What Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said about the Congress in the BJP National Council meeting (“Modi tears into ‘family,’ calls Manmohan nightwatchman,” March 4) is nothing but the truth. Many Congresspersons admit to the stark and unpleasant facts in private but lack the moral fibre to confront and correct them. The Congress leaders’ responses to Mr. Modi are bereft of substance.
This refers to the editorial “The Modi project” (March 4). Indian politics is driven neither by ideology nor ideals. It continues to revolve around personas; leaders become larger than life and the nation. UPA Ministers commence their speech by expressing ‘gratitude’ to Sonia Gandhi. BJP leaders and followers sing endless paeans to Mr. Modi. The situation is no different in other political parties.
The common man has now a direct experience of what has been delivered to him during a decade’s uninterrupted rule of the UPA and also knows who benefited from the scams and scandals that rocked the nation. I do not think he minds handing over power to another combination.
While the mainstream English print media and secularised parties do not hesitate to go hammer and tongs at Mr. Modi, citing the Gujarat riots, they wink at the 1984 Sikh massacre and the unceremonious exodus of Kashmiri Pandits.
The Congress used the power vacuum that followed Independence to come to power. People had no hesitation voting for Congress leaders, most of whom were freedom fighters. Nehru stabilised our democracy and the country repaid his family handsomely with two prime ministerial jobs.
Today, corruption has engulfed the country like a virus. Mr. Modi is right in saying the Congress is like termites eating away the nation.
Although Mr. Modi has been accused of involvement in the Gujarat riots, we have no charismatic leader other than him. That is why BJP leader Rajnath Singh himself finds it necessary to appreciate him.
Mr. Modi’s description of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a nightwatchman is objectionable. Although the Opposition has every right to criticise the ruling party, addressing a leader who represents the whole nation in such a derogatory manner is unacceptable.
If Mr. Modi thinks he is endearing himself to the masses by denigrating the Prime Minister, he is living in a fool’s paradise. In a multi-party democracy, political differences and rivalries between top leaders are common but these cannot be allowed to degenerate into personal vilification.
It is a measure of the intellectual, political and moral bankruptcy of the BJP that it is reduced to eulogising a leader who by any account is divisive and sectarian. The party’s frustration and fears at its electoral prospects are evident.
While punch dialogues might work in B-grade movies, Indian democracy has matured and will ignore demagogy and counter demagogy. What we want is a critique of policies pursued or not pursued by the government.
A national party leader unleashing an attack on a family to get political mileage is in bad taste. Mr. Modi has enough ammunition to attack the UPA government’s poor governance. Saying things to get applause from party workers, throwing political decency to the winds, will create an adverse impact on people’s minds.
C. Petson Peter,
Does the character assassination of one’s adversary raise one’s stature? Should a “PM in waiting” call the Congress ‘termite,’ instead of attacking its policies and programmes? Did not Atal Bihari Vajpayee express his displeasure over the post-Godhra riots of 2002? The BJP is doing a signal disservice to the nation by elevating Mr. Modi, a known Muslim baiter and an autocrat.
It will be to the advantage of the UPA if Mr. Modi is projected as the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate in 2014. Secular India will certainly not want an India along the Gujarat model but would prefer development with inclusive growth.
Whoever is projected as the prime ministerial candidate in 2014, it is clear that no party will get a majority to form a government. The bigger parties will have to dance to the tunes of regional parties. And the regional parties will demand a lion’s share in the ministry.
E. Rajakumar Arulanandham,