Why the idea of Modi wins

The two most politically interesting leaders in India are Modi and Mayawati. One wears the mantle of ideology, the other of a social cause. Congress has neither. We should be under no illusion: what Modi represents by way of ideology still has the capacity to wreck this country; and it will be an astonishing feat if Modi can transform himself into a genuine statesman. But, equally, we should be under no illusion that the Congress provides the fuel that lights Modi's fire. And the blaze now threatens to engulf them.

While most of the media was focused on the intellectually dead-end Hindutva versus Development debate, the real issue in the campaign was Modi's personal attributes: his incorruptibility, his total dedication, his grim reaper-like character calling everyone to account. There is more than a touch of megalomania and narcissism in Modi. But that gives him an advantage. The first is a projection of utter sincerity. He is not a creature shaped by the opinion of others, and every initiative he takes belongs to him. Contrast this with almost every other politician. These politicians seem creatures largely of opinion. Like our prime minister, they disavow their own responsibility at every turn. In politics, if the contest is between sincerity and an utter lack of trustworthiness, the former will always have an advantage even if tied to an unsavoury cause.

Finally, it is sheer nonsense to say that Modi will pose a problem for the BJP more than the Congress. This is the sort of wishful thinking that has led many a pollster to clutch at straws. The BJP will emerge more unified and energised. His victory raises the spectre of a more polarising politics. But as India transforms, the tragedy is that no other politician can understand, "thare dil me kya che?" Most of them are too cowardly to even understand what is in their own hearts. This is why Modi stands out.

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