were a reality in 2002, Narendra Modi's emergence as a nation's No. 1 political leader is the reality of 2014. There can't be any denying of this fact and even the world's only superpower can overlook this.
In 2014, a lot of things have changed on the ground. Narendra Modi today is not just another party member who can be replaced from the chief minister's position just because he failed to carry out the Raj Dharma. His rise is significant not just because he is an opposition leader who has won successive elections, but because he is more of a phenomenon in today's changing India. He embodies the strong mood that prevails against a non-performer regime in the nooks and corners of the nation.
He reflects the aspirations of the India which has felt frustrated because its potential has been held back by lack of leadership and direction at the helm. Nothing other than a pathetic Second United Progressive Alliance government has helped Modi acquire a larger-than-life stature today, ahead of the 16th Lok Sabha election.
When a general voter of this country will cast his vote this year, what will play in his mind is not how many Muslims were killed in 2002 but what could happen if there isn't a change at the top for the next five years. This apprehension has given wings to the phenomenon called Modi. He is seen as the only viable alternative today.
Recent pre-poll surveys are favouring NDA led by BJP to come to power
The USA's perception too has changed in similar ways. Washington, although late than other missions, but has understood the significance of Modi over the last few months. The leader's anointment as the prime ministerial candidate of the opposition alliance and the convincing victories in the recent assembly elections under the leadership of the PM candidate have sent a strong message across the table.
Poll surveys favouring Modi and BJP
A number of recent pre-poll surveys favouring the NDA led by the BJP to come to power has also not gone unnoticed. There is a clear intention on behalf of the Americans to start building a working relationship with Modi. Or else, the USA could be facing a sort of disadvantage if it chooses to boycott the top leader of the world's largest democracy and jeopardise a promising and crucial bilateral relation. The issue of visa will also cease to be a deterrant once Washington gradually gets tuned to a new regime in New Delhi.
Change in USA's domestic politics
The domestic politics of the USA, too, has played its part in this softening of stand. In 2005, when Modi was denied a visa to the USA, the policy-making in that country was dominated by Republicans who stressed religious freedom besides Indian-born activists and religious leaders but the situation is not the same under Obama administration. Today, there are lobbies in the USA which want engagement with Modi for obvious reasons like economic development of Gujarat.
Reports of US agencies backing AAP
Allegations over US-based agencies funding the Aam Aadmi Party to disrupt Modi's prospects is another reason which might have worried the US authorities. The Obama administration could not afford to see Washington's image of neutrality taking a beating.
The fact that Modi also did not make an issue out of the US visa has also played too his favour after the USA blinked first. This is certainly going to boost the BJP ahead of the polls as well. The saffron camp is certainly looking a rejuvenated force, thanks to a positive leadership lent by Modi. The impact can be seen even on LK Advani, who was left with a broken heart after Modi was anointed for the top post. The 86-year-old has recently said that a government under Modi could be successful more than that of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Change is the only continuity, isn't it?