There could not have been a more telling statement of a power shift at the Centre. A day before the 50th death anniversary of first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru, President Pranab Mukherjee will swear in as PM a leader who has led the most successful political assault on the Nehruvian consensus, India’s governance mantra since Independence barring the NDA interlude.
Narendra Modi’s eight-month-long campaign, which culminates at 6pm today with his swearing-in as India’s 15th Prime Minister, has seen him casting himself as a legatee of fellow Gujarati Vallabhbhai Patel and insisting that the Sardar had deserved to be, and would have made a better PM than Nehru.
Modi is not coming in as a revolutionary out to upturn the established order, but there is little doubt that Rashtrapati Bhavan’s looming masonry will be witness to not just a change of regime, but perhaps a change of era and of political discourse. If the reports that have appeared in the media, including this paper, are any indication of the shape of things to come, then the 63-year-old leader can be expected to upset the status quo. For some, it promises to be exciting, for others, unsettling.