Monday, June 10, 2013

On Modi’s big day, 3 things that we should remember about him….

Modi has wrested control of the BJP. Forget what the immediate elevation relates to – being made the head of the election committee. In reality, he has de-facto been made the PM candidate of the party. Modi is a shrewd politician, and he has clearly out-smarted Advani & Co. What that does to the party is extremely relevant, but this post is not about that. It’s about knowing the man – once again.

Three things that define Modi are:

1)    His development credentials: Modi has been striving to stress his growth oriented policies, and his extreme passion for development. However, as many have pointed out, including his own partymen, the growth in Gujarat predates Modi by a long way. I have written several times on this, but perhaps the most interesting read was on 17th September, 2011 titled “Modi’s growth story is a sham…..” which clearly shows that growth was higher during the Congress regime before Modi, and that growth in Gujarat was just about comparable with other major states like Maharashtra, Haryana and Andhra. Modi’s loud claims are a tad unbelievable, and often mistaken with the general well-being of his state. Modi claims to have grown agriculture a lot, but he forgets to mention that most of it is thanks to the Narmada waters coming to his state, in which he had absolutely no role to play. He talks of great roads, but fails to point out that the National Highways – including the expressway between Vadodara and Ahmedabad, as well as the new one planned between Vadodara and Mumbai – are the results of the central government’s work. Modi’s grandiose exaggerations have earned him the “feku” tag in the virtual world, which he has so far managed to control using his Americal PR firm APCO. Modi’s growth has been panned by many others, but most of all by Dibakar Gupta – read his piece in the TOI of October 6th, 2012: “Telling the Whole story”). Modi’s development claims also ignore the severe problems his state suffers in the Human Development indicies – pointing towards very uneven growth in the state. It’s important we know this man – one who usurps the claims of others with absolutely disdainfully
2)    His governance credentials: Modi says he is a man who takes fast decisions. He likes to contrast this with the generally perceived sloth in Delhi. But he likes to ignore the reality of politics – that he has a solid majority in his state, while the center suffers from a severe condition of “coalitionitis”. We will see the reality in this when (and if) Modi does become the PM. How he will balance the different needs of divergent political parties will need to be seen. Modi also likes to ignore that all other state governments which have clear majorities – be in Delhi or AP or Haryana or TN or Bihar – have also been known for quick decision making. Modi likes to show his governance record as a genetic blessing of his; in reality it is anything but. Modi’s governance record also includes the several cases of anomalies pointed out by the CAG, the absence of the Lok Ayukta for more than 9 years now (and his pushing through a weak selection process after he was shamed by the Governor recently), and the terrible record of responding to the needs of the RTI. Modi doesn’t like to draw attention to all this. He just goes mum, and an indulgent media spares him the blushes – like it did when he refused to take the “high ground” on the IPL-CSK mess.
3)    His communal record: Be it the post-godhra riots, or the Ishrat Jahaan murder or the several other encounter killings, or the saffronisation of education, Modi is best known for his communal credentials. It’s interesting that today’s papers carry a story that suggest that Modi’s top cops may have been personally involved in the murder of Ishrat Jahaan. Not only may they have given the orders, it is possible that they actually witnessed, first hand, the murder. It’s pathetic, to think that Modi claims his state has no communal riots, when the reality is that the Muslims are a terrorized lot in his state. There was also a story a few days back, about how a municipal school in Ahmedabad had chosen saffron as the color for the childrens’ uniforms. It’s not just the uniforms that have turned saffron in the state; even the curriculum has. My biggest fear from Modi comes from what a shrewd, clever, determined man like him can do in a state like UP – where tensions start to simmer at the smallest provocation. With trusted aide Amit Shah in charge of UP, expect a huge amount of induced communal tension – induced so that the majority Hindu population comes together to vote for Modi in one unified block, rather than divide itself along cast-based lines as it has done so far. Modi is trouble. Make no mistake.

The real truth is that Modi’s not good news for India. He is communal, and he is a “feku”. He is also bad news for his party. Wait and watch the fun that unfolds now!

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