For many days now, I have been hearing this Modi vs Rahul and how its going to be the biggest battle in the Indian political history. Sure it is a very catchy headline for news channels with complimenting footage of the 'dimpled' prince of Congress and BJP's macho man. The comparison is too striking to be ignored.
Sure they are the mascots of their respective parties for now and also the best possible poster boys for the 2014 elections. One is blessed with an enduring brand name and a golden lineage while the other has branded himself as a synonym of development with a promise to put India on the world map.
Besides there was always a difference in the backgrounds they came from; Rahul is the youngest Gandhi scion while Modi had no roots in politics, so the BJP calls this comparison as 'dynasty vs merit' while Congress calls it their secular vs communal divide, considering Modi's alleged history.
As far as being leader material is concerned, Modi is an excellent communicator and a man of masses while Rahul still appears a little uncomfortable when in comes to large public gatherings or maybe its his carefully rehearsed speeches in Hindi that make him not so convincing.While Rahul claims to represents the aspirations of a young India, Modi roots for the 'neo-middle class'
But the irony is that both will face similar challenges. Rahul has been an absentee politician trying to woo people with his 'I am the aam admi' antic but has not been able to convince many and be a part of the real heat and dust of politics. Besides he has not really been asked to prove whether he really deserved to be the second in command of Congress and what on what merit did he get it. Modi on the other hand has the Gujarat riots albatross hanging. Though he has really tried to recast his image as this 'progressive chief minister' who is trying everything possible to put Gujarat on the world map, but the baggage of communalism and the failure to control killings of Muslims in riot remains his black spot.
Besides, there are other challenges too. Both have to come out of their respective clouts and reach out to crowds beyond their friendly audiences, which is a fairly difficult task both will have to break their barrier and reach out to 'alliances' who have become increasingly important in this era of 'collation politics'.
Whoever gets their chemistry right with the potential kingmakers like Mayawati, Mulayam, Mamata, Jayalalithaa, Pawar, Naveen Patnaik or even a Nitish Kumar will be the winner as these people have no fixed loyalities, so getting them under one umbrella will be the master stroke
So while both BJP and congress play out their strategies and gain the numbers, we can just sit back and enjoy this great 'sellout battle' till the 2014 elections.