Saturday, October 12, 2013

From ‘The Namo Story. A Political life’ by Kingshuk Nag

I have discovered strangely; most of Modi’s fans are not known to him at personal level. Those who do, mistrust his ambition. Modi is highly individualistic and has no friends or family that he is close to. He lives alone and even his mother, who resides with his brother in Gandhinagar, does not come to stay with him. In India, this seems a trifle surprising. But as I said, Modi is unique.

…‘Jyotigram village scheme’ to provide electricity to the state’s 18,065 villages by 2003. The villages were to have assured power supply but they would have to pay for it. Even Modi’s critics concede that the project was a success.

A lot of myths around Modi and his economic prowess are based on half-truths and gross exaggerations.

….vote share of the Congress party in the 2004 and 2009 elections: 26.53 per cent and 28.55 per cent respectively.….Muslims make up nearly 15 per cent of the electorate (as per the latest estimates). With Modi being projected as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Congress circles believe that Muslims will vote for the Congress with a vengeance. To get another 15 per cent is not that difficult a proposition and garnering a total of 30 per cent is not such a great deal, feel Congress leaders. In fact, the victory of the Congress-led alliance in both 2004 and 2009, is attributed to the votes that it got from Muslims.

In all the three assembly elections in Gujarat (2002, 2007, and 2012), the BJP garnered 50 per cent of all the votes polled.

‘Vajpayee’s oratory was humorous, often poking fun at himself, full of words of wisdom and very enjoyable to hear, but Modi’s oration is fully charged and often hits opponents below the belt,’ says a journalist….

If there is any prime minister of India that Modi can be compared to, it is Indira Gandhi. She began as an underdog, but powered her way to the top, destroying the old syndicate that controlled Congress politics up to then. She was also a demagogue, capable of decisive action and a great maneuverer. Ditto for Modi. Indira too connected with the massses directly, bypassing the political executive. The same is the case with Modi in Gujarat, the only place where he has been tested so far.

Having witnessed the [post-Godhra] riots closely, I can say with authority that any government that showed such indifference in controlling the carnage elsewhere in the country would have been dismissed immediately and the state put under President’s Rule.

Interestingly and unlike many other parts of India where Muslims have Urdu as their mother tongue, the Gujarati Muslim speaks Gujarati. Except for the meat they eat, Gujarati Muslim food is also the same as that of his Hindu counterpart. ‘In that sense, the Gujarati Muslim is integrated into Gujarat’s society. And yet, ‘Gujarati Asmita’ …does not include the Gujarati Muslim’

‘When you know somebody closely, you learn to trust him. If you do not know him, fear preys on your mind and out of this fear arises insecurity. Precisely that has happened in Gujarat… There has been no Ganga-Jamuna confluence of cultures, like in Northern India…..  Gujarat’s long coastline has always bred a sense of entrepreneurship and commerce in its people. That is why there has been a Hindu-Muslim business engagement,…..’
The fact that the Gujaratis have always been a mercantile community also means…..Very few people want to join the military or the police….. Had the Gujaratis been a strong martial race, it is possible that this feeling of insecurity would not have taken root easily, feel many observers.
Other than this insecurity and the resultant inability to include the Muslims as an integral part of society, Gujarat is an ideal place. Outsiders who have lived in Gujarat say that they have never felt out of place in the state.

….almost everybody agrees that Modi hits opponents below the belt and resorts to cheap humour that titillates, but is not expected of a person so high in public life. ‘To that extent, he has not overgrown his mofussil days. Such cheap diatribes are lapped up by rural crowds,’ says a minister in his government.

Analysts think that Modi excels in an adversarial role; where there is a foe to vanquish. That is why he always requires an enemy.

Those most skeptical of Modi and his ways, however, agree that under his rule, petty bureaucratic corruption has been reduced.

No comments: