I know a lot of game is still on before the results of Elections are announced – though the whole result would primarily revolve around one question ‘Modi or no Modi’. But meanwhile it would be a good mind game to fancy that Modi has really got his Mission 272+ realized, and he is finally sworn in as the next Prime Minister of India. Then, what his next steps would be? We do our dream teams in cricket, football etc, so why not in politics!
I feel his first priority would be to stablize economy, that is to control the inflation and price rise,and to increase the growth rate. These are more Economics terms, but he has to see to the end effect – put simply ‘the common man buy better things at lower price’. To handle the Finance Ministry he has at least two good people at hand, first the former finance minister Yashawant Sinha, and secondly the former Deputy CM of Bihar Sushil Modi. Given the relationship between Modi and Sinha, I doubt if Sinha will get it. But one can certainly have hopes from both of them.
The consequent and sufficing thing to the Economy revival would be job creation. At the moment, the youth is largely behind Modi, and if he doesn’t create enough jobs for them, he will loose them. He would primarily focus on Tourism, I feel. Tourism in itself triggers multiple jobs like Hotels, Transport and more. Secondly the country has a great great great potential to attract global tourists which is not successfully tapped (we are stuck at Taj-Mahal). Finally it really doesn’t need Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) but rather only foreign touristers :-).
Technology is another thing where we can certainly expect some new initiatives from Modi. He is personally tech savy, he has an excellent team here which has shown it’s technical affinity during his campaign. What would be interesting to see is exactly how and in which direction does he try to take India in terms of Technology. We are largly consumers of technology and hardly producers of technology. Just setting up some Institutes or Organizations or Boards would not help here. One would require some creative and original solutions here. Modi has shown enough promise in his last 10 years of his track record, that one can expect some out of the box solution here.
It’s hard to guess who will head the ministries related with Tourism and Technology, but whosoever it will be, he will be the key player in his cabinet. Will Modi get Parrikar to the center??? I would love it if he does.
For the Defense Ministry, I cannot think of anyone than General V K Singh (provided he wins). BJP leadership and ideology has always been more oriented towards Defense Forces and more determined in these matters than the peer parties. (That’s one reason neither China, Pakistan or US would like a BJP led government in center). In last 10 years the plot has been hatched such that the boundary regions like Kashmir, Siachin, Arunachal, Sikkim are constantly shown as ‘disputed’ in one or other way, and there has been subtle moves behind the veil to loosen India’s grip from this region. The minimum target for his Defense and External Affairs Ministers would be to restore its hold again.
I somehow fear that there would be couple of wrong steps from Modi government in these matters. First, because in past 10 years UPA has screawed up these matters beyond any recognition, that India almost have neither any firm stance, nor any major ally on any of the notable matters in the International affairs. Secondly, like Modi is a natural entrepreneur, Vajpayee was a natural statesman. He had served in various capacities in the International matters on different committees of UN, as external affairs minister etc. He had a trusted ministers at hand like Jaswant Singh. Modi, on the other hand has been largely confined to Gujrat. Nor seems there any credible face in BJP in the External matters (instead there are gems like Rajnath, who wanted to visit US to get Visa for Modi).
That leaves us with the fourth important ministry – that is the Home Ministry. The challenges are all the same – SiMi, IM, Naxals, Woman safety and so on. I simply cannot think of anyone else than Dr. Swamy. He will be one such minister required for handling stiff matters like Home ministry, but I feel he will easily become target to the naysayers (read liberals, Human Right Groups, Foreign funded NGO, ‘Eminent Citizens’ – I love this term – etc etc) . He many times reminds me of Sehwag, and he can throw his wicket as easily as Sehwag as well. But to the credits of Dr. Swamy, he has single handedly done most damage to Sonia than anybody else. Perhaps Modi would not begin with him as Home Minister, but after 2-3 years if the situation is favorable, he would shift him to Home portfolio – else, he will have to hear ‘Saffronization of internal security’ type shouts from day one. But if Modi doesn’t get a good and strong Home minister, we can be sure of some leathal terrorist attack or instigated Riots or both. The elements who do not want Modi would first attack him where he is most vulnerable, by creating communal tensions and creating fear in the mind of the minorities. And if his Home Minister doesn’t nip them in bud, Modi will stay most exposed and vulnerable to such attacks.
The biggest liability for Modi would be the baggage of BJP like Jaitley, Swaraj, Rajnath and Bheeshma Pitamaha Advani ji etc. Like in marriage, some aspirants always stay close to the bridegroom and show up in every photograph – that’s what has been the behavior of Jaitley and Rajnath of late – desperately trying to show themselves as best friends of the PM. Jaitley is an ambitious man, he would most certainly try to grab Home ministry, and soon we will hear Barkha equating him to Deputy PM or even as ‘soft’ alternative to Modi.
I would certainly like a couple of faces to be seen in the Ministry, first Nitin Gadkari as Public Works Minister – his track record in this area is simply unmatchable – Golden Quadrilatral, Pradhanmantri Gram-Sadak Yojna, Mumbai Pune Expressway, 50+ flyovers in Mumbai done in 90s etc. I would not mind seeing him in any portfolio related to Business Development.
The second would be B.S. Yediyurappa as Agriculture Minister. He would be handy to BJP in more than one ways – first BJP doesn’t have history of having leaders who have come from Farming background, nor farmers are the traditional voters of BJP. Secondly, he has shown some inclination and vision towards farmers during his tenure as Karnataka CM (its’ another matter than we know him ‘only’ for corruption)
With BSY and Raju Shetti at helm, BJP can certainly bring a good difference in farmer’s life. Additionally both these leaders come from the region of central India where the problem farmer’s suicide is a burning issue. If they both get a free hand, it would be the biggest gift of Modi government to the country.