In December 2007 Modi was returned to power once again by a thumping majority in theGujarat Assembly and was rewarded with unadulterated adulation by the media in generaland the pink press in particular. In January 2009 all hell broke loose after industry captains
openly said they wanted to see Narendra Modi as India‘s PM. In 2012 the people gave him a
convincing mandate yet again. The murmurs about the desirability of him going to NewDelhi turned into a crescendo and now not only India but the whole world is trying to guesswhether he is indeed the next Prime Minister of India.What the outcome of the next general elections will be can be debated and discussed almostindefinitely but it is very difficult to argue against the notion that all other aspirants of the
nation‘s top job can barely see the tail lights of the Modi bandwagon.
Presidential vs Parliamentary
The very fact that the whole nation seems to be asking the question whether Narendra Modiwill be the next Prime Minister of India says that India has adopted the presidential form of government without formally amending its constitution, despite a large part of the politicalestablishment being opposed to the concept in-principle. The people of India now want tovote for individual leaders on the basis of their respective track records.This has happened in the past too. It was Indira Gandhi, not the Congress party, who won the1971 elections, lost in 1977 and rode back to power in 1980. In 1984 people voted for RajivGandhi, not Indian National Congress. In 1989 it was Rajiv Gandhi vs V P Singh. Thus, the people have voted for individuals (presidential form) rather than parties (parliamentary form)several times in the past too.The debate between presidential vs parliamentary forms of government is as old asdemocracy itself. Those advocating the presidential form believe segregation of executiveand legislature is necessary for good governance while proponents of the parliamentary form
believe the executive can function more efficiently when the legislature‘s fortunes are tied to
smooth running of the government. At the time of independence, India chose the parliamentary form of government, though at that time too there was considerable debate onwhether the presidential form would be a better alternative, given the vast disparities of different kinds in the nation.Immediately after independence, though Pt Nehru was undoubtedly the darling of the massesand the uncrowned King of India, the people had faith in the Congress as a party also.However, when the position of the Congress weakened for the first time in post-independentIndia in 1967 and political horse trading became the norm, many had raised the questionwhether India needed the presidential system. Since then the debate has remained alive. Theissue has been receiving attention every now and then but the debate has been essentiallylimited to academic circles. No political party has showed an inclination to move towards a presidential system. Nevertheless, the people have had a different opinion and have followed the presidentialsystem several times in the last six decades, as is evident from trends in elections in 1971,1977, 1984 and 1989.