If Modi is Defeated, Credit Won’t Go to Congress

DR. S. AUSAF SAIED VASFI argues why Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is likely to be defeated, and if so, why Congress will not be able to take its claim.

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DR. S. AUSAF SAIED VASFI argues why Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is likely to be defeated, and if so, why Congress will not be able to take its claim.

Like the wish-list of Ms Mayawati and Ms Jayalalitha, Mr Narendra Modi’s wish-list also includes his ardent desire to become the Prime Minister of India.
Like a seasoned rabble-rouser, Mr. Modi asked his frenzied audience at Ahmedabad on December 13: “Do you want development and peace? Employment? Prosperity? Health-care? My desires and your desires are the same. If you want Modi, no prayers, no fasting, no Amba Devi, no Santoshi Maa can get you that. You have to come out in large numbers and vote on the 16th.”
To quote Mr. Verghese K. George (Indian Express, December 14) each word, each sentence of the 30-minute speech was rehearsed, modulated to perfection. Yet a slip of tongue gave away the well-known secret ambition. As he ended his speech, he asked, “Do you want Modi to be Pradhan… er Mukha Mantri?”
In the half-an-hour speech, the “fanciful, future Prime Minister of Bharat” named himself 29 times, BJP 6 and in the end put his own name before his enthusiastic electorate.
By now you would have, or now you have understood pretty well why, quite out of season, Mr. L.K. Advani has, by the RSS-BJP combine, been named next NDA Prime Minister. His friends and promoters now fell apprehensive of him. This fear is rooted in his persona which has no second. He is a class by himself. However for the time being he wants to regain 127 seats in a House of 182. His feeling is the youth and women would fulfil his ambition. But his direct of indirect enemies feel, and will do otherwise.
What are the qualities of the aspirant? Before dealing with them, let us note and record he is a case in which both the Ruling Party and the Opposition have the same agenda: Narendra Modi. In Gujarat, even the RSS is over-rated. It is Mr. Modi who can fetch votes for the BJP. The VHP had helped him a lot in his promotion. But the current position is: only one person in its 31-member executive, Mr. Ashok Singhal stood for him. The rest were against him. Dr. Praveen Togadia and Mr. Narendra Modi do not see eye to eye with each other.
Mr. Harish Khare in The Hindu (December 11) quotes a Saurashtra businessman: “(The) Chief Minister’s arrogance is over-weening. A couple of months ago, some of us businessmen went in a delegation to the Chief Minister; the local MLA was with us; Mr. Modi shouted at the MLA in a voice and tone I would dare not take with any one of my factory workers.”
A senior official, close to Mr. Modi, paints his portrait: “Egoist, loner, has no friend. There is nobody close to him. An emotional person, who ends up creating enemies; one who has cut himself off from normal information sources and the process has become prone to tale-carriers. He does not believe he needs to do any “favour” to any of the established crowd.” The result? A divided Sangh parivar.
These qualities of Mr. Modi’s head and heart have compelled even the sitting BJP Members of Parliament like Mr. Vallabhai Kateria, Mr. Kanshi Rana and Mr. Somabhai Patel to openly campaign against M r. Modi.
An honest, Gujarati dissenter of Mr. Modi succinctly sums up his persona; He is bad for BJP, bad for democracy and bad for Gujarat. Mr. Shiv Vishwanathan, who is a social activist, slams him on the so-called “development” of the state: growth does not guarantee quality of life. Mr. Modi cannot provide the leadership that Gujarat as a diversified society deserves.
The truth is that the basic respect and courtesy are missing from Modi’s day-to-day agenda. He is said to be hostile to the people, intolerant of dissent and ruthless to his enemies.
All the top politicians have ever maintained a certain level of courtesy. It is admirable and a must by all standards. Only the other day, Mr. Rahul Gandhi introduced himself to Mr. L.K. Advani too behaved like an affectionate elder, advising the young politician: “We are not enemies of each other; we are just adversaries.” This is the level of courtesy he has.
Mr. Modi, who is normally rude, does not behave with people with the natural dignity but as a bully. He does not inspire trust. Words like compromise, tolerance, adjustment, accommodation do not exist in Mr. Modi’s dictionary. He is not a statesman or a politician’s stuff. His is that of a bully.
Does Mr. Modi know that years ago when the German leader, Mr. Willy Brandt, was at a concentration camp, he fell on his knees in apology? That act added to Mr. Brandt’s stature.
For violating the Model Code of Conduct, Mr. Narendra Modi would almost certainly get a censure or reprimand from Election Commission. But the consequences of cocking a snook at judiciary might be serious for the Gujarat Chief Minister. The apex court has, on December 12, asked him to explain his speech on the death of Sohrabuddin Sheikh. In the words of the Additional Solicitor General, Mr. Gopal Subramanium: “Mr. Modi’s speech is prima facie a complete interference with the process of justice. To say the least, the speech is shocking, particularly so when it comes from the head of the executive in the State. To make such a statement in a matter pending in this court is nothing but contempt.”
Senior counsel Dushyant Dave, appearing for Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin Sheikh, said the Chief Minister’s statement, justifying the fake encounter was a “gross contempt of court” and “affront to humanity and the Supreme court.” The statement would completely change the complexion of the trial in the State, the counsel said and apprehended that a free and fair trial might not be possible in the surcharged atmosphere. Mr. Dave said Modi’s speech amounts to posing a direct challenge to the judiciary. “What he is saying is we will not care for the court, we have the power to kill people….”
That apart, the poll results of Gujarat are likely to impact not only the national politics, but the next election also, due in 2009. In the meantime Mr. Modi’s weakness for Me-alone-ism, divisive demagoguery, and scant regard for the rule of law would have come to national notice without blinkers.
At no stage, however the Congress would be in a position to take credit for cutting the Frankenstein’s Monster to its size. In its 88-page, charge-sheet against the Modi dispensation, the anti-Muslim riots get only seven paragraphs, which focus on the status of relief and rehabilitation and non-utilisation of the Central funds for this purpose. The much talked of charge-sheet makes no mention of the apex-court indictment of the Government, the Nanavati-Shah Commission of Inquiry, the slow progress of prosecutions, accountability of the Government and Police Officers. The said document is virtually on the fake encounters issue, in which prodded by the Supreme Court, some top officials, including a DIG had to be sent behind bars.
The Congress assumption seems to be these references would have polarised the Hindu vote. The “B” part and consequence of this assumption is the Congress alliance with the     riot- accused.
Even with this poor show and performance, if the Congress emerges victorious or the electoral verdict throws up a Hung House, credit would not go for that to the Congress, but to the caste-bound man-on-the-street, who suffered a lot at Mr. Modi’s hands. Today the position is: senior leaders of the RSS, BJP and VHP are against him, the police is not with him, teachers are angry and bureaucrats are unhappy, so on and so forth.