'Someone is needed to restore India back to Indians. So you decided you won't vote for Modi. But then, who will you vote for?'
'List your leaders from the north to south and east to west, and ask your heart and mind, will any one of them be able to deliver and bring back India from the darkness it has fallen into?' asks Rajya Sabha MP Tarun Vijay.
There must be millions who will never get a chance to meet or speak to Narendra Modi. Still they want him -- as prime minister.
They would never ask for a Cabinet berth, chairmanship of a corporation or even membership of the Minorities Commission from the 'Hindu quota' as some of the worst Hindu-baiters availed of in this regime.
So what ignited their minds?
I was in Karimganj, near Silchar on the India-Bangladesh border, Shillong, Banaras, Allahabad, Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Kanpur, Patna, Amritsar, Pathankot, Jallandhar, Pune, Pali, Muzaffarpur and Hyderabad. People who were never ever connected with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or the Bharatiya Janata Party, were seen supporting Modi.
In Christian-dominated areas; in areas where Muslims are in a majority; and in Hindu-majority constituencies who have always returned a non-BJP legislator.
I have known Narendrabhai since the days of our respected Advaniji's Rathyatra from Somnath to Ayodhya in 1990. He was never like this. The words I spoke to Advaniji, in his Ram Rath, when we took off from Somnath after an elaborate havan, can be used for Modi now -- you have entered a different orbit of public life.
The Rathyatra transformed Advaniji from a gentle, intellectual BJP ideologue-leader to a mass leader whose mesmerising charm would transform the party and the contours of politics.
This election is going to do the same thing.
Narendrabhai Modi will be a man of destiny, so far from us yet so close to India's destiny.
You may choose to ignore him, pooh-pooh him and say it is all a media creation, he is a big hoax, it's all propaganda. Still, in your heart, a small voice says 'It's Modi this time'.
After all, every Indian voter has a choice.
So if not Modi, then who?
The dark age we have had, mired in clouds of corruption, lethargy, when no government office was working and/or delivering, with external threats looming large and our voice getting lost in a din of being mocked at, ignored and taken lightly, with internal security matters going out of hand -- not just the Maoists, but even a Google playing with Indian security and the complaints of a government agency like the Survey of India getting a boot from the weak, spineless leadership and bureaucracy, price rise, inflation, rupee devaluation, corruption in gigantic schemes like MGNREGA, the Supreme Court intervening to ensure justice in government at every step... people began losing faith in the State's power.
Someone is needed to restore India back to Indians.
So you decided you won't vote for Modi. But then, who will you vote for?
List your leaders from the north to south and east to west, and ask your heart and mind, will any one of them be able to deliver and bring back India from the darkness it has fallen into?
Name everyone, weigh their acumen, analyse their achievements and stand on various issues like terrorism, military power, security issues, economy, external affairs, and all those matters that have been making your mind anxious and uncomfortable.
And then decide.
It is not a matter concerning a personality, a party, an ideology or a group of campaigners.
It concerns the future and safety of our nation.
Our people. Their children. And the future of those children.
It is your vote, and your nation, after all.
Photograph: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters.
Tarun Vijay is a Bharatiya Janata Party member of the Rajya Sabha. He is a member of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on External Affairs; a member, Parliamentary Group on India China Friendship.