This is for all you dummies who will perform your duty as conscientious citizens and vote. For whom will you vote? You may as most people treat this general election as a municipal poll and vote for the candidate most likely to help your son get admission, or get the authorities to remove jhuggis behind your house. If as a serious voter you are concerned with national policy, forget it. Politicians themselves have given up all pretence about concern with policy. Even poor Prakash Karat after vain attempts to forge a Common Minimum Programme has been reduced instead to preparing a Vision Document.
If policy is not the issue, what is? Well, there will be an election and there will be a future Prime Minister. So why not vote for the best PM? In the absence of policy how might you make a choice? Well, think about the qualities of leadership. Obviously one who shows such qualities best deserves a chance. The most basic quality of leadership is his or her ability to protect the interests of followers. On this criterion who is best?
Certainly not Dr Manmohan Singh! He doesn't want followers. He is content to remain a follower himself of Sonia Gandhi.
Certainly not LK Advani! The Rajnath-Jaitley spat thoroughly exposed him. It is inconceivable that Sidanshu Mittal could have been appointed to oversee the Northeast states without Advani's consent. When Jaitley objected, Advani did not defend Mittal. When Rajnath Singh refused to oblige Jaitley, Advani did not defend Jaitley. He could neither promote nor defend any follower. What kind of leadership is that?
Certainly not Mayawati! She dumped her loyalists to give election tickets to newcomers who joined her weeks ago. She used her followers to collect money on her behalf and failed to protect them when they were caught. There was no question of course of her sharing any money with her followers.
Certainly not Sharad Pawar! Look how he betrayed his senior party colleague, P Sangma! He agreed that the Congress dismissed the Meghalaya government unconstitutionally. Yet he refused to back Sangma against the Congress in order to further his interests in his own home state.
Certainly not Laloo Yadav! He promoted his wife as Chief Minister. He refused to promote her protesting brother who joined Congress. Or is it that Sadhu Yadav joined Congress with Laloo's secret blessing? Remember, all the Laloo dissidents who have joined the Congress will cut the votes of his newfound ally, Ram Vilas Paswan. So either Laloo is betraying his followers or conspiring against his ally. Is he fit to lead?
Certainly not Navin Patnaik! With hopes of becoming PM supported by the CPI-M he scrapped his decades old alliance with the NDA. Without batting an eye he endorsed all the policies of the CPI-M which he had opposed throughout his political career.
Certainly not Nitish Kumar! He refused to accommodate his former leader George Fernandes who as a sitting MP wanted to contest. What kind of loyalty is that?
Certainly not Jayalalithaa! For five years she abused Congress. She then attempted to team up with Congress to isolate Karunanidhi. After that failed she went to the Third Front. Meanwhile Karat promoted Mayawati. Jayalalithaa refused to attend Mayawati's dinner. Now she is edging away from the Third Front. Can a leader who does not know where to stand help the nation take a stand'?
Enough! There's no point criticizing all the hopefuls for the top job. Some new dark horse could spring a surprise. The prevalent political culture and confusion are stoking ambition in unexpected places. Anything can happen. The Malegaon blast accused Dayanand Pandey from prison has sought the court's permission to contest the Lok Sabha poll. He favours a seat in Jammu. He could join another Malegaon blast accused, Major Ramesh Upadhyay, who earlier had sought similar permission to contest. With their rich experience in transnational affairs and explosive politics could they bring peace between India and the ISI'?
For the present, isn't it best to keep an open mind about the next PM?