Monday, March 30, 2009

Prime Ministerial debate in India?

The 15th General Elections promises to be the most interesting since the days of the Emergency. It might throw up some of the most surprising results which is making even the best of pundits take time make their predictions. Now LK Advani has added more flavour it it by inviting Prime Minister Mahmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi for a national Prime Ministerial debate.

We have all seen the US Presidential debate last year when Barack Obama and John McCain presented their future policies and programs on television watched by millions of Americans and people in other parts of the world. It is awesome to see such debates as a candidate had to know his country like the back of his hand or else he will make a fool out of himself.

Now the question is weather such a debate is possible in India? The answer is a big 'NO' with the current state of politics in the country. L K Advani and Mahmohan Singh might consider themselves to be the only Prime Ministerial candidate but people like Mayawati, Sharad Pawar, Jayalalitha, HD Dewe Gowda, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Prakash Karat and many others also fancy their chances. Now bringing all these people for a Prime Ministerial debate on the same stage will be no different from a Lok Sabha session.

What LK Advani has suggested is definitely forward looking and should be a thing of the future but in a multi-party system with as many PM candidate as regional parties it is easier said than done. Also many of our regional party leaders are not aware of the India that exist outside their sphere of influence. It will be pretty difficult for a Mayawati to talk about development in North East or for a Jayalalitha to feel about the problems being faced by farmers in Maharashtra.

It was a very smart move by LK Advani to call Manmohan Singh for a Prime Ministerial debate. Firstly he has projected a very forward looking image of himself to the youth of this country. Secondly as far as oratory and argumentative skills are concerned Advani is far ahead of Mahmohan Singh. We all know McCain on stage was no match for Obama when it came to debates and looked like a poor competitor. Thus in such a debate Advani will come out as the winner.

In this elections such a debate seem quite unlikely. But Advani's idea is forward looking in nature and should be considered seriously for the future elections both at the state as well as the centre. After all the common man would love to see their politicians brush up their knowledge of the country before coming on the small screen for such debates.


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