PM Narendra Modi
File photo of PM Narendra Modi | PTI Photo | Manvender Vashist
Text Size:

The next 100 days are indeed crucial and cause for worry and, perhaps, hope.

It is not likely that the flamboyant central minister, Nitin Gadkari has raised a Valkyrie-like flag of rebellion for the 2019 general election. Those who are disciplined in the strict Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) shakhas never break line. They know the price they have to pay for such treacherous deviation. Either one becomes persona non grata, even with stature, like LK Advani, or goes into oblivion like Keshubhai Patel, the former chief minister of Gujarat, whom Narendra Modi succeeded in 2001.

But it is also a fact that Gadkari is questioning the wisdom of the party leadership repeatedly. Every time, of course, he promptly comes out with the clarification that he was quoted out of context. However, his statement that if the leadership takes credit for the victory in elections, it must also share the blame for the defeat did create ripples. He said this in the context of defeat in three assembly elections—Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. He was clearly aiming at the president of the his party —Amit Shah, the self styled Machiavelli or if you prefer the swadeshi cunning, Chanakya.

Suddenly, Gadkari has arrived in the saffron firmament as a challenger. Within the media there is already grapevine talk of Gadkari as the alternative candidate for the prime-ministership in case the BJP wins fewer than 200 seats in the Lok Sabha.

Since all such numbers are in the realm of speculation, the central hall of the Parliament, the ‘Gangotri’ of all rumours, has begun building scenarios for May 2019.

The journalists and ex-MPs in this august hall of fame and shame argue with so much conviction that one feels the results of the elections are already out! The sitting members of Parliament maintain a quiet demeanour in the hall and listen to these argumentative Indians with a mixture of fear and resignation. They are not even sure whether they would get the party ticket to contest! But surely, BJP MPs and leaders have begun to question Modi—the messiah—too, or, again, if you prefer swadeshi, Lord Sri Krishna!

After all, a Modi bhakt has called him Sri Krishna, who, in this incarnation as Modi, has taken India to great Hindu heights.
Even while the gossipers discuss about the possible successor to the PM’s post from the BJP, there are detractors who puncture the assertive discourse. The presumption in this is the BJP will be the single largest party. Then the President will be obliged to invite it to form government.

But there are other members of this chattering community who argue that the opposition will have many more seats, with or without any ‘gatbandhan’. So the prime minister can be anybody from Mamata Banerjee to Chandrababu Naidu to Sharad Pawar, even Rahul Gandhi! Whoever had thought of HD Deve Gowda in 1996?

But not many futurists among these want to speculate as to what Modi will do if he is not the PM. They are clueless on this question. Some say, he will be the leader of the opposition, others argue that Modi will make someone else from the party the opposition leader while he himself takes on the role of the remote control! He cannot run a coalition government with any front. His “Dabangg-giri” and dictatorial style will not be acceptable to other allies and he will fail.

There are some who say that he and Shah would try to choose from the anti-Congress and anti-BJP front, a pliable PM who could be controlled by them, like say K Chandrashekhar Rao of Telangana Rashtra Samiti or Naveen Patnaik, chief minister of Odisha. The BJP would give support from outside and pull the plug like Sitaram Kesri, then president of the Congress, did with the Deve Gowda government in 1997 or as Indira Gandhi did with Charan Singh in 1979.

The Modi-Shah-Doval team would force a mid-term election and come back (like Indira Gandhi did in 1980), arguing that the opposition cannot even form the government, forget ruling. They and their supporters are so confident of the ‘decisive leadership’ that Modi provides, that they need not fear defeat in that mid-term poll! (But there goes to the dustbin the slogan of one-nation-one-election!)

There are some apocalyptic versions too of the near future. There would be huge turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir and possibly a Kargil-like small war which could generate nationalist euphoria and Modi would get re-elected. Or there could be massive communal mayhem triggered by a second Ayodhya movement leading to Army intervention, on his request, for governing the country.

Almost all, supporters as well as critics of Modi, agree that he has been successful in polarising the electorate and could polarise it further. That would be the recipe for anarchy, and who else can it bring it under control, but the army? say the scenario creators.

These commentators say that the global opinion poll outfit, PEW, has shown in its national survey that 53 per cent Indians prefer military rule. And they feel the nation is in dire need of strong leadership. These people also defend Modi’s indifference to Parliament by saying that democracy has failed. The Parliament is more often than not adjourned and does not conduct any business anyway.

‘Politicians are despicable and parties are obstructionists’ is the cynicism shared by the educated middle classes. So the need of the hour is ‘strong, decisive leadership’. This anti-politics sentiment is most common—and it is part of their routine conversation on the dining table. “Modi is different!” they say. “He should be given another round of five years!”

Then the conversation moves to psychoanalysis! Personalities, their characteristics, and behaviour patterns become more important than political ideologies, programmes or party systems. Modi is strong, no one else. Modi takes decisions and owns them, without apologies, even if they are wrong. Modi is honest, incorruptible and has no dynastic necessity for making money! He has no family, no children and no relatives who sponge off him, is the defence provided by Modi bhakts. (They ignore the fact that he is actually married and has deserted his wife.)

This intellectually idle class does not need answers on the Rafale dealNirav Modi’s mysterious disappearance, the rise of AmbanisAdanis and Ramdev Baba. They feel lynching casesand a communal atmosphere at large make up India’s permanent character, or that they are merely hyped allegations by a frustrated opposition. The debate on the Reserve Bank of India and criticism by Raghuram Rajan, Arvind Subramaniam or Urjit Patel is either tendentious or Left-Liberal negativism, so it is not to be taken seriously, they feel.

So we come back to the question: What will Modi do if the party loses and falls below 200 seats or even below 150 seats?

Will he sit on the opposition benches or declare retirement or allow Gadkari or Rajnath Singh to lead the party? Will he rebuild the party? Change guard? Or will he face multiple charges and the courts, and confront all kinds of cases? Will elections take place normally and the results be accepted as routine democratic process or would there be efforts to circumvent the system?

The next 100 days are indeed crucial and cause for worry and, perhaps, hope!

ThePrint is now on Telegram. For the best reports & opinion on politics, governance and more, subscribe to ThePrint on Telegram.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

23 Comments Share Your Views


  1. One thing is for sure, he won’t be making a caricature of himself like those we see now doing that since the day they lost the power.

  2. As he is perceived and his historical antecedents only confirm that in no situation he can tolerate dissent. He may or may not have reasons for personal corruption but certain events only give rise to suspicion of vested interest which may not only be monetary. He has greed for power and aspirations to make a mark in Indian History larger than Pt. Nehru. He lives in his own world of his own thoughts and does have a notorious contempt for professional advice which contradicts him even slightly. The examples are numerous in politics Sanjay Joshi was thrown out in wilderness simply he was seen to be having different view. Arvind Subramaniam, Raghuram Rajan, Urjit Patel had jumped out of the Modi cart for reasons known to all.
    It’s impossible for him to lead any coalition or sticking to common minimum program as his agenda will be held close to his chest.
    Any international survey done on preference of Indians for military rule is a fantasy in popular minds like Hindi movies. India has cultivated democratic values and even illiterate Indians have more than once shown their acumen in sending clear message to politicians.
    In the event of an unlikely defeat of Modi( only for a good alternative), he will fight back forcing a mid-term poll. Indian History will judge him correctly only once he becomes history and not before.
    Modi is a formidable opponent but is not a dependable ally and that’s the grey shed of his personality.

  3. The diverse scenario being conjured up are unnecessary and irrelevant. Rafale case will keep modi busy running from court to court and deMone will take the remaining time as a JPC is sure to look into it before committing those responsible to prosecution.

  4. If Modi loses power, it is likely that he will end up facing innumerable number of cases including criminal cases arising out of his actions. Once out of power his friends in his own party will be too glad to desert him and rest is full of blind alleys.

  5. India deserves a better Prime Minister than what Modi is. We vote in waves and not on merits. He only knows monologue. He doesn’t have depth to be a true parliamentarian and participate in debates. He won’t be leader of opposition. He can’t be, he lacks merit. Like in US if he has to face a one to one debate with any if the prominent politicians of India he will be blown away.
    Media hype has created a mountain out of mole. India deserves something better.

  6. Could you please explain why have you selected the time period of 100 days? The election is five months off from now, say 150 days.

  7. This Ketkar is the same guy who was masquerading as a journalist, writing op-eds in favor of INC propaganda, recently appointed to RS as INC member.
    Looks like Gupta ji has such not so neutral people to present their opinion on what Namo will do ….. bla bla bla.

  8. Another rubbish one from Ketkar! It is indeed sad that the Print is giving platform to such below par articles, even if the Print may be ideologically opposed to Modi. What will Modi do if he is defeated? What is ManMohan Singh doing? Or what is Deve Gauda doing ?
    Is this question to ponder for any one except for a sick mind? If Modi is defeated, there will be a new PM and the focus shifts to him. Period.

  9. Mr . Ketkar’s opinions are politically motivated , hence don’t take it seriously . How “The Print ” gives space to such moron ?

  10. India is not Pakistan. It has seen several peaceful, orderly transfers of power, respecting the wishes of the electorate. The army is a fine, professional force, it is a grave disrespect to them to bring them within the fold of idle speculation. Whatever the sense of exceptionalism an administration might come to reflect, based on a rare simple majority, Indians have a fairly clear set of parameters to judge each incumbent by. The very fact that there are so few second terms shows they are not a credulous lot. The concept of single largest party has been discarded, replaced by letters of support. Once installed in office, governments complete their terms; too much should not be made of the failed Janata experiment of 1977 – 79. One does not know how things work in India but in England, John Major went to Lord’s to watch a cricket match.

  11. Modi will go back to Gujarat and retire.. he has no friends and has not cultivated or invested in social relations.. he is a loner..

  12. These four and half years the nation under leadership of Modi and Amit Shah have not been able to keep most of the promises, leave aside fulfilling a single one, not even initiated quite a few. Their arrogance and pictorial attitudes will bring down NDA in 2019. Being a die heart BJP supporter I have this view. My family has five votes and we have all decided not to vote at all as casting vote for congress or any other party is beyond our dreams. My view is that if Gadkari, Swaraj, pijush Goyal or some cleaner acceptable BJP leader is projected as PM then may be BJP will be able to some how scrape through.
    These are all my calculations which may not be acceptable to other’s views

    • Haha.. sure.. you can take him all you want. We really will not miss him one bit. Atleast rest of India can live peacefully without communal polarization. But I am not sure his friends in high rise apartments would want him back in Gujarat. They need him in the centre to get free goodies from taxpayers money.

    • We Indians don;t want harassing hitler Modi anymore, he has troubled entire country people.Modi will be back to gujrati soon, enjoy hot selling pakoda and chai by this hitler.

  13. Articles like this reflect frustration levels or extreme wishes of the professional flatterers at the court of the corrupt relics of the dynasty!

  14. What do you expect from such a man who always criticised BJP and eventually ended up getting Rajya Sabha ticket from Congress. Loyalty to the family always pays. Kumar Ketkar is no exception.

  15. I just cannot see Mr Modi sitting in a dharna at Jantar Mantar, or shouting protests on the street, and stuff like that. He would love to hold forth in the parliament because he loves his own voice, but chances of that indulgence would be bleak because with very few of his partymen present there to defend him, most of them having lost at the hustings, Mr Modi would be annoyingly jeered and hampered by a boisterous clutch of other parliamentarians, including his bete noire Rahul Gandhi. Mr Modi will shudder at the thought, and decide against it.

    My hunch is that Mr Modi will take a sabbatical from active politics. He might even relocate himself abroad because he loves the lovely climes of those parts, and non-poor, pleasant people who behave so nicely. Indians are not even “swachch”; they frown and criticize too much, dirty fellows. Mr Modi will, in my opinion, take up a career of writing and giving speeches like those retired American Presidents do. And I can bet he will be very successful at it. He will feel rejuvenated and rewarded.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here