Much of the speculation regarding BJP's national executive meet, currently underway in Mumbai, has focused on whether Narendra Modi will be projected by the party as its prime ministerial candidate. He seems to be the obvious choice. Midterm surveys as well as opinion polls put the Gujarat Chief Minister way ahead of his contemporaries when it comes to popularity.
Why he is the ideal person to lead the country was discussed at length on Twitter recently. In fact, 'ModiasPMBecause' was numero uno on the social networking site's trend list for the most part of May 22, 2012. Supporters cited the schemes launched by him like 'Krishi Mahotsav', 'Balbhog Yojana', 'Matru Vandana', 'Sujalam Sufalam', 'Beti Bachao' etc which transformed the lives of millions.
Modi's fans recalled the plaudits of leading industrialists who have acknowledged his administrative acumen and dynamism. They also pointed out that the state Modi has been at the helm of for more than a decade is now one of the most developed ones in the nation.
However, there are some other CMs whose achievements are impressive to. In order to tower above them and prove that he is best suited to be the PM-in-waiting, Narendra Modi has to tick the following boxes:
i) Build up close rapport with such able leaders irrespective of whichever party they may belong to. Of late, Modi has struck the right notes while dealing with his Tamil Nadu and Odisha counterparts. When non-Congress CMs strongly opposed the move to set up a National Counter Terrorism Centre, it was the Modi-Jayalalithaa-Naveen Patnaik axis that made the headlines.
ii) Improve his image among the minorities and adopt a more inclusive approach. If a significant portion of the populace continues to distrust him, surely Modi cannot hope to become the nation's undisputed leader. Though Modi won three successive Assembly elections despite the secular brigade consistently targeting him for supposed inaction when riots broke out in Feb 2002 subsequent to the Godhra train burning incident, there is no denying that most Muslims do not approve of him. The Christian community too cannot be said to be rooting for him.
iii) Strive for better equations with senior party leaders. Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, respectively, reportedly harbour dreams of occupying the very post that Modi aspires for. Apart from these two, Modi needs to secure the backing of BJP president Nitin Gadkari, former party chief Rajnath Singh and veteran leader LK Advani.
iv) Should also mend fences with his detractors in the BJP state unit. Sidelining Keshubhai Patel is not the right thing to do, for he is an influential leader with a mass base. Votes of each community are going to be vital in the forthcoming polls. Besides, Modi's fourth consecutive victory is not a foregone conclusion. He must not underestimate the strength of his Congress rivals.
v) Last but not least, he must take a clear position on issues of national importance and ensure that his views are heard above the din. Narendra Modi must read the public mood and formulate his response accordingly. If the youth venture out into the streets and raise some issue, he should not belittle their concerns. He must see to it that his stand is appreciated and persuade others to join hands with him.