Modi vs Rahul? Nah, more like Sanjay vs Rajiv.

VIKRAM MUTHANNA writes: Recently, I was caught in the rain and I took shelter in a teashop.

Wet, and sipping on tea, I couldn’t help but notice the chatter of two older gentlemen who were sipping, puffing and professing. They seemed involved in an animated and heated discussion and I couldn’t help myself but eavesdrop.

Just as I got close to them, the discussion ended with the older man claiming, “None of the Congress fellows today have the guts of Sanjay Gandhi. If Sanjay Gandhi was alive, India would have been in a better state. I challenge.”

All that I could think of was “If Sanjay Gandhi had been around, I doubt this man would be a father and may be the word ‘nasbandi’ would have triggered an involuntary action of cupping his crotch and running for cover. I challenge.”

But was there any truth in the old man’s claim?

This reminds me of what Sanjay Gandhi’s son Varun Gandhi said to the media: “Wherever I go people say, if Sanjay Gandhi was alive India would not be what it is today.”

What they obviously meant was that India would be in a better state.

Better, how and why?

Because Sanjay had his own vision of what India should be and was authoritarian in pursuing them?

Well… if that’s the case, then it seems like we have a modern and better version of Sanjay Gandhi in Narendra Modi. True?

Well, we’ll know after 2014; until then we’ll keep our fingers crossed… well, had it been Sanjay Gandhi’s 1977, we’d have to keep our legs crossed.


The Narendra Modi and Sanjay Gandhi comparison crops up because they both are known to “get things done.”

In fact, the legendary journalist Khushwant Singh put a picture of Sanjay Gandhi on the cover of Illustrated Weekly of India magazine with a headline “Sanjay, the man who gets things done.”

Today, Modi is in every middle class urban Indian’s mind, and every time they think of him they see the same hope Khushwant Singh saw: “A man who can get things done.”

Fears that Modi will become authoritarian like Sanjay and will take us to the Emergency days of gag and imprisonment could be far-fetched because they operated at different times in our democracy.

Sanjay Gandhi was trying to find quick and simple solutions to complex problems. Sanjay was a Political Rambo in a young democracy and in a hurry to see change even if it meant mowing down slums or squeezing out manhoods.

The best example would be the unplanned execution of the sterilisation programmes. People were not educated about what it was and rumours spread that it was an operation that would render women unable to bear children and men impotent.

No one came, so they were dragged out and the rest is disaster as recorded in history.

Sanjay Gandhi had a five-point programme for India: tree planting, abolition of caste and dowry system, eradication of illiteracy, family planning and eradication of slums. All of them failed.

Sanjay may have been known as a man “who got things done…,” but if only he had planned them… Unfortunately he didn’t and he became a “man who got things wrong.”

Journalist Vinod Mehta concluded his book ‘The Sanjay Story’ by saying: “Had Sanjay possessed more finesse, had he not been in such a tearing hurry, had he been slightly more intelligent, he would have become ‘the national leader’ he so wished to be.”

Seems like Modi possesses the above qualities.

Also, Modi is more educated; he has a Master’s in Political Science. Sanjay was 11th grade pass and earned a course certificate from Rolls Royce.

Modi is a smart operator who plans and delivers. Sanjay and Modi have many similarities — both obsessed with development, both inclined towards technology. Coincidentally, both helped start the first indigenous Indian cars, a venture of “Indian pride” — Maruti for Sanjay, Tata Nano for Modi. Both have an image bigger than their party itself.

More importantly, both have used their party ideology partly to put themselves in a place of power from where they can force down their own vision of development.

For example, while analysts say Modi is a Hindu fundamentalist, no one talks about how when it was brought to his notice that 310 religious structures in Gandhinagar had encroached on government roads hindering road widening, he demolished them!

First, he demolished temples. This he did in spite of VHP, his party BJP’s strong arm, taking offence. VHP formed a Mandir Bachao Samiti and screamed “development cannot be achieved by demolishing temples.”

It did not stop him. Roads were widened, to be used by all. May be he came to power on his party’s Hindu ideology, but delivered on his Indian ideology.

Yes, of course, both leaders obsessed over infrastructural delivery and industrial development model. But what about the social aspect? Can Modi handle that? After all, this is where Sanjay failed ever so miserably and Modi too is criticised for his dismal social development record.

What’s he going to do when he has to deal with the whole nation?

For now, he is the CM of Gujarat where the only distractions for its citizens are supposedly Bollywood and stock market, makes it easier to administer. He also has to ask himself if Gujarat is truly democratic, then why are people drinking stealthily in Gujarat?

Why do non-vegetarians have to go all around the town looking to buy meat?

Why have minorities suddenly huddled in silence on the outskirts of urban Gujarat?

He has to answer these questions because soon he may have to deal with the booze-enjoying Bangaloreans, bar dance-loving Mumbaites, Fenny-loving Goans, meat-loving Punjabis, all perceived as sins in the puritan Gujarat.

Then there is the Kashmir issue, not to forget environmental and mining issues where his industrial friends have been known to run riot displacing indigenous people.

All these are important social factors. So far, Modi has been enjoying a saucer of dhokla; can his political palate handle the plate full of socially psychedelic India? Only time will tell.


But is 2014 election really about Rahul Vs Modi? It seems more like Rajiv Vs Sanjay.

Rahul, like his father, was a hesitant entrant to politics whereas Modi, like Sanjay, relishes it. Rahul plays by the rules set up by the old fogies in the party; Modi, like Sanjay, is feared in his own party for having a mind of his own.

Rahul, like Rajiv, perpetually seems like a political misfit; Modi, like Sanjay, looks like he was born to be in it.

Unfortunately, both have a disturbing streak of authoritarian model of work. This is where fear sets in and that’s why Vinod Mehta, comparing Modi and Sanjay said: “Narendra Modi type of leadership has a tendency to descend into authoritarian one-man rule.” Warning taken.

But even if the dark side of Sanjay manifests in Modi, is it possible to execute it in the 21st century democratic India where we have a hyperactive media, huge young population and technology at our fingertips? We doubt it.

Sadly in a way, the Indian middle-class is actually looking for an authoritarian leader.

They have tolerated a muted, submissive, incommunicado PM heading a government of inaction for so long that they seem ready to risk an authoritarian leader who can “get things done.” They feel Modi will get things done and if he doesn’t, they can always go back to the good old Indian National Comatose Party.

(Vikram Muthanna is managing editor of Star of Mysore, where this piece originally appeared)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16 Responses to “Modi vs Rahul? Nah, more like Sanjay vs Rajiv.”

  1. harkol Says:

    Sanjay Gandhi & Modi? Seriously?

    What exactly did he do in life than hang on to mother’s saree? Compare that man to a self-made, hard working man, who rose from the very bottom of the society?

    Even in temperament Modi & Sanjay aren’t the same. Sanjay had an aristocratic arrogance about him, which was arising entirely unconstitutional power.

    Modi seems to be far more open, in giving speeches, interviews. Though he is arrogant, the arrogance is that of a accomplished man, who has high degree of self-confidence and doesn’t suffer fools.

    And Rahul-Rajiv comparison? Really?

    Rajiv worked as a pilot (and by some accounts also as a Dalal). What about Rahul – He never held a decent job for any duration of time. Basically a perfect example of a ‘lost cause’.

    I don’t see much of a comparison here.

  2. Kabodhi Says:

    Indian National Comatose Party. HAHAHA. Whatever happens India cant risk going back to Sonia’s rule. Depose the queen, find some other secular to quench the secular and inclusive thirst.

  3. Anupam Says:

    “‏@dhume01 @mihirssharma Of course. Sanjay Gandhi was born in a humble home and rose in politics thanks to grit, hard work and administrative acumen.”

  4. kris Says:

    May not be an opt comparison.

    But, we should all be concerned about RSS and Brahmin lobby destroying Narendra Modi if he becomes PM.

    Remember what happened to Yeddyurappa when Anant Kumar and Sushma Swaraj with Advani’s blessing destroyed BJP in Karnataka.

    Same may happen to Modi in a larger scale.

  5. Deepak Says:

    The author seems to be a typical paid media member who knows no logic and specializes in writing tripe. There is absolutely no comparison between Sanjay and Modi. The very basic point is the origin – Sanjay got power because he was Indira’s son; Modi got power because he worked hard from scratch as an ordinary worker.
    Modi is continuing in power because he has the support and votes of people. Sanjay never had popular support, he was a plain goonda. To even think of comparing them is ridiculous. The jokers like Tehelka who keep targeting Modi day in and night should realise that it was Sanjay who was the real fascist and not Modi, who is simply being vilified.

  6. dinesh soni Says:

    there is no comparision of modi with sanjay gandhi.writer is not aware,in the heat of proving secular,these BARSATEE MANDEK making rubbish comparision.these days a crash course in secularism is going on abuse modi and gert certificatr of secularism with secular scull cap.

  7. Subodh Says:

    Going by this riiculously bad argument, we should never have any PM who has the ability “to get things done” because every person on earth who has ever lived on this earth who had the ability “to get things done” became an authoritarian. How our planet survived the authoritarian reigns of thousands of efficient “doers” to reach the level of progress and development that it currently has reached, only god and Vikram Muthhana know.

  8. DHL Says:

    All that matters is Modi towers over shorter punier Rahul.

  9. Iqbal Singh Says:

    What ever way one comments on Sri Modi, the fact remains that people like him can transform this country.

    It is indeed strange that managers of this country haven’t moved beyond banking on vote /support bank of casts etc, be it moghule, british or post independence political scenarios.

    Particularly, I N C has proved utter failure.

    As a matter of fact, a country cannot progress or move forward based on such comments as are frequently made by Indian media in support of INC.

    The basic fabric of Indian Nation is maligned by so called intellectual goons of the society…

    And when someone from common mass emerges as possible alternative, a new tamasha starts.

    Common man in this country is neither a religious or non religious, rich or poor, or sentimentally a party fundamentalist.

    He doesn’t trust political outfits.

  10. Doddi Buddi Says:

    Typical low-brow article by the writer who is still discovering his potential!

  11. templecity Says:

    Why do you have to publish such moronic pieces when your sycophantic credentials need no more is really getting to be sick!

  12. Anon Says:

    it’s a typical apple-orange comparison. Terming Indian National Comatose Party as ‘good old’ makes one wonder what’s so good about it.

  13. Suma Says:

    Modi vs Rahul or is it Modi vs Advani?

    Shatrughan Sinha meets the canny Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, gets an assurance of a Lok Sabha seat from Patna, and immediately starts sniping at Narendra Modi. It may be recalled that this Bihari politician with absolutely no roots in BJP let alone principles, had started his personal vendetta immediately after being denied a place in the new election team.

    Instead of issuing a delayed, show cause notice, the BJP should immediately expel such mischief makers before more damage is done, especially since greedy, senile Advani’s flunkies like Shatrughan Sinha (just like Yeddyurappa) are desperately waiting to get expelled before jumping to his elder brother Nitish Kumar’s JD party and claim so-called sympathy votes.

    It is indeed sad to note that the BJP is riddled with the likes of a extremely selfish Advani, who for the sake for personal ambitions, are hell-bent on sabotaging Modi and the common man’s dream: A rare, once in a life-time opportunity for India to miraculously recover from the epic tragedy and historic disaster called Cong-I and Gandhi family.

  14. Raihan S Says:

    Modi vs Rahul or is it Cong-I vs India?

    I think Churumuri ought to make an analysis of the entire pan-India spectrum, UPA, rather the Cong-I’s and pseudo Gandhi family’s crooked strategy for survival & escape at any cost!

    Matter is critical since, off late, they seem to have taken an even more tragic step ahead of the canniest British…not just because of Telangana, Food Security Bill and so many other arguable yet extremely strategic and retarded decisions, all effecting our kids future!

    Perhaps Churumuri’s contributors will get a few leads from these indicative links….













    Finally, will the people of India yank out the Congress from helm forever?
    Well, the facts need to be out, while your own guess is as good as mine ;-)
    In case you noted no comments on Modi in here, it is because I trust, Indians will believe in common sense, foresight and ultimately democratic society combined with nature’s law will prevail.


    The next few months will decide in advance!
    And it may be the biggest stratospheric milestone in India’s history!

    Finally, while the smart & generally fair Arnab Goswami or biased folks like Prannoy Roy or the noted Cong-I fixer called Barkha, try to gain a major stake in the a once-in-a-life-time death knell OR media opportunity ahead, I am sure all our Chururmuri readers will hopefully pray God and ensure that

    becomes the undisputed leader in free Indian press online.

  15. Mahesh Kumar Says:

    Like BSY photo folio — you should start putting up these Siddu folio as well

  16. jayashree Says:

    We have had the Nehru family eating up the Nation, right up to Vadhra, now let us give Modi a chance, two terms and see what happens. Things cannot become worse as it has been taken to that stage already by the Nehru family, it may become better! Let us give Modi a chance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: