What Narendra Modi's January 19 speech says about Indian politics

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BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi gave yet another speech on the concluding day of his party's national council meeting in New Delhi. It was again a powerful Modi-like speech. We have heard about these speeches quite often in the last several months, but what made the speech of January 19 a special one is that it happened just two days after the Congress's crucial All-India Congress Committee (AICC) meeting, also in the national capital.

[Read: What Narendra Modi said at BJP's national council meet]

Are we headed to post-Congress days in Indian politics?

After hearing Modi's speech that continued for over an hour, one can't help but think about a question: What's next for the Congress and the leader it is struggling to protect from the glare of democracy? The vision or plan that Modi unveiled for India on Sunday has almost nailed the Congress's chances now. Not only for the next Lok Sabha polls but for times to come.

Tea-seller vs Shehzade debate is essentially a struggle between the old and new democracy
in India

Modi is not just another anti-Congress force. He is a phenomenon of the new India, an India which is witnessing its democracy slowly beginning to grow from the below and challenge the top. All the ugly debates over tea-sellers and Shehzade (crown prince) basically revolve around this changing reality of the Indian democracy. It conveys a simple but effective message and that is: The base of the pyramid called Indian democracy has evolved to challenge those sitting at the pinnacle.

Governments will come and go but the shift in pattern in Indian politics will stay

The failure of the UPA government at the Centre is a temporary affair. It will serve the opposition's purpose only till the time of the elections and once a new government takes charge, Manmohan Singh will be history in no time. Whether the new government will be better, nobody knows at this moment.

The base of Indian democracy has challenged its top today, causing all the noise

But a UPA versus NDA is not the main point of debate here. There lies a bigger story beyond who gets 272 seats and forms the majority in the 16th Lok Sabha. That story is how will the India of the post-Congress era will look like.

We hear about decline of Congress, now it may be a step further and the rise of regions

The term post-Congress era is significant because the grand-old party has been an integral part of the India story since independence. We often hear that the Congress system began to decline since the late 1960s and gradually, its democratic ethos was eclipsed by a centralised rule which has kept it alive since then. Today, after hearing a member of that centralised structure and a leader who has evolved from below, both speaking on their future vision of the nation, one conclusion looks certain and that is the process of declination of the Congress is complete. From here on, the politics of India will have many power centres and not just Delhi.

What is Modi as an individual really doesn't matter, but fall of Congress as an institution does

It is futile now to engage in a debate on whether Modi is communal or whether he is a representative of the corporates. Rahul Gandhi's intense yet hollow speech at the AICC meet on Friday made it evident that any constructive opposition to Modi and a resurgent BJP can be expected only from other regional leaders but not the Congress anymore.

The grand-old party has run of idea, leadership, authority, popular base and every other ingredient that a political force requires to remain relevant in a competitive polity. It is in such a despair that its future leader has to raise his voice just to announce what the party can do and no what can be done for the nation. He spoke about populist measures which signify no vision but an adhocism. It is no way to a minimum popular trust. Modi, on the other hand, spoke on the backwardness of the central and eastern parts of India compared to the west. How many of Delhi-based Congress leaders are heard speaking about this harsh federal reality?

Congress is a thought, no doubt, but that thought has been buried under arrogance now

Modi speaks about a lot of issues and in an impressing style. Oratory matters in politics even if the promises are not fulfilled always. A vision propels a nation forward. When chips are down, talks of a rainbow model of development as Modi chalked out, also generates hope. The speech makes a common man believe that he is part of the nation, not of a party. But look at the Congress.

One of its top leader says Congress is a thought, an inclusive one, while another senior leader preaches hate for an opposition leader over his humble background. The Congress as a thought that Rahul Gandhi stressed doesn't exist now and when that very thought disappears, the Congress becomes a meaningless entity.

A republic can't co-exist with unquestionable elitism for ever

Like the Left, the centrist forces in Indian politics have also lost their credibility which is a concern. But this was destined to happen. A republic can't continue to be a republic in form but elitist in spirit for ever. The rise of the chaiwalas is a success of India's deepening democracy and this 67-year-process has rendered the Congress ineffective today.

As a smart third-generation politician in Indian politics, he knows how he can make gains at the expense of the first (Congress) and second-generation (Mulayams, Lalus and Nitishs who have sided with the Congress despite taking advantages of its decline) leadership. The Lok Sabha election this year is certainly going to flag off a new equation in Indian politics.

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