shed the underdog tag and looking to compete with the league of developed nations.
He wittily remarked that India had been known as the land of “snake charmers” but now it has turned into a land of “mouse charmers” thanks to the IT revolution. He repeatedly stressed on the importance of creating a brand identity and marketing in today’s world.
If the speeches are anything to go by, we have a lot of drama, histrionics, humour, statistics,inspiring words and interesting anecdotes in store for us in the next year or so