GETTING THE IDIOM WRONG
I am quite beginning to feel sorry for Narendra Modi – and beginning to suspect the motives of his adivsors and campaign managers. As though making great “historical’’ blunders were not enough I now wonder that no one tells him that all that he comes across as even today is just a sectarian/regional leader when he should really have something more substantial to talk about as a prime ministerial candidate than just his Gujarat experience.
If Modi would have been paying closer attention to fellow ideologue Raj Thackeray he would have known that no one outside Gujarat is enamored of the Gujarat model, perhaps increasingly now not even the Gujaratis themselves.
Raj ha been the first leader to tell Modi off very publicly when during his Bombay rally Modi lauded Gujarat to Maharashtrians. Did he not remember that just five years ago when he promised to turn Maharashtra into another Gujarat, he was driven off the campaign trail by even his own BJP men after Sharad Pawar and other Congress leaders took him on saying they would rather have (Mahatma) Gandhi’s Gujarat than Modi’s Gujarat?
But even if one did not bring the saffron-secular divide into that comparison, someone should have told Modi before his Bombay rally that Maharashtrians, particularly those in the state capital, hate Gujaratis – they have not yet forgotten the sacrifice of 106 martyrs who died fighting for a state liberated from Gujarati domination.
I thought he had lost the plot at least in Maharashtra when he went on and om like just the chief minister that he is during the Bombay rally but then he should have learnt better before doing the same in West Bengal — if any one os prouder than Maharashtrians of thei state culture, it can only be the Bengalis and the hackneyed promise to turn Bengal into another Gujarat might not be quite flattering to any of the bhadraloks in that state either.
Simultaneously blaming Biharis for bringing the poverty ratios lower in Gujarat is another no-no just before the elections and why ever did the Gujarat government spokesperson feel the need to justify the Gujarat government figures in that fashion?
Then, again, lauding Pranab Mukherjee in anticipation of having to butter up the president for a favorable verdict post election results is one thing but did Modi quite forget that the Congress did not offer half the insult to Mukherjee as the BJP did to L K Advani? Ultimately they did make Mukherjee the president while Modi quite clearly put his own party senior out to pasture didn’t he?
Moreover, when he spoke of the good work of building a war memorial left to his resources, did he not know of the half dozen war memorials in India but particularly the one commissioned in Bangalore very recently by his own party man B S Yedyurappa when he was chief minister of Karnataka?
Clearly, while his supporters label Rahul Gandhi a pappu, Modi increasingly seems no less a blunderer but while Rahul might get away with his errors on grounds of inexperience, Modi clearly has no excuse for a lack of history geography and even the culture and ethos of the different kinds of people in this country.
Do I want someone like Rahul Gandhi as my prime minister? Perhaps no. But even less do I wish for someone with such low thresholds as Modi to become one. In addition to everything that might be wrong with him, it is disquieting to read a recent report in a leading magazine about how Gujarat was used as the experimental bowl for a certain kind of saffron violence and persecution of people who did not fit into the majoritarian mould promoted by the RSS.
Modi is mentioned only in the passing in that Caravan story but the little mention he finds is very disquieting. I do t want to see India turn into another Gujarat and I would direct the readers here to my recent column in the Bombay edition of the newspaper `Gujarat is a chemical state’ that appeared on Febraruy 5, 2014. If young students can so quickly grasp what is wrong about Gujarat I wonder the reasons why others who may not be his hard core supporters should be ostriches with their heads permanently buried in the sand,
I am convinced even more that Modi is not a good influence on Gujarat and he will be even less of a good thing for India. We are capable of a lot better than just Modi or Rahul Gandhi. I await the third option whatever that might be.