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Whitewashing Modi for the National stage

Whitewashing Modi for the National stage

 

 

Narendra Modi is as much a prisoner of his support base as he is of his iconic image as the mascot of aggressive Hindutva.   Sometime back, speaking of Maoists, he said they were “our own people” which fact we mustn’t lose sight of in dealing with them.  There was a shrill hue & cry from his vast troll following on twitter as the press flashed the news.  Within a few hours Modi had to recant attributing the statement to a misunderstanding.  But if he is indeed a prisoner of his support base, then the prison is one of his own making.

 

 

Ten years is a long time to let bygone be bygones.  We Indians are anything if not forgiving.  Indira Gandhi was rehabilitated in less than five years after her rejection for the emergency she had imposed.  So if Modi is still unacceptable to a large majority of Indians outside Gujarat, the reason owes a lot to the perception that Modi has no regret for the carnage that occurred in Gujarat in 2002.  Instead he appears eager to wear it as badge of honor to massage his support base.  How can you forgive somebody who has not shown the slightest remorse for the tragedy that he failed to prevent?  How can one forget that 10 years after the tragedy, his Government selectively ignores the plight of victims and denies them just compensation, relief and rehabilitation?

 

 

Yet the attempt to whitewash Modi and present him as BJP’s national offering is well underway. Most of the argument coming from his supporters for his rehabilitation centers around two issues.  Firstly, that Modi has done a good job in providing a clean and efficient government in Gujarat stepping up its economic rate of growth.  Secondly, Modi’s detractors are unfairly targeting him and his vilification needs to stop.  After all, the nation forgave Congress the 1984 riots, so why can’t the same be done for BJP’s Modi.  Doesn’t Congress’ sponsored massacre of Sikhs in 1984 offset BJP’s pogrom of murdering Muslims in 2002?   Why should the BJP be unfairly hounded if Congress can be forgiven?  In the process there is an unsubstantiated assumption that Modi has hit upon some secret formula for economic reforms and growth that only remains to be implanted by his hands at the center.

 

 

 

Firstly, the growth story in Gujarat is nothing new.  Ever since its inception as a separate state from Maharashtra, Gujarat has been the second best performing State in terms of almost all development parameters.  If anything, purely in terms of growth, under Modi Gujarat has stepped up the trend growth rate from 11% pa to about 14% pa.  That is appreciable but nothing like the miracle it is touted to be.  However, one of the biggest developmental projects in the state, nay India, the Sardar Sarvovar Dam, was completed just as Modi came to power.  The dam changed the face of agriculture in the arid areas of Gujarat brining agricultural growth and prosperity to some of the poorest regions of Gujarat.  Modi had little to do with setting up the dam or fighting for its completion.  His predecessors did the hard work for the dam. Modi merely presided over the benefits.  Modi’s supporters, and indeed the national media, never stop to look beyond the headlines to determine where the growth in Gujarat is really coming from.

 

 

This not to deny that Modi runs a clean administration compared to most other States.  Gujarat’s single window clearance for industrial projects is a worthy initiative.  Nevertheless, to stretch that to assume Modi doesn’t need funding from the usual suspects to run and nurture his party or cater to the needs of his supporters is pure hogwash.  Modi hasn’t invented any new method of governance that either eliminates corruption or takes the State out of the business of businesses.  Nor has Modi’s record on economic reforms been exemplary.  In fact his Government has been at the forefront of blocking reforms.  He has held up the implementation of GST.  He opposed FDI in retail.  Apart from a certain efficacy in land acquisition, where some of the dubious deals like the allocation of a community water reservoir to Nirma, are coming apart, there isn’t much to showcase Modi as a reformer. On the whole Modi may be a good administrator but he is not the keen economic reformer that India needs.

 

 

 

Talking of being a good administrator, what is good governance?  The first duty, some would argue the only duty, of a government is to protect the life, liberty and property of all its citizens.  So long as a Government does that properly, the citizens themselves take care of growth.  Is it not that belief that underlies all economic reforms?  If so why are we tom-toming Gujarat Government’s role in development?  That’s not its business.  Its business is protecting the life liberty and property of its citizens.  Where does Modi stand on this issue?

 

 

The case against Modi is not that he is criminally culpable for the riots.  The case against him he is that he failed to anticipate and control the riots through various acts of omission and commission.  The standard of proof required to test him is not the “proven beyond reasonable doubt” kind required for a criminal conviction.  How do we judge if the District Collector of a district has done all that was required of him to maintain law and order before taking administrative action against him?  Are Collectors taken to court and does a judge pronounce on the their guilt or is such an assessment made by the collector’s superiors in the executive branch on a balance of evidence available to them?  Did Modi do enough to control the riots is not a question for the courts.  It was a question for his then superiors; viz. the Prime Minister acting through the Governor.  What did Atal Bihari Vajpayee have to say about Modi’s handling of the riots?

 

 

It is a matter of public record that the PM was extremely unhappy with Modi’s handling of the riots and the aftermath.  He admonished Modi in a public meeting in Gujarat.  He expressed his unhappiness in a party enclave in Mumbai where Modi supporters booed him.  Electoral politics prevailed over the PM’s unhappiness and instead of Modi stepping down to facilitate an impartial inquiry into the riots, as was the prevailing norm until then, Modi was allowed to continue and lead the party in state elections.  The rest is history.  Democracy failed in Gujarat because rule of law was given short shrift in preference to electoral politics.  In a democracy rule of law must always have precedence over electoral politics.  Else the paradox that we face in Gujarat becomes the norm.  Is there any doubt that Modi botched his job in the 2002 riots?

 

 

Ten years after the riots Modi’s barely concealed animus for the victims of the riots is there for all to see.  They have been denied justice.  Instead of facilitating an impartial inquiry into the riots Modi has done his best to subvert them, even destroying evidence in the process.  Upright police officers are being hounded.  Victims have been denied compensation and rehabilitation.  Their properties snatched or destroyed during the riots including shops and the like have not been restored.  Does that appear to be the behavior of a concerned CM who erred but is anxious to restore peace and harmony and redress grievances?  Contrast Modi’s behavior with any other riot elsewhere.  Never has a CM so brazenly defied every cannon in the administrative books about what needs to be done post-riots to rehabilitate people.  Modi in fact wears this as his badge of honor.  It is his ticket to the rabble that so vociferously supports him.

 

 

Distrusted and shunned by his own party, Modi needs the support of the extreme right within his party to climb up the organization and claim the right to represent it in the prime ministerial stakes.  Before Modi has cemented his claim as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, he can neither be contrite about the 2002 riots nor reach out to the minorities in a spirit of forgive and forget.  His Sadbhavana fasts were just a test of how far his support base would let him go in softening his hard Hinditva image. Modi will have to make amends for the 2002 riots if he wants to play larger role in the nations politics.  There is little doubt that he will do so after he is sure about his place in the BJP scheme of things which are far from clear now.  How far he can carry conviction with the people outside Gujarat is a matter for conjecture.

 

 

The Modi affair is not about any high principle but simple cynical politics.  If his detractors are no angels Modi is no paragon of virtue even by our lax standards for politicians.  Ours is a young democracy, rather half-baked.  We have still not understood that democracy simply cannot survive without rule of law taking precedence over politics.  Modi personifies the paradox that we as a society are not yet ready to deal with.  Just as 1984 has been used to justify 2002, there will be another Modi elsewhere getting ready to justify his pogrom for a ticket to electoral nirvana.  The danger is that with each such strain, the fabric of our young polity is stretched beyond its endurance.

 

 

We may not succeed in stopping the Modi or the phenomenon that he embodies.  Nevertheless, if our secular democracy is to have a future, we much strain every nerve to see that justice is not only done but also seen to be done. What is important is not that Modi be stopped.  What is critical is that the minorities be reassured that the majority will not allow its extremist members to discriminate against minorities nor allow their rights to be compromised.  This battle is not about Modi.  It is about cementing our future as open, just, liberal society.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Truth does not hurt
    February 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Amongst 1 of the best reads ever on Mr Narendra Modi. Can’t agree more.

    You have rightly mentioned till Modi did not resignedthe precedence was to resign and a new dangerous one has been set. Don’t quit and finish thenlaw and order structure and then let the courts resign. Hope Modi remains the last CM who did not resign even after so much had happened. Let’s wish India well.

    Growth story needs to be questioned for 2 ; intent and second content. If the growth story is to camouflage the guilt of riots then,it has to be trashed. If its content, let facts of past and present say it.

    You are right, Modi besides single window clearance of investment proposals is not a reformer. Opposition to gst and fdi in retail are prime examples. Although, hope I am wrong and he is right.

    You have missed one point is Modi’s vilification of media and saying its a conspiracy against him. Well if not for media we wouldn’t have even known what had happened at Gujarat. My admiration for barkha Dutt and rajdeep for their top class coverage . The entire paid media theory we see on twitter etc is for the fact ,media covered Gujarat riots and still calls Development rheotaric and as bluff to escape the guilt of riots.

    Last but not the least even with a corrupt central govt, we don’t have options. Bjp is missing the point by not getting rid of Modi. India is not rss or vhp and they need to have a leadership which is acceptable to Indian as a whole and is seen as a credible right alternate to congress and it’s demerits. Till it does it,it’s rip bjp’s hopes for coming back to power.

  2. Raj
    February 26, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Very well written. Infact modi should be in jail for all this but they are projecting him as next PM. Shame

  3. Som
    February 26, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Great piece. Mass murderer will always remain a mass murderer.

  4. February 26, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Within two years of the anti-Muslim Riots Modi’s appeal dwindled as the Congress came up from behind to match the BJP with 12 seats of its own…Modi had gone incommunicado soon after….the euphoria of the rioters had gone….it was only then that Modi started harping on the development issue…. Poor Vajpayee who had been doing well…. had to pay the price…the Allies of the NDA were decimated …Mamata Banerjee lost 10 seat in Bengal, winning only her own with a thin margin…… while the TDP was wiped out in AP….even the most stable ally JDU(U) doesn’t want Modi to campaign in Bihar..remember the tiff with Nitish….that speaks volume about his appeal in states outside Gujarat…BJP leaders in UP do not want him to campaign in their state as it may consolidate the Anti-BJP vote….and bring the Congress and the SP closer…
    In 1998, the BJP had to present the more moderate Vajpayee as its PM candidate… Modi will only strengthen the Anti BJP vote and help consolidate a Congress Front…the Congress must be secretly praying that the BJP fields him as their PM candidate… once he is in the foray….parties like TMC, TDP, will fall in line either supporting the Congress on forging a Third Front…this ‘Modi for PM’ campaign is being run by people like Arun Jaitley Pvt. Ltd a few journos thrown …who have never won elections and will never fight elections…his Sadhbhavana Yatra is but a attempt to position himself as a potential PM candidate….but the BJP Central Leadership knows the BJP will need the NDA to whom Modi will be an anathema…
    If the BJP projects him as PM candidate …it will a unique situation…where the NDA partners will ask the BJP PM candidate not to campaign in their state!
    Modi won Gujarat but lost India….he will go down in history as the PM India never had…which is a long list…but that’s another matter

  5. Kalpana
    February 26, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Dear if you have any problem with him move on. Move on to pakistan you bloody muslims. Majority like him and he’s a Hero

  6. wanderer
    February 26, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    I would be interested in knowing how many times have you personally been to Gujarat before 2001 and in the last ten years, and if your opinion about Gujarat, its development and communal harmony (or lack of it) under Modi’s rule is based out of personal first-hand research or mere media reports. Without this vital piece of information, the entire write-up is not worth spending a minute on.

  7. Avinash
    February 26, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    The analysis of the gujrat growth story is simply deplorable to say the least.No wonder it results from a biased point of view..Hence,its advisable to carry out your research properly.

  8. abc
    February 26, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    hey genius, how about the point that he has won 2 elections comprehensively and has almost no corruption cases against him..I guess these should be a bare minimum is any “whitewashing” effort

  9. Roy
    February 27, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Well in democracy real whitewash is elections. So I think 2 times it’s done since 2002. Time has come to stop demonize him for the interest of communal harmony.

  10. Hate Secessionists
    February 27, 2012 at 1:07 am

    D company is busy!

  11. Dhiren Sayar
    February 27, 2012 at 1:50 am

    1984 Sikh riots was far more serious in nature just on the basis of sheer causality! No Congressman are convicted for this ghastly act. on this two account 1984 & 2002 can be compared, but there are startling difference too. Riots were stopped just by a whistle blowing from then PM late Rajiv Gandhi & the all accused never got any post in govt there after. Modi has continued for last 10 years & now inspiring to be PM. It’s these two aspect which make BJP & Congress different.

  12. February 27, 2012 at 4:26 am

    Nice thoughts!!!

  13. indian
    February 27, 2012 at 5:18 am

    The lady(I suppose!) has written to please her congress masters.Her job has been doing the same in social media.Malign Modi to help congress.She is a congress writer who finds faults with BJP and other parties except congress.Now the SIT report has given clean chit to Modi which is clear indication that NGO heads in gujarath and outside,media heads continuosly supported manufactured evidence against Modi.This has has worried many like the author.An MSM channel’s white head went to gujarath and met some muslim community,cried before the camera to remind you 2002 riots was Modi’s handiwork.If you have watched him doing the program,it looks silly attempt to tarnish image of Modi who successfully built in last 20yrs through development in Gujarath.This has has shaken secular trumptets like sonali.Worried that that their luxurious life is over once Modi comes to national politics.These people are biggest hurdles to the society and developing India.Such people should be thrown out of the country!

  14. abhinav pandya
    February 27, 2012 at 5:29 am

    why r u after mr modi.riots have taken at odr places also n smetimes the situation can nt be controlled.in raj also govt had to kill 120 gujjars in gujjar agitation.

  15. manju
    February 27, 2012 at 5:33 am

    It is the conspiracy by the congress and its media ally. congress desperately trying to stop namo from being a pm candidate. so called sickular media created such an image to modi. at the first the media telling he take part in riots now when court judgements coming out ,the peoples knowing the truth. now the media is barking about he didn’t prevent, he didn’t ask sorry and all. no one is coming with facts simply barking…!!!the people clearly understand what happened and trying to move on. you peoples get daily bread from riots so no one can stop you. At the same time no sickular media talk about 84 riots and how many brought to book.

    the anti modi industry also doing rejecting or bullying the development mark by Gujarat at the same time they fail to give reasons why industries entering the Gujarat and why other states not marking same to Gujarat.?

    And also discuss the rahuls credibility and ability to be a pm. ..

    now a days this kind of bashing increasing because the Gujarat assembly election at the end of this year.. all the best you sickukars…:-)

  16. saquib
    February 27, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Excellent Write up.Only a few People can understand from where to start writing, unraveling and exposing this dogma of ‘Modi has done this, done that …’.Your ‘his secret formula thing’ , and invented a new governing method to bypass corruption etc. were quite insightful.

  17. Indignant
    February 27, 2012 at 6:05 am

    How about electricity to every village? Broadband connectivity to every village? Why do you forget that? If you want to dish on him, its fine. But there are projects that Modi alone can takeup and see through completion. There is a reason we vote him in term after term. Please come here and you will see. The problem is that many commentators are taken on the band wagon of Modi is evil. In all this coverage to the rest of India, we the people of Gujrat are never represented. We see the usual suspects on tv (on both sides). Do not forget that there are people here too.
    We have voted. How come the rest of the country can have a democratic process and our chosen leader is said to be bad. Are you saying we are all bad people? Please think. Come here and you will know.

  18. Farhan
    February 27, 2012 at 10:49 am

    I did not have words to explain this to anyone,, this will be a wonderful piece for understanding the reality for all moderate minded .. Very articulate and hitting the core of the matter and reflecting the multi dimensional effect on the society and polity..

  19. February 27, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Quoting you..
    “Most of the argument coming from his supporters for his rehabilitation centers around two issues. Firstly, that Modi has done a good job in providing a clean and efficient government in Gujarat stepping up its economic rate of growth. Secondly, Modi’s detractors are unfairly targeting him and his vilification needs to stop. After all, the nation forgave Congress the 1984 riots, so why can’t the same be done for BJP’s Modi. Doesn’t Congress’ sponsored massacre of Sikhs in 1984 offset BJP’s pogrom of murdering Muslims in 2002? Why should the BJP be unfairly hounded if Congress can be forgiven? ”

    While you provide arguments (debatable) on the first point, I couldn’t find a single argument regarding second point..

    Why is Modi singled out? Why havnt we seen the so-called Secular media running programs on 25 years after 84 Sikh riots? Has the justice been served to victims of 84 riots? Has the Congress party apologized for the riots of 84?

    You can choose to dismiss me as a troll (one-who-disagrees-with-your-view) or help explain why Modi is so special?

  20. vivek
    February 27, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Does not deserve a reading to be honest, i don think you can see truth from all the angles..And your understanding and knowledge on this subject is very little.I am not talking whether modi is right OR wrong, but your understanding in general.

  21. February 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    gudone…

  22. Shailesh sharma
    February 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Is there any channel or any documentary or any written news about SHREEMATI INDIRA’s sikh homicide??? Y??

    Development: wasn’t maharashtra also a well developing state?? Whats the status now?? Also after 4-5 years you’ll say bihar was heaven???

    Admin: The biggest failure of admin is in centre today!!! U have no quest for them??

    Now u’ll call me a troll thanks if u think i’ll become so. But what abt a person like u who never revealed the real identity?? R u a real indian?? Write a novel for all my quest to!

  23. March 5, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Right at points…but overall way too many assumptions… having read some of your blogs earlier…will have expected a better re-searched piece then the one you have hashed together….

    No defending the fact that he botched it up – how much of it was planned or otherwise we will never know…. 2 points worth considering and researching on (not sure what the inferences would be, if one dived the depths (1) he does not have a strong support base with the extreme right – they have enough reasons to be unhappy with him (2)just as much as he inherited a growth state – he inherited a highly communal state – with a long history of communal riots… why there have been none since 2002

    Do the two point absolve him of anything? not sure it does – but are points worth being studied…

    As for what happened or did not – it is far too clouded – where in every one has their own axe to grind…

  24. July 4, 2012 at 5:27 am

    have u heard of a village with WiFI, CCTV cameras, Solar Lamps. Read this report in CNN IBN run by Rajdeep Sardesai the man who loves to hate Modi – http://ibnlive.in.com/news/gujarat-village-with-24hr-wifi-cctv-cameras/269059-3.html. Why did the Congress do it in 65 years?

  25. August 2, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Mumbai has sufferred bomb blasts in 1993, 2003, 2006, 2011 and 26/11/. 1993 matter pending before Supreme Court. 2003 matter pending before HC for decision. 2006 trial going on snails pace. Don Abu Salem was extradicted from Portugal atleast 8 years ago. YET THERE IS NO CASE OF CONVICTION. Maharastra’s courts and the Supreme Court is too busy with Gujarat cases that they do not have the time to convict those responsible for blasts where more than a thousand died and injured! Author forgets this and keeps on talking about Modi.

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