Post Modi's anointment, the Congress will be under pressure to declare its own prime ministerial candidate. The party is in a much better situation than the BJP when it comes to announce its PM candidate. Even the current incumbent is ready to ready to serve under Rahul Gandhi, marking a stark contrast with the BJP's grand-old man, who put up a lot of resistance against Modi's elevation.
But despite the advantage, the Congress kept on targetting the BJP and Modi on the question of prime ministerial candidature. Now with the BJP having done its bit by announcing Modi as the PM candidate and the latter already setting the tone as a leader of the nation, the entire burden of delivering an apt reply will come to rest on Rahul's shoulders.
PM Singh was the best man to take on Modi in a battle of leaders but he failed
The communal versus secular debate will not take much time to turn into one between the visible and invisible. The Congress, which has so far found a nice opportunity to shield its own drawbacks by projecting a 'communal' Modi and his party, will need fresh thought and action to maintain the lead between itself and the opposition at least till the next elections are here.
But the current incumbent in a mood to surrender and the future leader in his familiar mood of reluctance, one wonders if there will be enough ammo in the Congress ranks to contain Modi. The Congress might have missed the trick by not announcing Manmohan's successor at a time when the UPA II started to sink.
Modi has another big advantage over the Congress. If the former succeeds in putting up a pan-Indian appeal through a non-pseudo-secular approach and just as a national leader, the Congress will land in a big soup, along with its like-minded regional parties who vow to secure minority votes but actually don't do anything in reality.
The pseudo-secular credentials have been so much eroded today that in what appears to a perfect anti-thesis to 2002, the Muslims could decide to engage with Modi. The latter knows very well that he has silently worked towards a goal in the last 11 years which will help him to get rid of the ghost of 2002. On the other hand, the so-called secular parties, including the Congress, haven't done anything other than just bashing Modi all these years and now is in a serious danger of gifting away the minority sentiments to the arch-rival. The recent riots in Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh might prove extremely beneficial for Modi in the 2014 polls.
The difference between Modi and Advani is that while the latter needed a Vajpayee to put up a moderate face of the BJP after fuelling destructive majority sentiments in the 1980s and early 1990s to ensure that it survived in power, the former is equipped to transform himself into a Vajpayee for he has been into administration and knows how an administrator can stand above majority and minority divide when needed.
In the Congress, Manmohan Singh was the best man to throw a challenge to Modi in a battle of the administrators, but unfortunately, he preferred to remain the weakest link in his party and not otherwise. Also the party left it for too late for Rahul Gandhi.