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Updated: December 16, 2012 03:39 IST

Figuring out the Modi speed machine

Vidya Subrahmaniam
Comment (46)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
The Hindu

Rural Gujarat is in distress and today more and more people seem willing to speak out against Narendra Modi. Yet even his detractors say he will win

You should go to Gujarat only if you can will yourself to dismiss the contrarian signals: Because in the land of Narendra Modi, anything that mars the big picture, which is Narendra Modi himself, can be a red herring.

So much so, even the grouch with the litany of complaints — oh yes, he exists and his tribe is growing — will say in the end that much as he wishes otherwise, nothing can stop the three-time Chief minister from winning again. Apparently, the only point of curiosity in election 2012 is whether Modi will hold his current tally of 117 of 182 Assembly seats or fall behind it and, if the latter, by how much.

The 2007 scenario

I stepped into the Modi minefield in the 2007 Assembly election when the theoretical odds seemed stacked against the Chief Minister. In September of that year, Saurashtra, accounting for 54 seats, had risen in revolt against Modi; in a spectacle quite at odds with the picture of bounty and happiness that was Gujarat in the publicity brochures, over 5 lakh farmers had gathered in Rajkot, denouncing the Chief Minister for leaving them to rot while he ministered to the business-affluent classes. “We will finish you,” the milling, surging crowds vowed, their war-cry echoing off the power corridors of Gandhinagar.

As elections neared, the underclass, their wretchedness revealed in their tattered clothing and the lines on their faces, turned up in hordes to hear Sonia Gandhi. The numbers, formed by Gujarat’s poor, Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims, seemed ranged on her side. This not counting Modi’s own not inconsiderable problems. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, whose cadre worked on the ground to deliver votes to the Bharatiya Janata Party, was deeply discomfited by the growing personality cult around Gujarat’s Chief Minister: The sangh’s once disciplined, devoted foot-soldier was now an icon who inspired hysteria and revelled in it too. An influential local RSS leader told me that Modi had crossed the line on a fundamental sangh belief: vyakti se paksh mahan, paksh se desh mahan (party is greater than person, country is greater than party). Modi as an autonomous power centre also upset sections of the administration, from ministers and bureaucrats to lower level staff, police personnel and teachers. The latter manned the election machinery and conventional wisdom had it that you didn’t win elections by alienating them.

On the other hand, there was Modi’s incredible chemistry with the voters, visible at all his rallies. They wore Modi masks, waved his posters and roared in approval as he made off-colour jokes about Sonia and the Congress. On counting day, the arithmetic came apart. The policeman who had called up a day earlier to tell me “Hitler is losing,” was untraceable. The RSS was numb with shock, and most unbelievably, it was a near clean-sweep for Modi in dissenting Saurashtra. Like Indira Gandhi, Modi had dispensed with party and government — in his case also the sangh — and connected directly with the people. The crowds that attended the Congress chief’s rallies had no one to vote for in the Congress whose local leadership was diminished even more by Modi’s towering presence.

Returning to Gujarat five years later, I’m struck by the far wider rich-poor gulf. Ahmedabad exemplifies Shining Gujarat, with showrooms and shopping plazas to rival the best in Europe. The beautified Sabarmati Riverfront is a captivating sight that is the regime’s newest pride. Happy stories greet the visiting journalist on the mofussil stops along the super highway from the State Capital to Rajkot in Saurashtra. “Narendrabhai, Narendrabhai” chant little children as their parents gush about the rewards of having Modi as Chief Minister: uninterrupted power supply, adequate water, pucca roads, houses, strife and fear-free environment and, above all, a leader who fans the fires of Gujarati asmita (identity) . At Sangani in Chotila, Sarpanch Waghabhai Danabhai describes Modi as a God-send to Gujarat. Next door, Bharatbhai, who is unemployed, gives Modi 130 seats, up 13 from 2007, and insists that after this election, he would be unstoppable on the road to Delhi and Prime Ministership. Bharatbhai is unbothered by his own jobless state.

Off the highway into rural Saurashtra, the narrative changes gradually, yet dramatically — from striking prosperity and raging Modi-mania to poorer habitations and robust Modi-bashing. This is also Keshubhai country. The BJP veteran and now leader of the Gujarat Parivartan Party, had sided with the Congress in 2007 only for his dream to go up in smoke. His Leva Patel community preferred Modi to the Congress. Now his hope is that the GPP will tap into the anger which had no outlet then.

Indeed, in the deeper interiors the shine entirely comes off Gujarat’s magnificent bijli, paani, sadak (power, water, roads) story, told and retold by Modi, and magnified online and offline by his manic fan clubs. Patchy and potholed roads are quite the norm here. The villages here could be from impoverished Uttar Pradesh, judging by the dusty, arid landscape, rundown homes, dark, dank shops, and turbaned men sitting around in groups, their foreheads creased in anxiety over the persistent drought conditions and what that means for their cotton crop. The luckier villages here get water once in three days for 15-odd minutes, others wait up to a week or more. Modi has promised a massive irrigation project for the region but what looms large for now is acute water scarcity made worse by reduced job prospects and runaway prices of essentials.

For Premjibhai, who works as a daily wager on the cotton fields, no water means almost no money to take home. “Vikas (development)? What vikas? Can’t you see the conditions here? Modi speaks for the rich and they speak for him. I hope Keshubhai defeats Modi but it won’t happen because Modi is too clever.”

Industrialised North Gujarat has always boasted a healthy bottom line, and this is reflected in the region’s admiration for Modi. “Sautaka (hundred per cent) he will win,” is a familiar one-liner in these parts. But here too there are strong anti-Modi voices, and as in Saurashtra, he is portrayed as the rich man’s Chief Minister without a care for the poor and the marginalised. At Nugar village in Becharaji, Mehsana, Ganpatbhai, a destitute lower-caste tailor rants against Modi, “Write this down,” he shouts, charging with his fists at the Sarpanch who tries to shut him up, “the darji jaat [tailor caste] doesn’t get plots. Modi is a capitalist surrounded by rich industrialists. And the village headmen are in league with him.” As I leave, Ganpatbhai says grumpily, “I know Modi will win.”

Scary

Why is Modi’s victory treated as a given? Is it because the Congress in Gujarat is in abject surrender? Or is it because people have been conditioned not to see beyond Modi? The magic Modi works on his audience is to be seen to be believed. Modi was scheduled to address an election meeting on October 9 at 7 p.m. in Ahmedabad. He arrived at 10 p.m. to frenzied crowds asking for more — and more. An hour earlier, BJP managers had flung poll memorabilia at them: Modi masks, Modi posters, Modi gloves, Modi T-shirts, bandana, scarves and the works. If the sight of ordinary men turning in an instant into thousands of Modis, waving thousands of Modi posters, was unnerving, the music that pumped them up — relating the gatha (story) of Gujarat and Modi — was infinitely more scary, macho, muscular and intended to induce fear and admiration.

As the crowds grew restive, the organisers pressed other resources into service: high-ranking party functionaries eulogised Modi, a folk singer compared him to Shivaji, Prithviraj Chauhan and Vivekananda. But the masked men would have none of it. “Not you, not you” they cried, as a line-up of partymen competed to paint Modi in hagiographic shades. Modi finally arrived, giving the audience their paisa-wasool moment. He mocked at Sonia and Manmohan Singh, knowing that would elicit the laughs. And he thundered and rallied — “Pradhan Mantriji, don’t you dare trifle with Gujarat” — knowing that would stir the Gujarati pride, his ever-ever formula for success.

India was Indira and Indira was India. But in Gujarat today, every Gujarati is Modi. Or so you are told by Modi himself. His blog, narendramodi.in, says: “In the by lanes of Gujarat’s towns and cities, on the fields of Gujarat, on the coasts of Gujarat, people [are] taking pride in saying one thing — Hoon to Modi No Manas Chu [I am Modi’s person!]” No BJP here. Only Modi.

As in 2007, so in 2012, perhaps more so this time: Saurashtra is angry, the RSS is openly backing Keshubhai, who now has his own party — even a few seats lost in Saurashtra would be a setback for Modi — and there is disaffection within the Gujarat administration. But 58 per cent of Gujarat is urban which is Modi’s strength. The Modi speed machine overrode all obstacles in 2007. What now? Over to December 20, 2012.

More In: Lead | Opinion

Why The Hindu is always taking a biased stand against Modi ? If it is due to the aftermath of Godhra, then such atrocities are usual all over the world. And you had never voiced against any such incidents by holding one individual responsible for all ! Please be unprejudiced.

from:  Viswanath C
Posted on: Dec 14, 2012 at 14:29 IST

Please engage a good copy editor and ensure that matters are put in simple short
sentences and not in long unwieldy one sentence paragraphs.A lot of young minds
read such things and they form an opinion that Good English is convoluted English.

from:  Russel
Posted on: Dec 14, 2012 at 14:27 IST

anyone of MODI Bhakt here can explain this? Why no Lokayukt in
gujarat? corruption charges can be bought into Assembly but when MOdi
runs it for only 20 days in a year hows that possible? why he is
spending crores of rupees this time to election if he is so popular?
how many people know that saurashtra is not asking for water for
irrigation, as of today first week of winter, They dont have even
water to drink.they get driking water once in 10 days? do you think
beautiful mall, river front and 6 lane roads are more important then
proving basic drinking water to the people. why modi has bought every
news media, TV, Paper, radio, public hoardings canvassing for BJP.
where does he get so much money? or though you may be learned but not
understood well from your grand parents what monarchy was all about 60
years back. to understand MODI, you need to live in Gujarat rural area
compromising must of the state. by the way i am "aam aadmi" not INC or
GPP person.

from:  Pratham Patel
Posted on: Dec 14, 2012 at 12:10 IST

This article is an insightful analysis into the actual ground reality in Gujarat where agrarian distress is the norm rather than exception. Despite all the hype and hoopla surrounding Modi as a messiah of development and the overwork by his publicity blitzkeirg team on the equitable development model that is being imbibed in the State worthy of emulation by the rest of the country, it all seems to be a hoax engineered to deceive the masses. Emergence of Super Malls, Multiplexes, five star hotels and High ways criss crossing the main arterial roads doesn’t mean real development. Real development can only happen through upliftment of human development index which is the real barometer for determining the standard of living. On this score, Gujarat suffers and shockingly rank worse rivaling under developed States shattering the myth of development. In leading socio-economic indicators like hunger index, malnutrition, school drop outs, female infanticide, the State’s record is abysmally poor. The deeper problem in Gujarat is that poverty is not even recognized as a problem by the Policy makers and all the voices of dissent are getting strangulated to submission by Moditva. Infact Modi teasingly remarked bout malnutrition as a result of figure consciousness of women in the State and in the process giving scant disregard to the sensitivities of the poor. Despite all the cries of rural despair gripping the State, Modi is still expected to sail through considering that Gujarat is an urban dominated State and the main opposition to Modi is in the form of a rudderless Congress which has tamely given up the fight even before it started. Afterall, what can the Congress do when its economic policies at the Centre synchronize with those of Modi at the State ? What kind of credibility it will gain when it fires missiles against Modi as being a good friend of Industrial barons at the cost of farmers, when it even retain Ministers only at the pleasure of capitalists ? But despite all these, I still feel that Modi will not win with a huge majority and he might just scrape through inspite of all the bravado that is exhibited for public consumption. You definitely do not need so much publicity and technology oriented campaigns to steer you ahead when you say your work speaks for itself. Modi is infact unraveling himself by such gimmicks.

from:  Deepak
Posted on: Dec 14, 2012 at 12:06 IST

I request Hindu Newspaper not to be biased and expect good and balanced all article irrespective of the party or Individual. After reading some articles especially on Modi for the last two or three months - it makes me to think that if Modi loses election - the hindu will celebrate more than congress.

Please provide a balanced article as am a sincere follower and reader of Hindu.

from:  Jayasankar
Posted on: Dec 14, 2012 at 11:36 IST

The GDP figures of Gujarat is robust while the socio-economic indicators of the State provide a contrarian picture. This implicitly implies that a healthy GDP doesn’t necessarily contribute to human development in a significant way. In a capitalist model and market based economy, lop sided development is the norm and all these talk of trickle down effect is just a myth being propogated by some of the proponents of the capitalist model. The problem in Gujarat like in any other Indian State is that the development has been mainly urban centric. Places like Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadadora etc., have got a facelift through massive public and private investment, while on the other hand far flung rural areas like Dang, Vapi and major regions of Saurashthara are a neglected lot where the farmers are exposed to the vagaries of monsoon and the health of small scale industries is nothing home to write about. Of late, farmer suicides have been on the rise especially in the parched areas of Saurasthara belt. Modi promised massive irrigation projects for the region, but they have remained just on paper and the 24 hour electricity that is much trumpeted about as the pinnacle of Modi’s achievement is not lightening the rural regions of the State where power cuts are frequent. In a nutshell, shining Gujarat is just a Goebbels propaganda.

from:  Venu
Posted on: Dec 14, 2012 at 10:39 IST

If Modi is found guilty of participating in 2002 Riots he must be punished and the only punishment is death penalty. However, you cannot take away credit for the hard work he has put into developing Gujarat. I have a colleague from Ahmedabad and he can't stop bragging about how much the city has developed under Modi's rule. It is surprising to see how Anti-Modi articles are published in "The Hindu" at such an alarming rate around election time in Gujarat.

from:  Pawan
Posted on: Dec 14, 2012 at 10:19 IST

It's a totally biased article. Unfortunately, it appeared in my one of
the genuine newspapers of this country.

from:  Tejaswi
Posted on: Dec 14, 2012 at 09:49 IST

I think the problem with "Modi Bashers" is the void they are feeling
and the level of un-acceptance for politicians. Modi has changed the
way people look at politicians especially the young brigade. I am
from Ahmedabad, born & brought up in Gujarat, right now staying in
Bangalore. I can definitely feel and see what is Gujarat. And the
great so called "intellectuals" who bash Modi as Business as usual
never realise that its not just Modi, its the whole system of
governance which delivers, delivery may not be perfect but it
delivers better then other states in various streams. And its not
just the government, its about the people and attitude as well. Where
do you see a 70% voter turnout during elections? So clearly people of
Gujarat are not among those who have no other business except bashing
someone who is doing atleast "something"

from:  Amit Thaker
Posted on: Dec 14, 2012 at 09:25 IST

I beg to disagree completely with the views expressed by the author. I have been living in Gujarat for 28 years and have seen first hand the transformation of the state in the last 10 years. Villages which earlier used to be synonymous with filth, lack of jobs, lack of electricity and water are now buzzing with small scale industries. There is adequate drinking water, 24 hours electricity and the roads and lanes are cleaned regularly.
It is one thing if someone has reservations on Mr. Modi's style of functioning; but when the basis of one's arguement is based on factual incorrectness and lack of knowledge of the facts on the ground, it is unacceptable, indeed unfortunate.

from:  Abhiram
Posted on: Dec 14, 2012 at 09:20 IST

Gujarat was already the fastest growing state for more than a decade before Modi took
charge in 2001. But, probably due to gujaratis' magnanimity to not claim credits and dye to
modi's tactics of claiming credits where none exists, gujarat growth story has become
synonymous with Modi.

from:  Karthik
Posted on: Dec 14, 2012 at 08:59 IST

Every article that I read in the Hindu about Modi has been against him, clearly written with a prejudiced intent. I thought the Hindu is a newspaper known for its unbiased reporting.

from:  Deepak
Posted on: Dec 14, 2012 at 08:53 IST

I do not know the actual ground situation in Gujrat but don't think it would be much different to other states in the country. Then why all this targeted criticism of RICH-POOR etc. divide in Gujrat alone? Is this divide any better in Maharastra, Karnataka or any other state of India.

This article looks biased and part of bigger propaganda to make opinion against Modi government. Why there is no commendation for good administration, less corruption, better infrastructure in Gujrat as compared to rest of the India? It is one of the top 3 states in India on many counts, which are used for assessing development/growth of a state, country.

I have seen repeated articles like this in 'The Hindu' critisizing 'Narendra Modi' but no article to counter them. I can't believe that all the writers, journalists in 'The Hindu' have views against Gujarat government. All this makes me believe 'The Hindu' is not fair to Gujarat government and Mr Modi.

from:  Shelendra
Posted on: Dec 14, 2012 at 05:08 IST

The one thing I don't understand is the ranting about how poor people in
Gujarat's villages are. So what do we expect? Does Modi have a magic
wand that he will lift the entire Gujarati population of 60 million out
of poverty in 5 or 10 years? It will take time to lift millions out of
poverty and to develop infrastructure for such a vast and poor country
as ours. But at least Modi is doing a lot better than CMs in other
states and guajarat has become a model for the rest of India. After all
"andhon mein kaana raja".

from:  Rishabh
Posted on: Dec 14, 2012 at 01:11 IST

It's been around 7 years since i moved to baroda,Gujarat and i have seen
the real transformation of cities happened there under Modi's rule.

In my personal opinion, I don't think any other leaders available in
India who can visualize, bring changes to the society and work towards
the growth of the state in such a level as compared to Narendra Modi.

from:  Chidhambaram Shanmugasundaram
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 22:30 IST

(1) Rural distress in parts of Gujarat may not have received necessary
attention because the rural folks have neither the art of expressing
their resentment nor are they have media behind them. If people of
Gujarat are so happy with Mr. Narendra Modi, they should give BJP as
much as 65% of total votes. But if I am right, BJP has not so far
secured more than 50 % of total votes, despite getting a huge majority
in terms of total Assembly seats. (2) As regards Mr. Modi’s entry at
national level, just because BJP is unable to find a better candidate
than Mr. Modi, it does not mean that NDA should seriously consider Mr.
Modi’s name for PM’s post. (3) Actually, the real test is for NDA’s
alliance parties. They have to decide whether they want Mr. Modi as PM
or not.

from:  Narendra M Apte
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 21:41 IST

Yet another modi bashing article. The Hindu is trying its level best to bring down Modi. The editors must understand that the readers of The Hindu are "Critical thinkers" and they don't take the words of journalist as it is.
Agreed. The rural parts of Gujarat has problem like pot holes, bad road etc. Please show me a state in whole India where the roads are proper?
Why not draw comparison between "Banks of Sabarmati river" and "Banks of Ganges"??

from:  John
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 19:59 IST

@Shaik Rizwan Ahmed:
An popular advertisement says 'Dikhawe pe mat jao, apni akal lagao'.
Was the adminstartion poor in 2002? Yes.
Then we see Gujarat's history with major riots.. 1969 and 1985 have surprisingly similar situations and in that case also, the administration did exactly what it did in 2002. And in 1969 and 1985 the congress was in power. Do you put the onus the onus of deaths in those riots on the then CMs? If not then why single Modi out? He did exactly what those CMs did and prior to Modi Gujarat has always been riot prone. I am sure you can't say the same thing about Gujarat now.

from:  Aman
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 19:38 IST

I have lived in Gujarat for over 4 years and I can safely say that the
change is tremendous. I have seen both cities and small interior
villages. The wave of development has reached everywhere. Why cant you
all "intelligent" people look at other states in the country where
politicians are busy minting money for themselves. I am currently
living in Jharkhand and I have visited interiors here too. The
situation of people here is pathetic. No scene of development is
visible here. On the other hand Mr. Modi has worked day and night for
the development of Gujarat. Why can't you guys leave him alone and let
him do his work. I had great admiration for The Hindu but this article
is totally biased and uncalled for.

from:  Vikrant Chaplot
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 18:53 IST

Apart from being culpable of the pogrom of 2002,Modi has done a great
job in developing his bastion of Gujarat.The state is the forerunner
interms of GDP.He has led Gujarat to a place where every other state
lookst upon.His model of development is well worthy of imitating in
other states.He needs to be congratulated for this.But I cannot accept
as an able candidate for prime ministership because of his tainted
past.Also he is an active member of BJP, a party which is stuck upon
religiousity,Hindutva. If only Modi owns up the responsibility for the
Gujarat riots and renders an unconditional apology ,and BJP stops
endorsing Hindutva,I will be the first person to campaign on behalf of
Modi.But both seem to almost implausible.Which is why he will always
remain a regional leader with a regional fanbase.He has to work a lot
more to become more acceptable among the general public of rest of
India.

from:  Shaik Rizwan Ahmed
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 18:05 IST

I am sorry to say but it appears that the Hindu has deviated from its former policy of being politically neutral to become the mouthpiece of the Congress Party. Many other readers have expressed similar sentiments.

from:  krishna
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 17:23 IST

After reading the article and the comments below I realized there is always a common pattern whenever there is an article on Modi.
The author will criticize him and the commentors will loath the author. And there is no sense which get across anyone. To all those who thinks Hindu is taking sides then let me tell that its the opinion page, opinion of the author not of Hindu. and it is fine to be opinionated here rather than in news reporting.
and to the lovers of Modi, please see beyond the created image of this man. He cannot buy your sentiments your thoughts and your opinion just by giving bijli sadak pani, if he did it was his duty, it does make him some sort of a Superman and in this case I certainly hope not Neitzche's Superman.

from:  soumya
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 16:28 IST

The only thing scary is if Modi doesnt win this election.

Tamil Nadu has an average of 16 hour powercut per day

Kerala has 2 hour powercut with near zero level of industrialisation

Some north eastern states barely get 6 hours of hour per day

But during elections in these states these facts are hardly mentioned

And seriously Modi is not Lord Indra to provide rains and alleviate drought but situation in gujarat is better than in Maharashtra for farmers

from:  Raghu Ram C A
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 14:47 IST

The problems mentioned in the article are common in entire India not just Gujarat. But the growth rate in Gujarat is unparallel to that of other states in India. come to Andhra Pradesh and see the dire state in which the business community is in. There is 12 hours of power cut despite having very good rainfall. The Congress government is busy doling out stupid stuff to the 30-40% of the people who believe that its the duty of the government to give them free money(money earned by not working), free electricity(to farmers), fee reimbursement(to unqualified, substandard students). These schemes appeal those 30% parasites who suck on tax payers money. Out of the students who pursue their B-Tech/B Com with the aid given by the government only 1% get into IT field. The rest are the substandard products which the market rejects. Narendra Modi is an effective leader. Muslims have the highest percapita income in Gujarat when compared to other states.

from:  Nikhil
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 14:29 IST

This article is an insightful analysis into the actual ground reality in Gujarat where agrarian distress is the norm rather than exception. Despite all the hype and hoopla surrounding Modi as a messiah of development and the overwork by his publicity blitzkeirg team on the equitable development model that is being imbibed in the State worthy of emulation by the rest of the country, it all seems to be a hoax engineered to deceive the masses. Emergence of Super Malls, Multiplexes, five star hotels and High ways criss crossing the main arterial roads doesn’t mean real development. Real development can only happen through upliftment of human development index which is the real barometer for determining the standard of living. On this score, Gujarat suffers and shockingly rank worse rivaling under developed States shattering the myth of development. In leading socio-economic indicators like hunger index, malnutrition, school drop outs, female infanticide, the State’s record is abysmally poor. The deeper problem in Gujarat is that poverty is not even recognized as a problem by the Policy makers and all the voices of dissent are getting strangulated to submission by Moditva. Infact Modi teasingly remarked bout malnutrition as a result of figure consciousness of women in the State and in the process giving scant disregard to the sensitivities of the poor. Despite all the cries of rural despair gripping the State, Modi is still expected to sail through considering that Gujarat is an urban dominated State and the main opposition to Modi is in the form of a rudderless Congress which has tamely given up the fight even before it started. Afterall, what can the Congress do when its economic policies at the Centre synchronize with those of Modi at the State ? What kind of credibility it will gain when it fires missiles against Modi as being a good friend of Industrial barons at the cost of farmers, when it even retain Ministers only at the pleasure of capitalists ? But despite all these, I still feel that Modi will not win with a huge majority and he might just scrape through inspite of all the bravado that is exhibited for public consumption. You definitely do not need so much publicity and technology oriented campaigns to steer you ahead when you say your work speaks for itself. Modi is infact unraveling himself by such gimmicks.

from:  Suresh
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 14:21 IST

Can the author please list out other states in India where the rural economy does not have bigger issues? The current year monsoon being deficient, I am sure many states have the same issue. But when it comes to Gujarat and its CM, the comparisons are inevitably not logical but are exaggarated by so called intellectuals with a different purpose? I am sure if this was a different state and a different CM, the narrative would have been totally different and more laudatory. Overall from all the news reports and various central government statistics, it is clear that considerable all round development has happened in Gujarat but there are still some issues to be tackled like water scarcity if saurashtra when the monsoon is deficient, some of the health indicators.Overall a large percentage of the people have seen their lives & livelihoods improving. Dont understand why many of the political commentators cannot digest this fact.

from:  Jai
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 12:35 IST

Going through several articles in TheHindu, i strongly feel like i am reading party mouthpiece of INC, every single article has accused modi on every front. yes, there are praises too, but those also do not exceed 5 lines. the newspaper seems to be biased.

from:  Pranshu Pasbola
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 12:05 IST

There are two types of people in Gujarat. One is Modi's fan and one is
Modi's haters. This time in election the situation is same. Modi's fan
will give votes. MOdi's haters' vote will be divided in GPP and
Congress.
I disagree with "Leva Patel community preferred Modi to the Congress".
There were and are some big faces of Leva Patel community in congress
like Vitthal Radadiya, Dhiru Gajera, Narahari Amin (Recently joined BJP)
and many more.

from:  Brijesh
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 11:51 IST

Another desperate attempt by The Hindu to demolish the Modi phenomenon. You should introspect that while derailing Modi,have you looked at other Indian states or not? Compare the situation of Urban and Rural Gujarat 10 years ago and now and see the difference for yourself. Criticism is always welcome but a prejudiced mindset and complete contempt for a proven leader and a visionary is pretty evident here. The Hindu can do much better than that.

from:  Aditya Choudhary
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 11:39 IST

This line .. "As elections neared, the underclass, their wretchedness revealed in their tattered clothing and the lines on their faces, turned up in hordes to hear Sonia Gandhi." is enough to tell whether to believe in this article or to ignore it.

from:  Rohit Kumar
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 11:10 IST

The journalist uses the word "scary" many times in the article.. But I don’t understand what is so scary here!! Modi is a popular chief minister of Gujrat and he is busy with election campaigns. So it is but natural that he will make crowd pleasing slogans. In India, popular film stars, politicians and even some writers are worshipped. This over the top admiration and personality cult may look bit un-nerving... but what is so scary about it ? Vidya Subramaniam is definitely biased against Mody and that shows in her writings. But she fails spectacularly in justifying why it is such a bad thing for Modi to win the election!! Mod is not convicted of any crime in any court. There is not even a single case against this man so far. Many courts including Supreme Court appointed investigative team has given clean chit to Modi. So it is very unfair to target Modi and write bad things about him just because some journalists are ideologically biased. Get over it!! I would say!!

from:  Prasanth Nambiar
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 11:05 IST

Yes, Each and every gujarati is modi and modi amarao manas chhe.. ( Modi is our man). Reason behind is very simple. So called secular people have always pinpoint Gujarat for famous riots and they have hidden Godhara Incident . If they would have balanced both things Godhara Incident and post Godhara riots than i am confident situtaion would have been different .

from:  rupahasit
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 11:01 IST

The world may say anything and everything about Modi and his ways but
the fact is that Modi is the one and only person who has brought back
the confidence and pleasure of people to exercise their right to vote
as for the first time truly, the people feel that their vote is
bringing an actual impact on the living and conditions et al. The
educated class of people are also taking time to exercise their votes.
Today we feel happy and proud that Gujarat (at least in Urban locations)is free from Caste and Creed based voting. Voting in its true spirit. Bringing the correct people to power, asking them questions and getting answers with results! That's what Modi has help build in Gujarat.

from:  Rohan Bhatt
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 10:52 IST

Sad that Hindu has allowed itself to be used by Modi-baiters. My suggestion would be to trust the voters of the state to make the right decision.

Either publish both sides - the good and the bad or stay aloof.

from:  Milind
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 10:35 IST

Dear Vidya, the RSS is baking Keshubhai,RSS is aginest Modi, all these has no meaning unless you support this with proof. Can you name some of the office bearers of RSS supporting Keshubhai? Otherwise what is the difference between you and paid news TV anchors.

from:  C S Sundaresha
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 10:32 IST

If you have not experienced the way administration made to actually WORK and not to slouch in the couch, by Modi within last 10 years, my humble suggestion is please come with me to Gujarat, and I will show you every government employee is putting in his full time to work for people of Gujarat. This is the only success formula Modi has adopted; made the administration function. that's it, and you see the change.
One of my family member is teaching in the school, some 25 km away from my home town, in a village and you must appreciate the kind of events - information sharing and promotion of science, arts and maths happening through the schools. Schools are made to work and empower the children.
I would love to see "deeper interiors" of Gujarat where as you mentioned patchy, potholed roads are present. Ofcourse, there could be 10-15% roads in such states, but that you will find anywhere, waiting to be repaired.

from:  Punit
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 10:26 IST

Very well written article. The article beautifully delves into the nitty
gritty of Modi's success story. Being an urban Gujarati, i can guarantee
that he will sweep the urban seats. The question is how rural Gujarat
votes for him. Keeping my fingers crossed for 20th Dec.

from:  Prakhar
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 10:22 IST

Maharashtra has the highest number of farmer suicides in India over last decade. The rich-poor divide is maximum here, if you compare people of Mumbai or pune with those in Vidharba. Yet congress-ncp is get comfortable victories. Even so, i do not see any article painting a "scary" picture of congress in maharashtra. Sir, these recents attacks on Modi about being favouring Industrialists only, setting up huge number of industries and ignoring rural Gujarat is kind of bad for economy. Industrialization is necessary for economic development and with it does accompany rich-poor divide. But, if we paint a CM who is driving Industrial growth as anti-poor, anti-people how is our economy supposed to grow?? If people like Chandrababu Naidu are vilified, we will have Mamta bannerjee who has to think 100 times before giving green signal to any industry.

from:  Prabuddha Saha
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 09:56 IST

what is to be inferred from this editorial is that a shrewd political personality has done nothing except boasting and image building and in this way he is going to get clear mandate this time also.is it possible? if entire editorial is assumed to be correct than also its very clear that at least he has done something for the 58% urban people.Keeping in view that not a single blame of corruption,how can one malign the earned reputation in a one go. if you are this much judicious than i welcome you to continue this fairness in 2014. will you?

from:  ravi
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 09:18 IST

In your column, you seem realistic in highlighting problems and, when it comes to Mr. Modi and his popularity your reasoning is of some kind of voodoo at best. You should know that no person can gain such popularity or following over night and by not doing anything. So much so that even a series of negative articles coming out of a highly reputed news agency as yours doesn't even dent his persona. Even though it's an opinion column, high standards require that you don't entertain loose talk.

from:  Srikanth
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 09:07 IST

India needs the charisma,commitment,honesty and vision of a person like Modi to take her
forward! The current political class of people are seen by most as self serving than serving the nation. There is a general cynicism of politics and of the state of Indian democracy. Someone such as Modi may be an antidote to the generally apathetic populous.

from:  Saratchandran
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 08:53 IST

This article laboriously tries to nitpick Modi while ignoring the elephant in the room. If you choose to ignore the murderous anti-Muslim rioting in Gujarat, Modi appears to have done a decent job in Gujarat. Gujarat is consistently doing well in all socio-economic indicators including for eg. education amongst poor girls (such data of course is not segregated by how the minority communities are doing). Asking random farmers with no last names (was it Patel?) about what they think of Modi is not very scientific. It is good journalistic practice to go by what the opinion polls say and pick a sample that is representative.
A more intelligent investigation would be to find out what they think about all the evidence that is coming out about Modi or Modi's government role in the riots. Do they feel the economic situation is a good tradeoff or do they even consider it a tradeoff. How do they justify the riots?
Or is the journalist afraid of asking the truly important questions?

from:  ashokr
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 07:52 IST

Author in her hurry, blinded by unfortunate anti Modi prejudice, has become judge jury and hangman. Equally unfortunate is The Hindu has become a regular platform for people with extreme and ill-founded anti Modi views resulting in the paper losing its credibility as an impartial national new print media. Rural Gujarat is in distress and today is certainly not only due to any deficiency of the State but also due to highly skewed central economic planning. It is not without foundation Centre is often accused of collecting huge revenue from progressive states and diverts the same to black hole of backward states where it usually does not reach the needy but syphoned of corrupt intermediaries like “bribe the public with the public's money.” In India there is every incentive to be backward, higher the growth greater will be heartburn of the states not getting their proportionate due from the center Author could have highlighted this fact for her credibility.

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 06:32 IST

Dear Editor and Vidhya: Why so much antipathy towards BJP, RSS and Modi? Is there a better alternative in sight? Has the Congress done any better for our country these so many years? How many scams can you count and how many lives have been lost in the intervening years? With the rule of the Congress are we independent in any one facet of life - foreign policy, defense, food or energy? How many thousands of crores have been stashed away in the Swiss banks? It was "the Hindu" which ripped apart the Congress with the Bofors and Naina Sahini Tandoor murder stories then!

from:  Dwarakanath Srinivasan
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 06:09 IST

It will come as a surprise to most to learn that the RSS prefers Kesubhai Patel to Narendra Modi. Let us not forget that it was Kesubhai's incompetence following the the Bhuj earthquake that forced the BJP to bring in Narendra Modi to replace him. And Modi was confronted with the Godhra train burning within months of taking office and had to deal with that and the post-Godhra riots. One may crticize him, but Modi found himself in an unenviable position, which his critics cannot accept. One dreads to imagine what might have happened if Kesubhai Patel had still been CM.

After that Modi has gone from strength to strength and Kesubhai is in the wilderness. The very fact that the Congress is hoping for the discredited octogenarian to rescue it shows what shape it is in.

from:  N.S. Rajaram
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 06:02 IST

I notice that, since the last 3 - 4 days, there seems to be at least one anti-Modi article in Hindu. It is difficult not to believe that the Hindu is taking sides and also, not feel sad about it.

from:  syam
Posted on: Dec 13, 2012 at 01:59 IST
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