Tomorrow is election day! And I have been debating in mind who I should vote for. For the Andhra Pradesh assembly election, I was very clear from the beginning. It was going to be a vote for Aarogyasri, something which is very close to my heart. It would be a vote for Y S Rajasekhar Reddy and the Congress, never mind all the other allegations against him - corruption, indulging his family, whatever. Aarogyasri is a revolutionary concept introduced by him and I am going to vote for that.
The Lok Sabha is however different.
I was traditionally a Congress supporter till Sitaram Kesri took over many years back. I then switched over to the BJP and was a strong BJP supporter till the end of the NDA regime. I scoffed at the whole act of sacrifice by Sonia Gandhi ater the UPA got a majority in the 2004 election. But looking back at the Manmohan Singh government's tenure, I think overall they did quite a good job. Well, there were ups and downs. But by and large they did pretty well. The signing of the nuclear deal, of course, was the high point.
So, I had pretty much decided to go with the Congress.
However, over the last couple of weeks, things have changed. Not, on the ground. But in my mind. Nobody can deny - not even Congressmen - that the power behind the throne is the lady at 10, Janpath. Even when Manmohan Singh decided to say "Balls to the Left", it had to have a sign-off from Sonia Gandhi. It was pretty obvious that whatever he was doing, he had to first get approval from Sonia Gandhi. Advani's allegation that the office of the PM has been devalued during his tenure is not incorrect.
I had initially dismissed this thinking, "What was wrong with this as long as the government is doing a good job?"
But I was wrong.
The Prime Minister is the leader of the country. We need someone who is strong. Someone who can think for himself and take actions for himself. We cannot afford to have someone who is merely a rubber stamp for someone who is without any accountability. How different is Sonia Gandhi from Bal Thackeray in that respect?
The one thing that the Congress keeps harping on these days is the Kandahar episode. Granted, that might have been a mistake. They do not have anything else to talk about when it comes to Advani. Advani is definitely a stronger man than Manmohan. Well, if it had been Rahul Gandhi, probably things may have been different, his age and inexperience notwithstanding.
But as things are today, its clearly a choice between Advani and Manmohan. And I feel Advani is the stronger of the two.
So, that's about it then - vote BJP!