These days the media is having a field day by constantly highlighting the possibility of a direct fight for the PM's post between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi. The elections are a good one year away into mid 2014, but the battle seems to have already begun. It is indeed ironical that Rahul keeps saying he does not want to become PM but everyone is convinced that if UPA comes back to power he will be the PM. On the other side is Modi who desperately wants to become the PM but still it is not clear whether his party declaring him as its PM candidate will be able to keep its NDA allies together.

Thus while one is reluctant the other is polarizing. One is claiming to be in the learning mode the other is already in the governing mode. One looks like a hesitant starter the other is already a veteran .One looks like a lamb the other is like a lion. If one is the Goliath the other is the David. Will a contest between the two be between equals?

In most of the surveys Rahul lags behind Modi in public's choice for the post of PM. However in their own parties they are the first choices. If Rahul is somewhat savy Modi is a street fighter. While Rahul is not abusive Modi can go to any level. Ironically the liking of the country's youth seems to be the 'elder' Modi rather than the young Rahul. If Rahul is their because of the family he is born in Modi has risen through the ranks the hard way. He has thus earned his position while Rahul has inherited it.

Will their parties project them as their PM candidates is an interesting question? If Modi is announced as BJP's candidate for PM's post, some allies like JD(U) can be expected to walk out of the NDA alliance. Only if BJP on its own can get 180 - 200 seats in the Lok Sabha, then it can impose Modi as PM on its allies. If they get 140 to 150 seats or less and are in a position to form a government then the allies will indirectly decide BJP's PM candidate. The chances of BJP getting 180 to 200 seats seems to be unlikely as they are not present in many States of India which becomes a handicap for them. Even at the height of their popularity under Atal Behari Vajpayee they could get only 146 seats in the Lok Sabha in 1999. 

The Congress got 205 seats in the 2009 elections and were voted to power for a second time. However during this period the various scams have dented their image considerably. The runaway inflation and high prices are going to go against them. Dr Manmohan Singh is no longer seen as an effective leader but more as a bureaucrat. Moreover his age may also come in his way. In such scenario will the Congress expose Rahul and if defeated, dent the image of the Gandhi family and risk the loss of control of the party. If Congress is able to get same number of seats as in 2009 they can be in a better position to form the government once again. In such scenario Rahul could become the PM. However given his reluctance to assume office someone other than Manmohan Singh could become PM. One should not rule out Manmohan Singh as the PM again in 2014 if UPA comes back to power.

Thus the chances of both Congress and BJP announcing Rahul and Modi as their PM candidates respectively  before elections seem to be very low. In the meantime the electronic and print media can go on projecting a battle between the two. The social media can go on adding umpteen jokes for the 'papu' Rahul and the 'fenku' Modi. Who will be the next PM will be decided post elections in 2014 or earlier.


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