New Delhi: More than twenty years of coalition politics has given the impression that India can no longer have a strong Centre with a capable prime minister. Two exceptional prime ministers during this period, P.V.Narasimha Rao followed after a gap by A.B.Vajpayee, have brought no relief to this scenario of gloom and doom. Rahul Gandhi painted it blacker in his CII speech when he said one man was not a solution to India’s myriad distresses. He meant Narendra Modi but he also reflected the Congress’s inherent lack of confidence which is why it is unable to discard the discredited model of two power centres. In the end, Narendra Modi may or may not be the man to lead India (this writer thinks he is), but to rule out forever the reemergence of a strong India with a firm Centre and an able prime minister smacks of defeatism. Rahul Gandhi is a defeatist. Narendra Modi is not.

The trend for some time is for single-party governments to gain power in the states. Mayawati in a sense commenced the pattern in Uttar Pradesh. J.Jayalalithaa replicated this in Tamil Nadu, Naveen Patnaik in Orissa, and so on. The obvious examples of Delhi, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Assam now have been passed over. When a government is elected decisively, it means it has the support of all sections of society, although the degree of support may vary. Just like the upper castes moved to the Samajwadi Party in the last Uttar Pradesh elections, the Muslims have redirected to the Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat. This is called tactical voting. You vote with the majority trend so that your voice is heard and you are not isolated. This happened with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra earlier. What this suggests is that votebanks are no longer sacrosanct or cast in stone. They are mobile. They will in some cases blow with the wind.

The importance of this shift cannot be underestimated for re-forging a robust Centre with a prime minister who delivers. If political parties can project prime minister candidates with a transformational image, voters will be attracted to the best of them. Identity politics will not disappear because a settled phenomenon takes time to dissipate. But the change is upon us, which the Congress and its chief mascot, Rahul Gandhi, do not recognize or accept. Every phenomenon has a lifespan. Coalition politics had a generation to work itself out. It has. The trend in the states clearly points to this denouement. The Bharatiya Janata Party would be smart to seize this shift for the Centre and project a strong prime minister candidate, and in the circumstances, it can only be Modi.

Aside from all his political economic successes as the chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi’s biggest advantage is that he does not have a dynastic background. Dynastic politics ultimately weakens individual leadership. Aware of this, Jawaharlal Nehru did not promote Indira Gandhi beyond a point. She became prime minister on her own steam. Not so with Rajiv Gandhi, who failed, and his son, anointed by his mother, has proved a bigger disaster. A “farce” is what Karl Marx calls such decline in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. And because Rahul Gandhi scares of leading, which is inevitable with his inadequacies, he declares India cannot be led by one person. But why not? What about Gandhi? What about the successful prime ministers?

The base truth is India has not only been weakened by coalition politics but also by the dynasticism of the Congress. Because the Nehru-Gandhis have no talent or vision for leadership, a puppet prime minister must be imposed on India. Rahul Gandhi’s contemporaries must be subservient to him despite the odd chance that one or two may be brighter than their boss. What the Nehru-Gandhis do to the Congress is their business, but the country must come out of their clutches. This is an entrepreneurial society and such societies are inherently creative. The United Progressive Alliance has choked that creativity. India needs a prime minister who can harness its entrepreneurial energies and lead it once again to greatness.