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Opinion » Comment

Updated: December 6, 2012 01:49 IST

Insecure after all

Badri Raina
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Narendra Modi’s bravado as “vikash purush” may not move the bulk of the
electorate this time around.
PTI Narendra Modi’s bravado as “vikash purush” may not move the bulk of the electorate this time around.

With the weaknesses of Modi’s development plank now exposed, the Gujarat Chief Minister is resorting to tried and tested majoritarian communalism

Did you notice that Narendra Modi is back to his old tricks? Out of thin air, and with no context of any kind, he has chosen to insinuate that the Congress means to install Ahmed Patel as Chief Minister of Gujarat. And not just Ahmed Patel but “Ahmed Mian Patel.” Do recall his erstwhile sallies with “Mian Musharraf” and “James Michael Lyngdoh.” The idea patently is to warn the Gujarati voter that should the Congress come to power, the State would be saddled with a Muslim chief executive.

The inference ought to be that his “development” plank having been found out during the current campaign for what it is — an exclusionary exercise in benefiting the fat cats at the expense of the Adivasis, the fisherfolk, the farmers, and the minorities — Mr. Modi’s greatly hyped and advertised bravado as “vikash purush” may not be quite moving to the bulk of the Gujarat electorate this time around. Nor, as it turns out, does Gujarat seem to have been as free of corrupt crony capitalism as Modispeak would have us believe.

Hence, his unprincipled and legally questionable recourse to tried and tested majoritarian communalism.

Buried fact

Remarkably, we always seem to forget that this claim to majoritarian hegemony excludes some 47 or so per cent of Gujaratis who have consistently voted against him — a fact that remains cannily buried as far as public commentary and discourse are concerned.

Thus his claim to hold sway over “six crore” Gujaratis has always been an unfair myth insufficiently unravelled.

What remains to be seen is whether, in these days of touted stringency, the Election Commission takes notice of his blatant recourse to sectarian propaganda — “Ahmed Mian Patel” — and does what the law requires. The very recent indictment of Varun Gandhi in this respect might be a factor to consider.

It is to be expected that the Congress may approach the Election Commission in this matter; expected but not likely, for the reason that the local Congress seems terrified of fuelling polarisation among the electorate even if that means turning a Nelson’s eye to such brazen violation of the Constitution and the election laws as Mr. Modi’s statement about “Ahmed Mian Patel” entails.

Meanwhile, one well-wishing electronic channel is busy selling the idea that a “new narrative” is afoot among Gujarati Muslims — one that sensibly argues that it is best to be by Mr. Modi’s side even if the ghettoisation of the community is now an accepted fact on both sides of the divide. The Bohras and the Khojas have always had their eye on the main chance but, if the most upright and honourable Dr. J.S. Bandukwala whose house was gutted during the carnage of 2002 is to be believed, even the Bohras and Khojas are unlikely to vote Modi.

The same channel is also showcasing a young and suave Muslim lady who has gone over from the Congress to the BJP. She can be heardsaying that, after all, an ordinary BJP worker in Gujarat can get more done than a Congress MLA. The question is, done for whom?

The occurrence also recalls the sad case of Arif Mohammed Khan — a more reliable Islamic scholar than most Mullahs and a fine secular India overall — who once took what was a traumatic decision to go over to the BJP in the hope that the perpetual “Other” may be transformed from the inside and weaned from the RSS; I can’t recall whether Arif bhai is still with the BJP, but the BJP surely remains with the RSS. Leopard’s spots — they are dour.

But, to think that a politician who can at the drop of a hat stoop to such sectarian and divisive cunning — “Ahmed Mian Patel” — should be a hot favourite for the top executive job in the country may be the most damning comment on one considerable section of India’s political class and on the corporates and newly-minted elites who support them.

Paradox

The paradox is that, given the 24X7 hype over Mr. Modi, if he drops even a single seat or stays where he is the argument may be fuelled that the limits of his politics have been reached. Indeed, that conclusion may become more rampant among the BJP’s inner circles than among merely those opposed to Mr. Modi’s brand of politics. In that event, the late Madhav Singh Solanki, who once garnered 140 seats in the Gujarat Assembly, may remain the record holder beyond Mr. Modi’s prowess.

Galling thought that.

(Prof. Badri Raina is a Delhi-based writer.)

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The TV media that you are hinting about is obviously CNN-IBN. The channel has taken upon itself to convince the viewers that the Muslims in the state have forgiven Mr. Modi his sins. I am sure that it is following instructions from its corporate boss Mr. Mukesh Ambani. Mr. Modi doesn't need this as he will hands down in any case. All that is required in a democracy is a majority vote count. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, one can establish a totalitarian regime, suppress minorities and still remain democratic.
"The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones"-William Shakespeare.

from:  Yunus Sait
Posted on: Dec 7, 2012 at 14:58 IST

Given the 2002 riot history I too would think long and hard before deciding to vote for Modi. But by taking an one-sided and highly biased campaign against Modi The Hindu is losing its credibility and image as fact based media organization.

from:  Suvojit Dutta
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 22:56 IST

After reading the article I am a bit confused as to who's feeling
insecure Mr Modi or the writer.Don't demonize Mr Modi after all he is
not Mr invincible. So long as the people of Gujarat has faith in his
leadership he will be there.As for his prime-ministerial ambition he
will be stopped in his tracks by none other than BJP central leader
ship and other NDA allies.So the writer need not feel insecure about
Mr Modi becoming PM.

from:  Ramakrishnan P
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 22:15 IST

Whenever a politician has to resort to communalism, it is a sure shot
sign of attempts to take focus off the real issues. It's unbelievable
how so many people still keep falling for it by helping politicians
change the terms of the national debate.

from:  Aditya
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 20:37 IST

the question is not whether mr. modi 'developed' gujarat or not. the article's main emphasis is regarding a misleading statement by mr. modi. however tall, as some sections of the media and modi supprters claim him to be, mr. modi has shown his narrow mindedness by the patel statement. as far as development og gujarat is concerened, its industrial belts and areas are the most polluted in the country. it may be interesting to know that gujarat is the cancer capital of the country.

from:  Suresh Melettukochy
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 12:44 IST

There is an incentive for world media to portray modi as effective since
he is pro-market. Nothing else matters for the rest of the world. I
would trust the hindu more than the strait or any other western news
agency.
However, I am not concluding that modi is bad, but we need to understand
both sides of the argument.

from:  arithar
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 11:07 IST

Here comes another one sided article. Author has just pointed out one side of the coin. You can endlessly dig out "wrong" from any statement or any development.
This article seems to be politically motivated and meant for misguiding the Aam Aadmi who almost always turns to "THE HINDU" for genuine facts and views...!!

from:  Abishek Kumar
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 10:52 IST

Supporters of Modi are motivated by only one thing which is their
assumption that he is capable of showing minorities their place. Their
mindset routinely gets exposed whenever there is a discussion around
Kasab (Now that he is no more it is Afzal) or India plays cricket
against Pakistan. If Modi is feeling insecure it certainly is not
because his development plank is exposed but now he is confronted with a
formidable opponent in Keshubhai Patel and also he has to counter
challenges from the wives of Hiran Pandya and Sanjiv Bhatt.

from:  Baikadi Suryanarayana Rao
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 09:50 IST

The Hindu is back to its old tricks, encouraging the anti-Modi writers, this is the second one in a row.

from:  Ratnakar
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 08:35 IST

Is it media playing politics or politics is playing media?
This is a very common topic these days in Hindu.We miss Ram.

from:  Ashok
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 08:17 IST

Sad to see such an article in The Hindu. I have seen Gujarat, its unlike the capital (both national and financial). Its developed and is still developing. I dont see people begging on streets like in bangalore. I dont see traffic jams like in bangalore. i dont see people fighting like dogs for power like in bangalore. i dont see the inflation and its ill effects as in every other metro. If 47% people have consistently voted against him, you better question their integrity. And whom to vote for if not Modi? Congress? the party which is involved in every scam?

from:  Nagaraj
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 08:15 IST

The author's argument that Modi does is not a representative of 47% population is utterly ridiculous. By the authors argument, Dr. Manmohan Singh does not represent about 63% population of India as they never voted for him (UPA vote share was 37%)! Then the same holds for all PMs and CMs ever elected. Even if Mr. Modi received 53% votes, he is an elected representative of all Gujaratis as per the rules laid by our very constitution.

from:  J. B. Goyal
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 08:14 IST

The article makes dubious arguments against Modi. Why is the article making an unfounded claim that modi's development plank is not working. It is infact going strong. Consitutuonal violation?? Would the author agree Sonia gandhi's "merchant of death" also come under violation? Modi's popularity is making the leftist media desparate. Please go to gujarat and look for urself the fruits of equitable development .

from:  Malathi
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 08:13 IST

The Hindu is talking about Modi. It has not talked at such level for any other Chief Minister candidate. Only Lalu Prasad was targeted earlier as Jungle Raj (I am a reader of The Hindu for past 20 years). Whatever you say Modi gets his publicity. Please ignore Modi. That is the best way to deal with him.

from:  H. Prasad
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 08:13 IST

The author has used more 'Mian' in this article than what Modi would have used in his speech. It's election time and incumbant bashing is an international sport. Badri says that the 'Vikash Purush' image of Modi has been torn apart. Pray by what and how? Crony capitalism he says - again no evidence to back his claim. His worry about the political wherabouts of Arif bhai is again to bash the incumbant than a genuine need to find out.
It may hit Badri below the belt but the fact remains that he speaks like a Congress functionary at the lowest level - used for head bashing.
Badri next time you write an article critcising or praising an individual state some facts otherwise its just pure noise.

from:  mani sandilya
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 07:35 IST

What will solve this problem? A more literate and well informed electorate can also be polarised. Misinformation campaigns seem to work as well in the "first world" as as it does here, as was evident in the US presidential elections. The fundamentalist right wing will probably always be a part of politics. We can only hope that rational, steady headed politics overtakes the sectarian fundamentalists.

from:  Aditya Narayanan
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 07:19 IST

Mr.Badri Raina, should visit Gujarat and then write such meaningless articles. It is a known fact that 'THE HINDU' has time and again has been publishing such biased articles. I hope people of Gujarat will not forget that days when children used to sell drinking water for 5 paise a glass. The state was suffering from acute water shortage. Modi has given the people of Gujarat drinking water, uninterrupted power, good roads. 15% of the public using cards and two wheeler have changed over to public transport because of the quality. The security is the best in our Country. Needless to say about the agricultural growth. Please do not mess around by publishing such meaning less article. Let us wait for the election and it is the people of Gujarat who will decide whether it is Modi or "Ahmed Mian" to rule the state. Mr.Badri can join Manish Tiwari as a Congress spokesman to twist the facts and to fool the public. Thank you.

from:  ravishanker harikrishnan
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 07:06 IST

Although I am not a supporter of Mr Modi but I find it a little unsettling the position this newspaper has taken which almost makes me feel like "The Hindu" is out on some revenge campaign. I think I have already read enough articles about how behind Mr Modi's facade of development lies an ingrained communalist. I think this newspaper would do a favor to itself and to its readers if it ever explained to us why he is all set to win the third election if everything about Mr Modi and his politics is so thoroughly rotten. Any takers?

from:  Abhishek
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 06:34 IST

timing of this piece should be questioned and people should not buy this story from Badri.

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 06:06 IST

"With the weaknesses of Modi’s development plank now exposed, the Gujarat Chief Minister
is resorting to tried and tested majoritarian communalism" -where is the evidence for this in
the article? There is just modi- bashing than any factual content.
The Strais Times from Singapore has ran a two part article under the heading "India
slowsGujarat roars" analyzing why Gujarat alone progresses while other comparable states
linger behind. And much is attributed to this single man Modi. Surely The Straits Times is not
an RSS paper! It is owned by the government of Singapore!

from:  Amaruvi Devanathan
Posted on: Dec 6, 2012 at 05:43 IST
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