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'The era of coalitions will continue'

April 8, 2009
As a student of political science, how do you see the coming elections?

There are three camps in this election. One is the BJP-led NDA, the second is the Congress-led UPA, and the third is those who left the UPA, those who have not accepted anyone, those who want their own, they have their own problems. They are working as a Third Front.

On one side we have the family-oriented ideology of the Congress, another side we have money power, and then we have the nationalist ideology of the BJP. This is inevitable.

As the election nears, polarisation will happen, towards the BJP-led camp or the Congress-led camp. The rest are inconsequential, nothing much will happen.

And I am seeing it clearly that the nation wants a strong government, the nation is waiting for an experienced, strong leader.

For all these reasons... on the other hand, the failures of the government, price rise, unemployment, and their many false promises.

I can understand if the nation's expectations are not fulfilled, but when the government's promises are not fulfilled -- I am unable to swallow it.

They first said we will provide employment to 1.5 crore people, but are now saying that five lakh people will lose jobs. This is a major contradiction! They say -- we are the government of the aam-aadmi (common man), but they have been unable to halt price rise. In Atalji's time, when his government demitted office, onions were sold at Rs 8 a kg, today it costs Rs 16 a kg. Cooking gas cylinder was available for Rs 270, today it costs Rs 370. Their failures are linked to the aam-aadmi.

Security is an important issue, how do you propose to deal with security when the Taliban is poised to take over over all of Pakistan, they have reached Karachi. Naturally, the common man is perturbed.

Bhai, who do we trust to safeguard us? Like this there are many reasons why they are rejecting the UPA or Manmohan Singh.

Do you think the era of coalition governments in India will soon come to an end?

The era of coalitions will continue, but it will be good if the national party is strong and the regional parties add to that strength. That will be the best model.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee had given us such a model for governance -- first you arrive at a consensus in the Cabinet and then you take decisions. That was the best model.

How do you explain the fact that both Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh have opted for a stable one-party government while the country itself chooses coalitions?

The two are different. If you start comparing the states versus the Centre, the point is regional aspirations are growing, and I think national parties will have to address it and carry everyone along. They will have to keep in mind the development-related issues of the smaller states.

What are the deficiencies in our democracy, in your opinion, and how can it be rectified?

I think after independence we have laid greater emphasis on right, and less emphasis on duty. It would be better if we give more emphasis to duty.

In Gujarat, for instance, I have laid emphasis on a public-private partnership, like with rainwater harvesting, I involve the public. Because crores are helping, my rainwater harvesting is doing well. I have aroused the sense of duty in them, and if the same can be done nationwide it will be good.

For us democracy has become a vote-giving exercise, and we give out five-year contracts to run the government. We ask for accountability after five years. But I think this way we have extracted only the least from democracy. I believe that in everything we do, the people's involvement should be there.

After voting the people and government go their different ways -- this is not acceptable. Gujarat has developed the model where the public has a stake in everything, the people are carried along in everything.

Also see: For 4 Lok Sabha seats, Modi stakes his reputation | Check out our complete coverage: India Votes 2009
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