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'Congress will go!' This former MP says it's a bet you will NEVER lose

Last updated on: March 04, 2014 18:59 IST

‘The Congress will not even get three digits’

‘We will see a very significant number of voters because of  Narendra Modi’s personality.’ 

Shiv Sena’s Suresh Prabhu makes predictions ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls

Suresh Prabhu, a former cabinet minister and member of Parliament (1996-2009), who was the designated political panelist at the Carnegie conference, had no qualms to predict a colossal loss to the Congress in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and declared that this was one bet no one could lose.

He also asserted that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, is today the most popular and powerful politician in India, and by the sheer gravitas of his personality would lead the BJP to a massive victory in the upcoming polls.

“This time, one can safely say, this government is definitely going to lose,” Prabhu, a member of the Shiv Sena said. “This is something, if one wants to take a bet, I am sure you will never lose this.”

He reiterated, “This, definitely, surely, you can say, the Congress will not be in the government after the next election. They will lose and in fact, the polls show their tally will not even be three digits, but probably double digits.”

“Then of course, the question will be, who’ll form the government, and that will be very difficult -- so don’t put your money on that,” he said, but predicted that, “This time too, it will be a coalition government.”

Prabhu said, “This is an election for the first time, where we see a new leadership coming up. In fact, the leadership has always played a big role in Indian politics -- Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, then Atal Bihari Vajpayee, though he became the prime minister only in 1996 for the first time, he was a very popular leader of the opposition all the time.’

The former MP said that since always, “Indian politics has revolved around personalities, therefore, this election again is going to be an election of personalities. So, it will be a vote for the personality and the party in the process, and undoubtedly, today, Narendra Modi is the most popular politician in India across the political spectrum.”

“In fact, he’s the one, who, when he was nominated as the prime ministerial candidate by his party, a lot of people were saying because he’s been nominated, now, it’s going to be a problem and they will not be able to form the government.”

But, Prabhu argued that far from being a polarising figure, “Because of his personality, a large number of voters have actually been rallying around him and this becomes a very interesting, personality-related election in which on the other side, we still do not know who is going to be the prime ministerial candidate.”

He acknowledged, ‘Of course, it is not required under the Constitution of India that we have to appoint a prime ministerial candidate, but if it’s a personality game, then it’s always where the voters want to know who is the person I am voting for -- it’s not the party.’

He asserted that “in this election, we will see a very significant number of voters, voting because of that (personality) and Narendra Modi is a extremely popular and powerful politician and one of the reasons why -- on an extremely positive note -- is because of his economic performance.’

Prabhu, who has been assured of a cabinet portfolio in any BJP-led government, pointed out that under Modi’s leadership, “the state of Gujarat has made remarkable progress on the economic front.”

He pointed out that while Modi did all this and has won three successive elections, what was interesting was that while “he was very popular, he was never populist.”

According to Prabhu, Modi never gave free electricity, which is now becoming a new way of wooing voters. “In fact, Gujarat is a state where there is no free electricity.”

“But at the same time,” he added, “all the villages of Gujarat have got electricity connected to their systems. So, the farmer gets electricity, but not free.”

In the National Democratic Alliance government, Prabhu was the industry minister in his first term. And then too charge as the minister of environment and forests, and formerly held the fertilizers and chemicals portfolio.

He was also the Union minister of power, heavy industry and public enterprises.

He was the chairman of the task force for Interlinking Rivers, with a status and rank of a Union cabinet minister and of late, he has acquired an international stature, being elected a member of the World Bank parliamentary network and nominated as the chairman of the South Asia water conference.

Last year, when Wharton cancelled its India Forum’s invitation to Modi to deliver the keynote address at the annual Wharton India Economic Forum, Prabhu, as a mark of protest called off his visit to the University.

Image: Former MP Suresh Prabhu says this Lok Sabha election again is going to be an election of personalities

Aziz Haniffa in Washington DC