An open letter to Narendra Modi

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Bhadra, May 20, 2014.

  1. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    An open letter to Narendra Modi

    Gopalkrishna Gandhi

    An open letter to Narendra Modi - The Hindu

    [​IMG]



    Dear Prime Minister-designate,

    This comes with my hearty felicitations. I mean and say that in utter sincerity, which is not very easy for me to summon, because I am not one of those who wanted to see you reach the high office that you have reached. You know better than anyone else, that while many millions are ecstatic that you will become Prime Minister, many more millions may, in fact, be disturbed, greatly disturbed by it.

    Until recently I did not believe those who said you were headed there. But, there you are, seated at the desk at which Jawaharlal Nehru sat, Lal Bahadur Shastri did, and, after a historic struggle against Indira Gandhi’s Emergency, another Gujarati, Morarji Desai did, as did later, your own political mentor, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Those who did not want you there have to accept the fact that you are there.

    Despite all my huge misgivings about your deserving that rare privilege, I respect someone coming from so sharply disadvantaged a community and family as yours, becoming Prime Minister of India. That fulfils, very quintessentially, the vision of our egalitarian Constitution.

    Revisting the idea of desh

    When some spoke rashly and derisively of your having been a “chaiwala,” I felt sick to my stomach. What a wonderful thing it is, I said to myself, that one who has made and served chai for a living should be able to head the government of India. Far better bearing a pyala to many than being a chamcha to one.

    But, Mr. Modi, with that said, I must move to why your being at India’s helm disturbs millions of Indians. You know this more clearly than anyone else that in the 2014 election, voters voted, in the main, for Modi or against Modi. It was a case of “Is Narendra Modi the country’s best guardian — desh ka rakhvala — or is he not?” The BJP has won the seats it has because you captured the imagination of 31 per cent of our people (your vote share) as the nation’s best guardian, in fact, as its saviour. It has also to be noted that 69 per cent of the voters did not see you as their rakhvala. They also disagreed on what, actually, constitutes our desh. And this — the concept of desh — is where, Mr. Modi, the Constitution of India, upon the authority of which you are entering the office of Prime Minister, matters. I urge you to revisit the idea of desh.

    Reassuring the minorities

    In invoking unity and stability, you have regularly turned to the name and stature of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The Sardar, as you would know, chaired the Constituent Assembly’s Committee on Minorities. If the Constitution of India gives crucial guarantees — educational, cultural and religious — to India’s minorities, Sardar Patel has to be thanked, as do other members of that committee, in particular Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, the Christian daughter of Sikh Kapurthala. Adopt, in toto, Mr. Modi, not adapt or modify, dilute or tinker with, the vision of the Constitution on the minorities. You may like to read what the indomitable Sardar said in that committee.

    Why is there, in so many, so much fear, that they dare not voice their fears?

    It is because when you address rallies, they want to hear a democrat who carries the Peoplehood of India with him, not an Emperor who issues decrees. Reassure the minorities, Mr. Modi, do not patronise them. “Development” is no substitute to security. You spoke of “the Koran in one hand, a laptop in the other,” or words to that effect. That visual did not quite reassure them because of a counter visual that scares them — of a thug masquerading as a Hindu holding a Hindu epic’s DVD in one hand and a minatory trishul in the other.

    In the olden days, headmasters used to keep a salted cane in one corner of the classroom, visible and scary, as a reminder of his ability to lash the chosen skin. Memories, no more than a few months old, of the riots in Muzaffarnagar which left at least 42 Muslims and 20 Hindus dead and displaced over 50,000 persons, are that salted cane. “Beware, this is what will be done to you!” is not a threat that anyone in a democracy should fear. But that is the message that has entered the day’s fears and night’s terrors of millions.

    It is in your hands, Mr. Modi, to dispel that. You have the authority and the power to do that, the right and the obligation as well. I would like to believe that, overcoming small-minded advice to the contrary, you will dispel that fear.

    All religious minorities in India, not just the Muslim, bear scars in their psyche even as Hindus and Sikhs displaced from West Punjab, and Kashmiri Pandits do. There is the fear of a sudden riot caused with real or staged provocation, and then returned with multiplied retribution, targeted very specially on women. Dalits and Adivasis, especially the women, live and relive humiliation and exploitation every minute of their lives. The constant tug of unease because of slights, discrimination, victimisation is de-citizenising, demoralising, dehumanising. Address that tug, Mr. Modi, vocally and visibly and win their trust. You can, by assuring them that you will be the first spokesman for their interests.

    No one should have the impudence to speak the monarchist language of uniformism to a republic of pluralism, the vocabulary of “oneness” to an imagination of many-nesses, the grammar of consolidation to a sensibility that thrives in and on its variations. India is a diverse forest. It wants you to nurture the humus that sustains its great variety, not place before it the monochromatic monoculturalism of a political monotheism.

    What has been taken as your stand on Article 370 of the Constitution, the old and hackneyed demand for a Uniform Civil Code, the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, and what the media have reported as your statements about “Hindu refugees” in our North and North-West and “Muslim refugees” in our East and North-East, strikes fear, not trust. Mass fear, Mr. Modi, cannot be an attribute of the Republic of India. And, as Prime Minister of India, you are the Republic’s alter ego.

    India’s minorities are not a segment of India, they are an infusion in the main. Anyone can burn rope to cinder, no one can take the twist out of it. Bharat mata ki jai, sure, Mr. Modi, but not superseding the compelling urgency of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s clarion — Jai Hind!

    A historic win it has been for you, Mr. Modi, for which, once again, congratulations. Let it be followed by a historic innings, which stuns the world by surprises your supporters may not want of you but many more would want to see you unfurl. You are hugely intelligent and will not mind unsolicited but disinterested advice of one from an earlier generation. Requite the applause of your support-base but, equally, redeem the trust of those who have not supported you. When you reconstitute the Minorities Commission, ask the Opposition to give you all the names and accept them without change. And do the same for the panels on Scheduled Castes and Tribes, and Linguistic Minorities. And when it comes to choosing the next Chief Information Commissioner, the next CAG, CVC, go sportingly by the recommendation of the non-government members on the selection committee, as long as it is not partisan. You are strong and can afford such risks.

    Addressing the southern deficit

    Mr. Modi, there is a southern deficit in your India calculus. The Hindi-belt image of your victory should not tighten itself into a North-South divide. Please appoint a deputy prime minister from the South, who is not a politician at all, but an expert social scientist, ecologist, economist or a demographer. Nehru had Shanmukham Chetty, John Mathai, C.D. Deshmukh and K.L. Rao in his cabinet. They were not Congressmen, not even politicians. Indira Gandhi had S. Chandrashekhar, V.K.R.V. Rao. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why the UPA did not make Professor M.S. Swaminathan and Shyam Benegal, both nominated members in the Rajya Sabha, ministers. There is a convention, one may even say, a healthy convention, that nominated members should not be made ministers. But exigencies are exigencies. Professor Nurul Hasan, a nominated member, was one of the best Ministers of Education we have had.

    Imperial and ideological exemplars appeal to you. So, be Maharana Pratap in your struggle as you conceive it, but be an Akbar in your repose. Be a Savarkar in your heart, if you must, but be an Ambedkar in your mind. Be an RSS-trained believer in Hindutva in your DNA, if you need to be, but be the Wazir-e-Azam of Hindostan that the 69 per cent who did not vote for you, would want you to be.

    With every good wish as you take your place at the helm of our desh,

    I am, your fellow-citizen,

    Gopalkrishna Gandhi

    (The writer is a former administrator and diplomat. He was Governor of West Bengal, 2004-2009, and officiating Governor of Bihar, 2005-2006.)
     
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  3. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    Why Gopal Gandhi’s open letter to Modi is wrong-headed and odious

    by R Jagannathan May 19, 2014 15:25 IST

    Why Gopal Gandhi’s open letter to Modi is wrong-headed and odious | Firstpost
    [​IMG]

    I am appalled at the odious open letter written by Gopalkrishna Gandhi in The Hindu today (19 May) to Narendra Modi, giving him not only unsolicited advice, but effectively telling him he does not have a mandate to govern. The best thing Modi can do is lie low and be a genial and over-compromising non-achiever who keeps detractors happy.

    After beginning his letter saying he did not want to see Modi as PM, Gopal Gandhi asserts startlingly that “while many millions are ecstatic that you will become prime minister, many more millions may, in fact, be disturbed, greatly disturbed by it.”

    Now, how did Gandhi come to this conclusion that “many more millions” may be disturbed by a Modi prime ministership? From the fact that the BJP’s vote share is 31 percent. So Gandhi glibly concludes that “69 per cent of the voters did not see you as their rakhvala. They also disagreed on what, actually, constitutes our desh.”

    Let’s be clear. In a first-past-the-post electoral system and in a fractured society like ours, mandates will be won on the basis of a minority of votes. This is the case not only with Modi’s mandate, but everybody’s in recent decades – and it is true in the states as well.

    But can a 31 percent vote be interpreted as a 69 percent rejection rate? This is bunkum. All it means is that for the balance 69 percent, Modi – for local and other reasons – may not have been a first choice. It does not imply any kind of rejection – unless we are talking only about the minorities, where, admittedly, Modi has some work to do.

    The only way to get a minimum 50 percent mandate is to have a French style system of having one or more eliminating rounds before the final vote. This would knock out the parties with the lowest shares in progressive stages – leaving only the two finalists seeking 50-percent plus and victory. The other way is to have a two-party system, or a German-style proportional representation system where parties getting less than 5 percent are knocked out. In this election, a German-style system of proportional representation would have left only the BJP and Congress as worthy of parliamentary representation. No other party touched 5 percent at the national level.

    But taking the Gopal Gandhi logic of 69 percent rejecting Modi to its logical conclusion, it would still mean that Modi was the politician India objected to the least. The Congress, with 19.3 percent of the vote, was rejected by over 80 percent of the electorate, the BSP by 96 percent of the electorate. If you consider the point that everyone, from Mulayam Singh to Nitish Kumar to Mamata Banerjee to J Jayalalithaa was also a contender for the PM’s job, one can well say over 95 percent of India rejected them. Only 69 percent “rejected” Modi. (Actually, the figure is 61.8 percent, since the NDA got 38.2 percent of the vote, and all NDA parties accepted Modi as their PM nominee).

    You may object that it is not fair to pit parties which are primarily present in some states against national parties in terms of vote share, but look at how they fared in their own states: Mamata Banerjee won 39.3 percent of the vote in West Bengal. Should we say 61 percent of West Bengal rejected her?

    In the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections of 2012, the Samajwadi Party got all of 29.13 percent of the vote. Should we now ask them to resign, since, by Gopal Gandhi’s logic, 71 percent of the state rejected Akhilesh Yadav?

    Clearly, Gopal Gandhi was wearing his prejudice on his sleeve rather than anything else when he told Modi that “69 per cent of the voters did not see you as their rakhvala.” There is no basis to assert this.

    Worse was his gratuitous advice to Modi on what he needed to do to redeem himself in the eyes of his detractors. The sum total of his advice is: let the opposition parties decide key posts that will come up for deliberation early in a Modi administration.

    To “redeem the trust of those who have not supported you”, Gopal Gandhi advises Modi to do the following: “When you reconstitute the Minorities Commission, ask the Opposition to give you all the names and accept them without change. And do the same for the panels on Scheduled Castes and Tribes, and Linguistic Minorities. And when it comes to choosing the next Chief Information Commissioner, the next CAG, CVC, go sportingly by the recommendation of the non-government members on the selection committee, as long as it is not partisan. You are strong and can afford such risks.”

    So if the opposition plants mischief in these posts, Modi is supposed to just take it lying down? Gopal Gandhi is essentially saying that till he voluntarily rejects the powers he has been conferred with, Modi will have no legitimacy. Gandhi did not give this advice to any previous government in Delhi – only to Modi.

    And why would Modi want to be such a doormat? Because, says Gandhi, many of the things he has stood for “strikes fear, not trust.” I don’t think anybody will disagree with Gandhi’s idea that the fears of minorities need to be addressed, and addressed fairly soon, but surely he is going overboard when he thinks that the idea of a uniform civil code is “old and hackneyed”. It is one thing to address this issue sensitively, quite another to think this essentially egalitarian idea is “hackneyed.”

    The only thing old and hackneyed is the idea that Modi is about to unleash a wave of Hindutva where Trishul-wielding militants will be Talibanising and terrorising India. Unfortunately, this is an idea that can be dispelled only over the tenure of Modi’s prime ministership. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating. Meanwhile, anyone, including Gopal Gandhi, is free to continue with his scare-mongering tactics.
     
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  4. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    I too am aghast at this skewed logic and temerity of this bureaucrat as also due to the fact that even when India elect Narendra Modi has not started his inning the "Dirty Department Tricks" against modi have commenced in right earnest.

    Last 12 years sustained, intense and utterly concocted media trail and media haunting of Narendra Modi has not subsided but rather intensified.

    Here is an example as to how one variety of people who call or consider themselves as intellectuals think themselves above people, elections, institutions and even the above the Supreme Court of India which left no stone unturned to carry out thorough investigations into the Charges of Gujrat riots.

    It is also strange that such one sided and utterly prejudiced people were considered capable to discharge the constitutional duties of a Governor. This is also a matter of concern that such thoroughly lopsided individual discharged important government responsibilities in his life as a IAS bureacrate. One shudders at the very thought how much prejudiced harm would he have caused to Indian institutions and their functioning.

    I am not defending Modi which is none of my concern. What, however, I am pointing out at is the disdain and dislike Gopal Gandhi has displayed at Indian democratic system which has been functional for last 67 years and is not the invention of BJP, RSS or Narendra Modi.

    Applying crook logic of Gopal Gandhi, one can easily say, those who ruled India and were the PM or CM etc of the country so far, never deserved to be there. They were all rejected lots rather than elected. Nehru / Indira etc all secured less than 40 per cent of the votes, sometimes even lesser.

    One can expect and understand the hatred of Gopal Gandhi towards Narendra Modi being from Gandhi family. But that is no reason for all falsehood he has advanced in his article and in his attempts to lay down new parameters of democracy when it is the turn of Narendra Modi.

    That is called " shifting the goalposts ".
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
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  5. Hari Sud

    Hari Sud Senior Member Senior Member

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    Ignore this Mahatma Gandhi grandson.

    He would like to have the governor's job back which he had it under Congress raj. Modi is unlikely to oblige, hence his above rant.
     
  6. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    I think the "Modi Crucifixation" Brigade has again started with new faces, new tactics and new arguments.

    For Teesta Setalvad read - Rajmohan Gandhi and N Ram ..

    There is a lot of money in the venture and a lot of timepass ....
     
  7. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    For Rajmohan, please read Gopal Krishna ..
     
  8. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    Percentage of Votes Polled Obtained by INC / Congress


    1952 44.99
    1957 ??
    1962 44.72
    1967 40.78
    1971 43.68
    1977 34.52
    1980 42.69
    1984 49.10
    1985 32.14
    1989 39.53
    1991 36.26
    1992 49.27
    1996 28.80
    1998 25.82
    1999 28.30
    2004 26.53
    2009 28.55
    2014 19. ??


    Mr Gopal Krishna Gandhi, you are telling that Congress did not deserve to rule India for 67 years !!

    well done !! Different yardstick for different people.
     
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  9. rock127

    rock127 Maulana Rockullah Senior Member

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    This unsolicited advice by this "Gandhi" SHOULD be given to the fake "Gandhis" who are parasite on Indian Democratic System.

    Seems like the fake "Gandhi" has purchased this Gandhi for their dirty trick department.

    Have some shame for the Gandhi Mr Gandhi.
     
  10. A chauhan

    A chauhan "अहिंसा परमो धर्मः धर्म हिंसा तथैव च: l" Senior Member

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    Too much of anything is dangerous. Here too much of secularism has turned many people into blind idiots who keep spewing venom against the innocent majority. Specially if you have Gandhi surname then you are vulnerable to the virus of factless religious correctness. Modi haters can now :toilet: btw where is Mani Shankar Aiyyar these days ?
     
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  11. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    I don't concur with the alarmist tone of Gandhi's post for the moment.

    But I think he made good points on consocionationalism, ucc etc

    This is a vote for development and not for communal/secular or hindu/muslim bs.

    Modi is PM of 125 crores he should act like that.

    Jaggi is an advisor to Modi
    as are many other commentators. An excellent trick : if you consult with a lawyer he can't argue against you.






    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  12. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Actually check it by the voting percentage, this will go down even further.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  13. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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    if these people really care about bringing modi down then they should ignore modi . but they dont do that and that makes me suspicious about their real intentions . surely they know that their tirades only give publicity to modi and keep him uppermost in our minds .

    maybe there is a lot of money in attacking modi---maybe their newspapers sell well on the modi name .
     
  14. rock127

    rock127 Maulana Rockullah Senior Member

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    Congress BIG MOUTH's mouth is shut big time... CongTURD ManiShankar is hiding and jobless... but there are career opportunities for him. :lol:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    My attention was drawn to Gopal Krishna's letter of advice to Modi by a classmate from school who lives in UK, almost as if to caution me of the dangers that Gopal Krishna alludes to.

    It is people like Gopal Krishna who feel that India belongs to them and they alone are the, to use Blackwater's term, thekedars of India.

    This country has been systematically brainwashed into the communal divide by the Congress, so much so that other political parties that sprouted en route, has found this a convenient whip to use to whip up fear and garner votes thereof.

    India has moved on as this election has clearly shown and maybe India realise that much of the propaganda against Modi could be mere figment of imagination at the false idol of 'secularism'.

    This internecine competing secular vs communal is eating into the innards of India's vitality.

    Sooner these self appointed thekedars of India's soul quit the carping and unwanted homilies, it will be the better.

    India is strong enough to meet its own Fate on her own steam and on her own dictates.

    Thank you Gopal. Do an abut turn and get back to making your life a wee bit better than what it is now.
     
  16. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    Actually, Mani Shankar's political career may end up with his "Chaiwal" reamrks... in the same manner as the "Cattle class" remark slowed down career of another politician of his party...
     
  17. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    Sir,

    What pains me is that the logic used is third class and scewed.

    We do not elect Presidents but candidates for Lok Sabha. In that suppose one candiadte in a constituency where there are twenty contestant may get only 20 per cent of votes polled and stll emerge as winner. Does his getting only 20 percent of votes polled make him as rejected. That is what exactly Gopal Krishna Gandhi is pontificating.

    Secondly, a party may get less percentage of Votes polled but land up with higher number of seats. For example Trinamul Congress gets only 4 perent of all India votes polled but lands up with 32 seats. But another party, say BSP bags 5 per cent of all India votes polled but still has no seat to its credit.

    In past say, in 1999 and 2009, Congress managed barely 28 - 29 percent of votes polled but landed up with higher number of seats than BJP? Well these are the dynamics of our electoral system. Stll they ruled.

    The majority in the Parliment is counted based on single and equal vote of the elected member as per the constitution and not based on percentage of the votes polled by the party or a candidate. Then by bringing forth an unconstitutional argument to show down Mody, what is the game ??

    I say there could be situation where Mamta could also become a PM although her party polled only 4 per cent of votes polled. But not for Gopal Krishna Gandhi.

    More than that, what pains me is very offensive and insulting language used by " An Indian Citizen" who has been an IAS bureaucrate and lo - a Governor !!

    On many other issue such as "Common Civil Code", the author needs to go throgh the proceedings of the Constituent Assembly and raed the debate on the issue. Different Civil Code for Muslims was forced down the throat of the Assembly by people like Nehru rather than majority of the members. Swamy Karparti launched a nationwide movement against it .

    Does Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Srilanka have such civil Laws ?? Then why only in India.?? These are such issue which can not be wished away. For Hindu civil code Hindu means Hindu, Budhist, Jain and Sikhs, Parsies and Christians !! But the seeds of sepration were sowed by those for whom Gopal Gandhi sings.

    Sing he does but in very abusive and foul voice. There is no dignity in his singing which a citizen must have !!
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
  18. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Narendra Modi: man of the masses

    Modi, implicated in a massacre in 2002 while chief minister of Gujarat, has been elected as India’s new prime minister. Is he a dangerous neo-fascist, as some say, or the strongman reformer that this country of 1.2 billion people craves?

    In the intense afternoon heat, the streets of Delhi lay deserted. April is hot in northern India, but on this occasion it was not because the capital was befuddled by the sort of gasping summer temperatures that Truman Capote described as a “white midnight”. Instead the streets were empty because it was polling day in the Delhi leg of the largest and most complex election in human history.

    By the time the results are announced on 16 May, 815 million voters – more than 12 times the population of the UK, or over two and a half times the population of the US – will have cast their vote at one of 900,000 polling stations. One-fifth of the electorate will be voting for the first time, adding to the sense of unpredictability. The polling is staggered over nine separate stages to allow the redeployment of more than eight million security and election personnel around the country. In a further effort to prevent trouble, and to encourage participation, the shops and the bars are closed at each stage and everyone gets a day off.

    So it was on that afternoon that the normally cacophonous Delhi roads were strangely empty. The only sound was the whirr of discarded political flyers tumbling in the late-afternoon breeze along the deserted sidewalks. In a city usually bursting with humanity, the only faces on show were those on election hoardings. And they were everywhere: filling every frame attached to every lamp post and every bus shelter, glued to every wall – the same three faces repeated over and over, all the way down the tree-lined avenues, up the flyovers and down into the cavernous entrances of the gleaming new Metro stations.

    Yet the tragedy is that in this great country bursting with youth, beauty and talent, none of the three front-runners inspires any great confidence in his ability to pull India together, to unite it and to lead it forward safely and equitably to its rightful place as the regional economic and cultural superpower that could balance the ever-accelerating rise of China. Instead, all three candidates for prime minister have considerable flaws, and it is perhaps partly this that has resulted in the unusual bitterness of this election, polarising opinion and bringing an unprecedented acrimony to the national debate, not least on the new political battleground of social media. Here, whole call centres have allegedly been hired to wage Twitter warfare on behalf of the individual combatants. There is, however, an undeniable energy and excitement in the air. Everything is up for grabs, and anything is possible.

    The candidate to put in the fewest poster appearances that hot afternoon was Arvind Kejriwal, the leader of the new anti-corruption Aam Aadmi (“common man”) Party. On his posters and handouts, Kejriwal does indeed appear as the aam aadmi, the man in the street. Physically, he is a slight, oddly anonymous figure whose narrow face is dominated by his toothbrush moustache and rimless spectacles. In winter he is enshrouded in a muffler, swathed right around his head as you might wear bandages after breaking your jaw; in summer he wears an incongruously jaunty white party hat bearing the legend “Aam Aadmi”, which sits top-heavily on his head in the manner of a snuffer atop a candle.

    Kejriwal is a former tax inspector of celebrated integrity who has dedicated his life to fighting corruption. He gave a huge jolt to Indian politics just before New Year when he successfully rode the wave of disgust at the long succession of corruption scandals and stormed the Delhi state elections, becoming our second-youngest ever chief minister. But his resignation little more than a month later, after only 49 erratic and oddly accident-prone days in office, was a major setback. As chief minister, he seemed to see himself as a guerrilla-activist, still pulling protest-stunts such as sleeping out on the pavement in midwinter, rather than as a mature politician who had learned how to seize the administrative reins and change things from the inside.

    As a result of his resignation, he is no longer regarded as a serious player nationally. Nevertheless, Kejriwal has a doggedly tenacious gleam in his eye and an insistent, determined set to his mouth. Although he is the underdog in this race, hugely outgunned by the resources of India’s two largest parties, the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party and the left-wing Congress, he shows every sign of fighting on. He is likely to do well in Delhi and a few other urban centres: a respectable showing for a new party, but a far cry from what seemed possible as recently as January.

    Putting in far more frequent appearances on the Delhi bus stands is the more familiar and visually more memorable face of the ruggedly handsome Rahul Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru’s great-grandson, Indira’s grandson and Rajiv’s son: the heir to the dynasty that is India’s most striking example of sexually transmitted democracy. Sadly the good looks and family tree appear to be his only assets.

    On his posters Rahul is shown standing in Congress Party homespun khadi, arms akimbo, with three days of stubble decorating his sculpted chin. To either side of him on the posters stands a line of random young Indian faces, presumably selected by some PR agency: a Sikh, a pretty nurse, a rustic farmer, a builder in a hard hat and so on, apparently in an attempt to place Rahul, somewhat unconvincingly, as one of the people. The overall effect is like one of those ill-advised Vogue shoots where a model is shot strutting in all her Fifth Avenue finery amid exotic tribals, as if air-dropped in from another planet. On some versions of the poster, Rahul’s hand is implausibly photoshopped clinging on to the shoulder of a smiling day labourer in an image that oozes improbability at every level. There is something about Rahul’s embarrassed smile that seems to acknowledge the stagey quality of the montage. If opinion polls are correct, he is likely to be even more embarrassed when the results are announced.

    This is largely not his fault. Congress is as unpopular as it is partly because of its gross corruption while in office, and partly because of its deeply unimpressive economic performance during the past five years under the weak, uncharismatic and monosyllabic Sikh economist Dr Manmohan Singh. Since being voted back into office in 2009, Singh has in effect halted the economic reforms that had made him so popular and retreated into a vast programme of rural benefits and agricultural welfarism. This was exactly the sort of well-meant but wholly unaffordable budget-busting handout that has hobbled the Indian economy for much of its post-independence history and which Singh initially won so many plaudits for reversing at the beginning of his ministerial career.

    The result has been that India’s annual growth rate has sunk from a peak of 9.3 per cent in the last quarter of 2010-2011 to under 5 per cent this year, making the country slip from the world’s second-fastest-growing economy to tenth place in this index. Other economic indicators have been equally alarming: public borrowing has quadrupled in the past five years, the national deficit grew substantially, inflation is high and the value of the rupee has plummeted by 20 per cent. Between 2004 and 2013, the wholesale price index for food went up by 157 per cent, vegetables by 350 per cent and onions by 521 per cent, amid accusations of both corruption and mismanagement.

    A series of voter surveys has shown that concern over the collapse of the Indian economy is the single most important factor in this election for almost all voters, of all religions, whether urban and rural. If it is this gathering fury at the corruption and mismanagement of the present government that is responsible for generating the appetite for radical change, Rahul’s lacklustre performance on the campaign trail has not helped his cause, either. His political career got off to a good start when his backstage manoeuvrings were credited with helping Congress to win the 2009 election. But a lamentable performance in a nationally broadcast TV interview at the start of this campaign almost killed that career overnight. Rahul came across as conceited and dim, if not borderline messianic-delusional, as he talked about himself in the third person: “You’ve got to understand a little bit about who Rahul Gandhi is,” he began. “Everybody understands that this fellow here is not just a superficial chap who just talks. This fellow over here is thinking deeply and long term.”

    When not praising his own profundity, he parroted the same pre-prepared answers, irrespective of the question he was asked.

    What did he think about the Gujarat riots? “The real issue at hand here is empowering the women of this country.”

    Why did his party protect corrupt MPs? “The issue at hand is bringing youngsters into the political system.”

    Why had he not spoken up when his government had sold coal reserves and telecom rights to party cronies for a fraction of their true worth? “The real issue here is bringing youngsters into the political system.”

    Why is Congress still fielding its most corrupt ministers at this election? “We need to bring in youngsters.”

    In all, he mentioned empowerment 22 times and finding a way to mend the broken political system no fewer than 70 times in 45 minutes.

    If the autocratic Indira Gandhi was a disappointment after Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s most brilliant freedom fighter and the uniquely articulate first prime minister of independent India, and if Rajiv was a sad disappointment after Indira, Rahul would appear to be the very bottom of the Nehru-Gandhi barrel, tongue-tied and uncharismatic on campaign, conceited and slow-witted in private: in short, the complete electoral prophylactic, as Congress must sadly now realise to its despair.

    This leaves only one other candidate.

    Outnumbering the poster images of Gandhi and Kejriwal many times over in the Delhi streets is the face of this election’s overwhelming front-runner, Narendra Modi.

    Modi is the Hindu nationalist son of a station chai-wallah, and as different a man as could be imagined from the shahzada, or “princeling”, as Modi mockingly refers to the heir to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. With Kejriwal reduced to a minor player, the election in most of the country has been an unequal contest between the Modi juggernaut and a beleaguered Rahul, who is in the process of taking the can for the failings of a government he didn’t lead and can do little to redeem.

    The battle represents a whole world of contestations: left against right, insider against outsider, secular Nehruvian v sectarian nationalist, Brahminical dynastic princeling v lower-caste, working-class, self-made man. There is little doubt at this stage which of the two is going to come out on top. Certainly Modi’s face, with its neatly trimmed grey beard and fiercely unsmiling expression, firm and unwavering, is apparently all too convinced of its right to line the roads of the Indian capital, bringing to mind the old lines from Yeats, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.”

    Modi is a strong speaker. In the past few months he has been transformed into a hugely popular, even cult figure for many around India and is now widely admired by many who do not share his Hindu nationalism. This is because he has come to embody the collective longing, especially among India’s middle class of 300 million, for an economic rebirth of the nation: after all, under his stewardship, the economy of the state of Gujarat, for which he has been chief minister since 2001, has nearly tripled in size. He also has a reputation for decisiveness, getting things done, rooting out corruption, stimulating investment and slashing through the bureaucratic red tape and outdated, cumbersome regulations.

    It is easy to understand why so many Indians feel a need for bold change and why the thought of another five years of a dithering, divided and corrupt Congress government fills them with dismay. But it is less easy to understand why so many are willing to overlook Modi’s extremely dodgy record with India’s religious minorities.

    In 2002, the year after Modi became chief minister of Gujarat, as many as 2,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed and about 200,000 more displaced in an intercommunal bloodbath. Large numbers of girls were raped; men were cut to pieces and burned alive with kerosene or burning tyres. Pregnant women had their womb slit open and the foetuses smashed in front of their eyes. Modi, who prides himself on his hands-on administrative skills, was accused of allowing the 2002 riots to happen, or even of ordering the police to let the rioters get on with their work – something he has denied.

    A report by Human Rights Watch asserted that his administration was complicit in the massacres. “The attacks were planned in advance,” a senior researcher for the organisation said, “and organised with the extensive participation of the police and state government officials.”

    Modi has survived several formal investigations by the courts without conviction, but he has never apologised for his gov-ernment’s failure to protect the minority or shown the slightest remorse for what happened. He refuses to answer questions about the riots. In a rare comment on the subject last year, he said he regretted the Muslims’ suffering as he would a “puppy being run over by a car”. Once he seemed to half-justify the actions of the rioters: in the US, he said, “An innocent Sikh was murdered after 9/11. Why? Because he looked like the terrorists. If the educated in America can get provoked, why use a different yardstick to evaluate Gujaratis?” On another occasion, even more chillingly, he told the Washington Post: “Why even talk about 2002? . . . It’s the past. What does it matter?” His only regret, he told the New York Times, was his failure to handle the media fallout.

    None of these statements has done anything to reassure anxious Indian Muslims, or liberal Hindus who value the pluralistic mosaic of their society. Nor has his party’s ongoing hostility to Muslims: 50,000 of the riot victims of 2002 continue to languish in extreme poverty, displaced in 83 “relief colonies”. Although there is only one known instance of his visiting them, Modi has derisively described the camps as Muslim “baby-making factories”. He continues to refuse to wear a Muslim skullcap on the election trail, saying that the cap is a “symbol of appeasement of the minority”.

    Moreover, on Modi’s watch there was not a single Muslim candidate in Gujarat for member of the legislative assembly on the ticket of his Bharatiya Janata Party; across India, if you exclude Kashmir, there are only two Muslim BJP candidates. Muslims make up 13 per cent of India’s 1.2 billion people, but of the 449 BJP candidates now running for the lower house of parliament, all but eight are Hindus. One of Modi’s closest associates, Amit Shah, has gone even further, and called on voters in Uttar Pradesh to reject parties that put up Muslim candidates. He also openly urged voters to use the ballot box to seek “revenge for the insult meted out to our community. This election will be a reply to those who have been ill-treating our mothers and sisters” – this in an area where dozens were killed in Hindu-Muslim riots last year.

    This led to an almost unprecedented formal ban by the Electoral Commission of India on 11 April, stopping Shah from making any further public appearances in this campaign in Uttar Pradesh. He had previously been banned from entering his native Gujarat, where he stands accused of murder, using the local police as his proxies. Amid loud protests, the Uttar Pradesh ban was lifted on 18 April. Amit Shah is widely expected to become India’s home minister. If Modi is a frightening figure, it is properly terrifying to imagine Shah controlling the fate of 1.2 billion people.

    On the campaign trail, whether from pragmatism or otherwise, Modi has largely kept his Hindu nationalism hidden and presented himself throughout as an able, technocratic administrator who can turn the country’s economy around and stimulate much-needed development. It could therefore be that the liberal elite are worrying needlessly and that India will get a leader who can kick-start the economy, who is incorruptible and who has left his sectarian past well behind him.

    One can only hope so. Because, if the polls are right, Modi will win this election by some margin and we are likely to see many more images of the man plastered around the country over the next five years.

    ***

    Given that by most calculations Narendra Modi will be holding the reins of power in Delhi in a fortnight’s time, it is surprising how few people here, outside a small inner circle of diehard sycophants, know the man at all. He has avoided Delhi for most of his life, and his team – with a few exceptions such as the dark legal genius of the BJP, Arun Jaitley, who is running in Amritsar – are largely those with whom he has worked in Gujarat.

    Even in that small circle, few feel intimate with their idol, and what they tell you about his personal life adds to the sense of the man’s extreme austerity, self-discipline and self-sufficiency. “He is teetotal and vegetarian and lives an almost monastic lifestyle,” one told me. “He is extremely focused. When he talks to you he really listens: he can focus like few people I know.” “He calls it a day by eleven and gets up at four in the morning,” another aide said. “He spends the first 90 minutes of the day happily surfing the internet for articles about himself. His staff start getting calls by 5.30, latest.” “He is obsessed with personal hygiene,” said a third. “He changes his clothes at least four or five times a day. And he always eats alone. Always.”

    Louis XIV was also said to eat alone but Narendra Modi was born in rather different circumstances from the Sun King’s. He was the third of six children born to a family from the low, oil-presser Ganchi caste in the small town of Vadnagar, in the heart of Gujarat; to provide for his large family, Modi’s father also ran a tea stall at Vadnagar railway station. Modi used to help his father in the early mornings at the station, then cross over the tracks to go to school.

    A shaft of light has recently been thrown on his childhood after a bizarre revelation midway through the campaign. Modi has always talked of himself as single, but when he filed his papers to stand for this election, he declared for the first time that he was in fact married. According to the custom of his caste, he had been engaged at the age of three or four, underwent a religious ceremony at 14, and began cohabiting at the age of 17. After three months, he walked out to go on pilgrimage in the Himalayas and never came back.

    In the subsequent fallout, Modi kept his usual silence, but his elder brother issued a statement saying that “45-50 years ago our family . . . led a rather ordinary and poverty-stricken life. We belong to a family which was then bound by orthodoxy and plagued by social, educational and financial backwardness . . . Our parents were not very literate and that is why they thought Narendrabhai was like all the other children. Our parents earned a livelihood and led a life according to their intellectual capabilities and conditions. It was this which later saw our parents get Narendrabhai married at a rather young age . . . Today Narendrabhai remains as detached from his family as he was then.”

    Modi returned from his pilgrimage and set up a tea cart outside the Ahmedabad bus stand, and it was here that he found a new family: the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or Association of National Volunteers, which started life in 1925 as a far-right paramilitary organisation.

    Like the Phalange in Lebanon, the RSS was founded in direct imitation of European fascist movements, and like its 1930s fascist models it still makes much of daily parading in khaki drill and the giving of militaristic salutes: the RSS salute differs from that of the Nazis only in the angle of the arm, which is held horizontally over the chest. The RSS sees this as an attempt to create a corps of dedicated paramilitary zealots who, so the theory goes, will form the basis of a revival of a golden age of national strength and racial purity. The BJP was founded as the political wing of the RSS and most senior BJP figures have an RSS background, holding posts in both organisations. The RSS and the BJP both believe, as the centrepiece of their ideology, that India is in essence a Hindu nation and that minorities, especially Muslims, may live in India only if they acknowledge this.

    Madhav Golwalkar, the early RSS leader still known simply as “the Guru”, was the man who formulated the outlines of the RSS world-view and looked directly to the Nazi thinkers of 1930s Germany. He took particular inspiration from Hitler’s treatment of German religious minorities. “To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging of its Semitic Race, the Jews,” Golwalkar wrote admiringly in 1938.

    “Race pride at its highest has been manifested there. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures having differences going to the root to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by . . . The foreign races in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no ideas but those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture . . . or may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment – not even citizen’s rights.”

    During Partition, the RSS was responsible for many of the worst atrocities against Muslims, and it was a former RSS swayamsevak, Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 for “pandering to the minorities”.

    In the aftermath of the assassination, Pandit Nehru decided to deal firmly with the Hindu nationalists and he denounced the RSS as a “private army which is definitely proceeding on the strictest Nazi lines”. Partly as a result of this, the Hindu nationalists were an insignificant political force during the first decades of independent India; but by the 1980s they had returned with a vengeance. Today the RSS has roughly 40 million members, organised under 40,000 district centres across the country.

    This was the organisation that took Modi in, and which, he acknowledges, made him what he is. “I got the inspiration to live for the nation from the RSS,” he said recently in an interview. “I learned to live for others, and not for myself. I owe it all to the RSS.”

    Initially he swept and washed for the local RSS boss; but quickly he rose up the ranks, gaining a reputation as an efficient organiser. By the late 1980s he had become a senior figure in the RSS’s Gujarat chapter. From here, he was given the job of liaising with the Gujarat BJP and before long had moved across from the RSS into its political wing.

    His first big assignment came in 1990: to help organise the Gujarat leg of the Rath Yatra chariot march on Ayodhya from the great Hindu temple of Somnath, a campaign in which Modi played a crucial role. The campaign led to the destruction two years later of the Babri Masjid, a mosque said to have been erected by the first Mughal emperor on the site of the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram – and which for Hindu nationalists is a symbol of the centuries-long oppression of Hindus by Islamic rulers, an injustice they are determined to avenge.

    On 6 December 1992, after being whipped into a frenzy by the speeches of BJP leaders, a crowd of 200,000 militant Hindus stormed the barricades protecting the mosque. Shouting slogans – “Victory to Lord Ram!”, “Hindustan is for the Hindus!”, “Death to the Muslims!” – the militants began pulling the building apart with sledgehammers and pickaxes. One after another, like monuments to India’s time-honoured traditions of tolerance, democracy and secularism, the three domes of the mosque fell to the ground. In as little as four hours the entire structure had been reduced to rubble.

    Over the next fortnight unrest swept India: crowds of angry Muslim demonstrators came out on to the streets only to be massacred by the same police force that had earlier stood by and allowed the Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) militants to destroy the mosque without firing a shot. Mobs went on the rampage across India as Muslims were hunted down by armed thugs, burned alive in their homes or knifed in the streets. By the time the army was brought in, at least 1,400 people had been slaughtered in Bombay alone. In all, about 2,000 people were killed and 8,000 injured.

    It was a measure of how bad things had become in India that this violence played so well with the electorate. In 1991, the BJP had taken 119 seats in parliament, up from 89 in the previous election. In 1996 that proportion rose to 161 and the BJP became the largest single party in the Lok Sabha. Finally, the party won the 1998 general election with a record 179 seats.

    By this stage, Modi had been rewarded for his work by being promoted to serve as the BJP’s national secretary – a remarkable achievement for a low-caste politician from the provinces in a party still dominated by metropolitan Brahmins. He moved to Delhi and began to work on converting himself from a backroom provincial figure into a recognisable national politician. In 1999, during the Kargil crisis, when Pakistani troops occupied a slice of Indian Kashmir, Modi made a series of jingoistic interventions on Indian TV, on one occasion proclaiming: “We won’t give them chicken biryani; we will respond to a bullet with a [nuclear] bomb.”

    He used his proximity to the centre of power to begin politicking internally, in particular working to undermine his main rival, the then BJP chief minister in Gujarat, Keshubhai Patel.

    Modi took office on 7 October 2001. He had been chief minister only four months when, on 27 February, a party of Hindutva activists, returning from Ayodhya, where they had been holding a tenth-anniversary celebration of the destruction of the Babri Masjid, were caught in a burning wagon as their train stopped in Godhra station. Fifty-nine people were burned to death. A subsequent investigation found that the fire started by accident, due to a malfunctioning gas cylinder, but Modi, without evidence, immediately announced that it was a Pakistani-Muslim conspiracy. He called a statewide strike and had the burned bodies of the Hindutva activists paraded around Ahmedabad while he made a series of incendiary speeches.

    The following day, a huge mob of Hindu militants, armed with petrol bombs, iron rods and swords, gathered outside the Gulbarg Society, a residential complex in an upper-class Muslim area, home to a former Congress MP, Ehsan Jafri. Seeing that the police were observing the mob but making no attempt to control or disperse it, Jafri began calling round his contacts and begging for help. According to several survivors, Modi was among those he called. “After calling Modi, Jafri was totally depressed,” Imtiyaz Pathan, an electrician who had taken refuge in the house, told the Independent. “When I asked him what had happened, he said, ‘There will be no deployment of police.’ ” According to Jafri’s widow, Zakia, Modi taunted her husband and expressed surprise that he was still alive.

    Shortly afterwards, at around 3pm, Zakia Jafri watched in horror from her balcony as rioters marched her naked husband from their home and chopped off his fingers, hands, arms and head, then tossed the body on an open pyre. All the while the police looked on without intervening, telling victims, “We have no orders to save you.” An investigative magazine later caught several ringleaders on camera claiming that the chief minister had approved the attacks: “Modi had given us three days to do whatever we could,” one of them boasted.

    What happened in Gulbarg that day lies at the heart of the accusations against Modi. He denies all knowledge of events there and claims that he was not informed until 8.30pm, five hours after the massacre had finished. This version of events has been accepted by the Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team, which examined the matter at length. However, there are clear contradictions in the SIT report that make it hard to accept: for instance, records of a flurry of communications during the afternoon, as the violence unfolded, between police officers present in Gulbarg and their superiors. The SIT report praises Modi for holding a series of meetings with police officers throughout the day. If he was being briefed hour by hour, how then could he not have known about Gulbarg until late that evening? As a result, the report has been much criticised, especially since a former associate of Modi’s took out an affidavit claiming that a draft of the report had been sent to the Gujarat state lawyers for vetting and possible redrafting.

    A Supreme Court-appointed independent legal witness, or amicus curiae, believes there is still enough evidence to put Modi on trial, and an earlier Supreme Court statement called him “a modern-day Nero”.

    In the meantime, the case, including a new challenge from Zakia Jafri, continues to work its way through the legal system and there has not yet been a final ruling. But it is not true, as is often stated by Modi’s supporters, that the Supreme Court has given him a “clean chit”. In reality, the court has yet to rule on the matter; the facts remain in dispute and the case is ongoing.

    For several years after the riots, Narendra Modi was a political pariah. Thirty-two people were finally convicted of murder, attempted murder and conspiracy over the riots, among them Maya Kodnani, Modi’s one-time minister for women; she was sentenced to 28 years in jail. Sonia Gandhi denounced Modi as a “merchant of death” and several BJP MPs also broke ranks to criticise him. The US and UK refused him visas.

    Electorally, however, his approach proved
    disturbingly popular. In state assembly elections held after the riots, Modi returned to power with a greatly increased majority. In the meantime, he got on with ruling Gujarat, and proved an able and energetic administrator who could implement policy effectively on the ground.

    One of his first actions was bringing about exemplary reforms of the Gujarat electricity supply that have led to it being better supplied with power than almost any other state in India. Within a few years it was not just Gujarati voters, but also corporate chief executives who were beginning to express enthusiasm for Modi’s administration and the ease of doing business in his state.

    By 2007, he had got the reputation for being tough on lazy bureaucrats and intolerant of those who were corrupt. Much of their work was put online, increasing transparency and reducing the opportunities for laziness and graft. Judges were asked to work extra hours to plough through a backlog of court cases. At the same time, Modi continued to invest heavily in infrastructure such as roads and power stations.

    The turning point came in October 2008, when Tata Motors moved its car plant for its much-publicised new budget hatchback, the Nano, from the leftist-dominated West Bengal to the pro-business Gujarat. In 2011, Ford invested $1bn (£630m) in setting up another car plant. Before long, Gujarat started to make headlines, not for riots, but for its new image as an economic powerhouse. From 2003, Modi began holding an annual summit, Vibrant Gujarat, which cumulatively generated investment pledges of $920bn. All the most prominent Indian captains of industry, from Ratan Tata to the Ambanis and Mittals, rallied behind Modi and declared him India’s most business-friendly chief minister.

    Gujarat now enjoys double-digit growth and there is no question that Modi has run an economically successful administration. However, his claims to have made the state’s economy an ideal for the rest of India is disputed by economists, who point out that the “Gujarat Model” has done little to alleviate poverty or improve indexes of
    education, malnutrition or health care.

    Today Modi remains the most polarising figure in Indian politics. Many intellectuals and urban liberals view him as an almost satanic figure pushing India towards fascism. They point to his record with dissent: journalists from the Times of India who wrote against his government had sedition charges brought against them; Rahul Sharma, a policeman who helped convict many of the 2002 rioters, had his promotion blocked (“due to misspellings”); Teesta Setalvad, the lawyer who brought riot cases against him, had charges of embezzlement slapped on her. Most sinister of all, Haren Pandya, Modi’s former home minister, who agreed to give evidence against him to an independent commission of inquiry into the riots, was first made to resign his position, then deprived of his seat and finally murdered in mysterious circumstances in 2003. Modi, the argument goes, displays all the signs of becoming an Indian Putin.

    The BJP election manifesto certainly seems to show that the core Hindutva project remains in place: the document opens with a elegiac description of the brilliance of ancient India, “the oldest civilisation in the world”. Yet its long list of ancient Indian achievements stops dead in the 12th century with the arrival of the Muslim Turks. There is no mention of the glories of Mughal architecture or miniature painting or Urdu poetry, nor any of the wonders of the syncretic Indo-Islamic civilisation that flourished with such panache until British colonialism snuffed it out. The BJP’s vision of Indian greatness is still one that is exclusively Hindu.

    Yet little of this seems to have affected Modi’s popularity. India’s middle class loves him and regards him as the most hard-working and efficient politician in India. One of his biggest admirers in Delhi, who has known him for many years, told me that Modi’s Hindutva views haven’t changed but his interests have: that he was now much better travelled and more sophisticated than he was when he first came to power, and that his obsession was now catching up with China, whose rise he has followed closely.

    Economic growth is what Modi would concentrate on, he told me, not least because he believes it is a readily achievable goal. “He has fought the election on creating business opportunities and turning the economy around,” the admirer said, “and that is what he most wants to achieve.” He thinks he can do it: his success in stimulating the economy in Gujarat has whetted his appetite to do the same for the rest of India.

    Others take comfort in the idea that India has many constraints that will slow down any attempt Modi may make to turn the prime minister’s office into some autocratic powerhouse. India has, after all, a pugnacious press and an active judiciary. It is a hugely diverse country and its history shows that, in the end, all its rulers need to embrace that diversity in order to govern effectively. “He wants to be in power for a long time,” the veteran editor Shekhar Gupta was recently quoted as saying. “[At 63] he is young by Indian standards, and that is not going to work with a purely polarising agenda. What works in Gujarat does not work in the rest of India.”

    Much will undoubtedly depend on the size of Modi’s majority: a haul of 220 out of 543 seats would give him a free hand to bring about deep-seated change. Ruling through a fractious coalition – still the most likely outcome – would severely limit his options in such matters.

    Here lies the one big surprise the election may yet hold. For the most important trend in Indian politics over the past 20 years has been the apparently irreversible rise of strong regional parties as both Congress and the BJP have lost a growing number of seats to strongmen ruling through an alphabet soup of local party acronyms: the TMC in West Bengal, the BJD in Orissa, the DMK and AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, and so on. If Israeli politics is increasingly about small religious parties gaining a disproportionate degree of influence by controlling small vote banks that can swing elections and decide the balance of power, the same is true of the regional parties in India. In the event, for all the media excitement about the rise of Modi and the fall of the Nehru-Gandhis, this election could be about the less glamorous and more complex story of an India where the regional tail is increasingly wagging the federal dog.

    What seems certain, however, is that, in the absence of any serious competition, the BJP’s Modi will be the man attempting to build the new coalition: not necessarily something to which his abrasive character will be suited. In voting like this, India is knowingly taking a terrific gamble on its future, in effect choosing to ignore Modi’s record on civil liberties and human rights in return for putting in place a strong and decisive leader who would be brave enough to make the difficult reforms and provide the firm governance and economic prosperity this country is craving.

    William Dalrymple is the New Statesman’s India correspondent. His most recent book is “Return of a King: the Battle for Afghanistan” (Bloomsbury, £9.99)

    New Statesman | Narendra Modi: man of the masses

    **************************************************

    This is what is portrayed to the rest of the English speaking world, by know all about India and Indians, like this writer Dalrymple.

    Just note that colonial condescension in his writing.

    Kejriwal - a tax inspector. The idiot Dalrymple does not know the difference between a tax Inspector and a Commissioner of IT and he sits in 'authentic' judgement of India in his books! If this is his knowledge/ research that equates an inspector and a Commissioner to be of the same genre, then I think it is time I throw away the books by him that I bought as trash.

    Note, Manmohan is being blamed and not good old Rahul and Sonia for the Congress debacle and the poor economic policies! I am not being racist, but the bias shows, especially when all know that the populism was but the Italian woman's idea and not MMS'.

    Note the audacity of Darimple that he compares Modi with the lines fro Yeats - “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.”

    He writes - In 2002, the year after Modi became chief minister of Gujarat, as many as 2,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed and about 200,000 more displaced in an intercommunal bloodbath. Large numbers of girls were raped; men were cut to pieces and burned alive with kerosene or burning tyres. Pregnant women had their womb slit open and the foetuses smashed in front of their eyes. However, he does not give any proof to this effect. Darymple seems to be a male Teesta Setalvad.

    Note, he fails to mention that many non Muslims were also killed and that too when the police fired on them. No sir, that would not make the story sensational for the English, would it?

    A report by Human Rights Watch asserted that his administration was complicit in the massacres. “The attacks were planned in advance,” a senior researcher for the organisation said, “and organised with the extensive participation of the police and state government officials.” The usual media ploy to give person opinions without divulging source. Aha Human Right Report and a senior researcher, is it?

    on Modi’s watch there was not a single Muslim candidate in Gujarat for member of the legislative assembly on the ticket of his Bharatiya Janata Party; across India, if you exclude Kashmir, there are only two Muslim BJP candidates. Great! So, Winnability is not the criteria, right? Mamata Bannerjee has put up the maximum Muslim candidates and so she should be the PM, right? Dalrymple should change base to Calcutta, Mr Dal, just a question - how many Asian, Muslims etc do you put up in your Blighty for your election, my good man?

    Dal harangues about Amit Shah, but conveniently forgets Azam. Old chap, your agenda lies exposed!

    Modi and sycophants? Why, old bean, that is the Congress Party's patented product. Forgot that? Of course you would since Italy is closer to UK than India which had thrown you all out by the collar.

    I could have commented more on Darimple and his coloured sensational refrain resemblant of the Raj attitude, but I got bored.
     
    arnabmit and bose like this.
  19. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    His career ended when Ambanis replaced him as oil minister.


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  20. Dovah

    Dovah Untermensch Senior Member

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    </article>

    :( ......................
     
  21. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    There is a dedicated, highly organised and I think highly paid "Modi Bashing" Desi and International brigade specially sponsered and funded by Western Angelican Angloshere. This Angloshere is against anything that symbolises any thing "Desi" or "indigenious" or has potential to be against or be independant in such a way that stands in way of the agenda of "Anglosphere" - that is to control minds, likes, dislikes, options and decisions of India and Indians towards dependency on Angloshere. In nutshell the idea of Mody stands in the ways of what western sphere calles " Regime Control". Their tools - Islam, Jihadies, Conversion of religion specially by Anglican churches, insurgencies, corruption, English and anglicised elites, media are all utilised.

    Their dislike or attention to demonise Mody is based on their "Anglospheric" interests. Mody is Hindu and stands for Hinduism. He is hard core nationalist. He has a streak to take independant decisions. He wants national unity. He symbolises resurgent India. All these go against the economic and neo colonial interests of Angloshere (the west and USA). It is not just for nothing that Mody is the only man is the world who has been denied visa on religious grounds. It is not just for nothing that a publication of the fame of "The Economist" would carry an article demonising Modi just before election. It can not be a fluke chance that a highly paid journalist like Vinod Mehta would carry an article on front page of a paper to justfy why not to vote for Mody.

    US and western dilema on Modi winning the elections in India emenate from the sins and guilts of that Anglosphere who have hounded him for 12 continous years. Their "Regime Control" is threatened by Mody.

    Here are two interviews of a academic and journalist Madhu Kishwar who worked on the other side of Mody :



     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015

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