New Delhi: Narendra Modi’s spectacular victory has hotted up the contest for prime-ministership for 2013/2014. NewInsight analyzes the chances of those in the race and rates them on their suitability for the top job.

Narendra Modi: The Gujarat chief minister leads the race for prime minister, with no one distantly in sight in second place. Opinion polls put him far ahead of his competitors, and he has more acceptability than central leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party, such as L.K.Advani and Sushma Swaraj, who are opposed to his PM ambitions.

As for Modi’s PM capabilities, there is little doubt. He rates 8/10. With him as helmsman, India’s rise won’t suffer from self-doubt and absence of vision. The eight wasted years of the Manmohan Singh government would become a distant, obscured nightmare. He would make India among the five top economic and military powers, and at the least, the country’s inimical neighbours will fall in line.

But Modi has powerful enemies in the so-called “liberal” establishment and the media. As they employed every low stratagem to keep him from a Gujarat hat-trick, they would do the same -- and worse -- to try and keep him away from Delhi. The “liberal” establishment represents the old order whilst Narendra Modi leads the new. Narendra Modi’s fight of his life looms ahead. Caution urges to hedge his chances, but he will occupy South Block’s most-sought-after corner office.

Rahul Gandhi: The Nehru-Gandhi scion is no longer in the PM race. With the Congress party staring at defeat in the general election, the dynast stands no chance. On the outside possibility that the Congress becomes the single largest party, Sonia Gandhi will choose someone as P.Chidambaram to be PM. Sonia and Rahul both know Rahul is incapable of holding the smallest office, let alone that of the prime minister. Rating Rahul presents no problem. He gets zero.

P.Chidambaram: A clever lawyer, he would like to hope that he becomes PM in the same conditions as Manmohan Singh did, with 10 Janpath calling the shots. Otherwise, he stands nowhere in the race. As for competence, he has never risen above being a tolerable commerce minister. Not being a grassroots’ politician, he does not know the country (he wanted to use the air force against the Maoists), lacks vision, and is devoid of empathy. Whilst Western capitalists will root for him, India would be cold, and he won’t improve on the performance of Manmohan Singh, which isn’t saying much.

But whereas Manmohan Singh’s personal integrity is unquestionable, it is impossible to give Chidambaram a clean chit. His role in the 2G scandal is suspect, and there is a court case against his alleged rigging of his last Lok Sabha election. His son is dodgy. All in all, Chidambaram has poor chances of becoming PM. Rating: 3/10.

L.K.Advani: Lately, the BJP’s senior-most active leader seems reconciled to not being prime minister. It does not mean he is out of the PM race but it increasingly looks he will join forces with Sushma Swaraj to checkmate the Gujarat chief minister, although the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangha will have the last word on the subject.

As a movement leader and for rejuvenating the BJP, Advani has marked his place in India’s political history. But at the same time, he does not have political vision and lacks the imagination for the big picture so necessary for a successful prime minister. Rating: 4/10.

Sushma Swaraj: On account of her powerful oratory and honed parliamentary skills, she has built a constituency amongst the middle class. Seen as a moderate compared to Modi and his strongest challenger in the BJP, the “liberal” media lionizes her.

But she has several negatives. She is not from the Sangha Parivar, a must for a BJP prime minister. She has no political base. On her only outing as chief minister (of Delhi), she proved a failure. Sushma Swaraj is not PM material. She rates 5/10.

Arun Jaitley: Suffers from the handicap of not having a RSS background, coming from the ABVP. Having never fought Lok Sabha elections diminishes his chances further. On vision, he is limited, P.Chidambaram-like, being urban, and part of the rich set. After the disaster of Manmohan Singh, India will not tolerate a prime minister disconnected from and arrogant towards the masses.

Knowing the way the wind is blowing, Jaitley has become more accommodative of Narendra Modi’s PM ambitions than any of the other top central BJP leaders. Jaitley would be happy to be BJP president with Modi as prime minister. Rating: 5/10.

Nitish Kumar: He remains Narendra Modi’s foremost challenger in the larger National Democratic Alliance. His party, the JD-U, keeps making noises against Modi as PM in the hope that the BJP will back him for the top job. No way.

If, however, Modi is unstoppable as PM, Nitish Kumar’s opposition will melt away, on the chance that Bihar benefits with the grant of special status which strengthens his own position as chief minister. On vision and PM-like qualities, Nitish Kumar gets 6/10, but he won’t ever occupy the corner office.

J.Jayalalithaa: Not apparently in the PM race, but supremely ambitious and highly competent. Would make a doughty prime minister in Mrs Indira Gandhi’s mould, and would prove every bit as worthy as Narendra Modi in the top job, without attracting the sort of opposition he does.

Jayalalithaa rates as well as Nitish Kumar and perhaps a little higher because she is not a crybaby such as the Bihar chief minister gets to be now and again. On the other hand, she would be quite content to remain Tamil Nadu’s chief minister if she gets a helping hand from the Centre on an issue like river waters’ sharing, which is certain to be the case with Modi as PM, with who she gets along fine.

Mulayam Singh Yadav: If pigs could fly, the Uttar Pradesh strongman would be an occupant of 7 Race Course Road. Never has a stalwart politician squandered his political fortunes as rapidly as Mulayam Yadav in the impossible quest to be prime minister.

It seems amazing and unbelievable for his naivete that Mulayam’s Samajwadi Party posted a huge win in Uttar Pradesh some months ago and his son is the chief minister there. His fate seems reduced to that of Laloo Prasad Yadav feeding off the crumbs of the Congress. Would be an unmitigated disaster as prime minister with a rating of 3/10, the same as P.Chidambaram.