Thursday, September 22, 2011

Narendra Modi’s Self-Goal

In an interview with an electronic channel (September 18) Narendra Modi​ was asked a question about the “timing” of his fast. Rarely has one seen a mask come off as eloquently as it did in Modi’s response to that question. “Timing hee tou hai... ...timing ke liye hee tou meri taarief hoti hai.”

As succinct an admission, albeit, inadvertent, that the 'sadbhavana fast' was thought of as a prime piece of tactic, having little to do with any felt emotion on the subject of harmony.

And, yet, this may be the one time when Modi mistimed himself humungously.

What Modi has achieved on the “positive” side has been a sort of yes vote from those already in his kitty. But on the negative side, he may have scored several self-goals all in one. To wit:

He exposed those within his own party who, however encouraging or protective, do not line themselves up on behalf of his self-projection as a prime ministerial candidate; LK Advani​, characteristically, made contradictory noises, citing the approbation of Modi by an American Congressional Research cell, but also saying that the BJP has many worthwhile candidates. What else is his nth rath yatra meant to hint if not that? Notice that despite a directive from the RSS that he publicly renounce that ambition if his yatra is to have support from RSS cadres, Advani has not made any explicit declaration to that effect. As to Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley​, much as they do not wish to lose the Modi vote-bank, they are intelligent enough to know that the BJP will not have a hope in hell in any general election in a multi-religious, multi-ethnic, multi-caste Indiawith Modi at the helm of any campaign.

He obliged the BJP’s chief ally, the JD(U) to make the most elaborate statement yet since 2002 on how Modi’s culpabilities with regard to the 2002 carnage cannot be wished away, and how he failed to rise to his oath and accountability to the secular-constitutional regime, rubbing in the peception that a Modi who has failed to govern 5 crore Gujaratis may hardly be trusted to steer an India of some 125 crore citizens of mind-bogling plurality (see Shivanand Tiwari’s statement, The Hindu, Sept,19).

Modi drew the clarification from the AIADMK supremo that the party’s participation is limited only to the subject of communal harmony, and should not be read into beyond that point; the show also brought into stark focus the absence of the Shiv Sena​ from the Modi event, as the Shiv Sena supremo expressed his scepticism about Modi's attempt to turn away from his laudable USP, namely, hardcore Hindutva. After all, Advani did fall grievously between two stools consequent upon his praise-Jinnah manoeuvre, a piece of cunning from which he never did recover.

Modi allowed the rival Congress party to mount a telling counter in the shape of a “footpathi” upvaas, shorn of frills and lucre, “placing” by contrast the Modi show for what it is, a super rich PR exercise and gigantic waste of public money which has no space for the little men and women of Gujarat; not that this well-thought riposte will amount to much unless the Congress and other secular forces build on it in the months to come, foregrounding both a credible critique of Modi's record and movements based on hard livelihood issues. What is new is that withinGujaratthere is now a greater audience for such things than before, and in no small measure due to Modi's cavalier, Caligula-style self-projection.

Modi helped to bring into broad daylight the hidden truths of the Muslims of Gujarat in the shape of the victims of Naroda Patiya who struck out in a procession to the site of that massacre, countering resoundingly the fake propaganda that no one is richer or happier in Modi’s Gujarat than its Muslim citizens; and thereby exposing the coterie of rich Bohras for their reality as self-regarding and canny Modi hangers-on. The protest also allowed such statements to be recorded on public television by the victims that had as much police been present on Feb,27 and 2, 2002, as was to be seen now to stop and thwart their non-violent and rightful protest, the carnage of 2002 may not have happened. All that capped with decisive embarrassment and exposure in Modi's refusal to accept an iconic sufi head-gear from a sufi saint who came to meet him at the site of the fast (say no to Jinnah being the idea behind the refusal to wear the cap) -- an event that, surprisingly, continues to be milked no end even by channels known to be BJP-friendly (Aaj Tak, Headlines Today). Clearly a pointer to the war within the BJP camp.

He let the world see how real Modi’s allegiance to sadbhavna is in resolutely refusing even moral responsibility, and in setting the police on the peaceful protestors who included such activists as Mallika Sarabai and Mukul Sinha, and affecting their “preventive detention”; incidentally, it is only right that members of "team Anna" should have deplored this part of excess on behalf of Modi, given how strongly they had felt when Anna was detained 'preventively' for a day in Delhi.

Modi allowed a most damaging opportunity to the widow of Modi’s slain erstwhile cabinet colleague, Hiren Pandeya, to march to the site of the fast demanding justice for that most Macbeth-like crime which the late Pandeya’s now late father never ceased to attribute to Modi himself; a cicumstance that has helped to recall to public memory that the late Pandeya was the first one to confide to a Citizen's Judicial Commission how Modi had issued instruction at the meeting of Feb 27, 2002 that Hindus be allowed to vent their anger during the course of the bandh announced by the VHP.

A fresh affidavit has been initiated by the officer Sreekumar (additional DGP, Intelligence, at the time of the 2002 carnage) enumerating how Modi had personally asked him to scuttle the PIL filed in the courts by Mallika Sarabai on the subject of the Gujarat massacre by taking Rs 10 lakhs from Intelligence coffers and bribing Sarabai’s lawyers to ensure that the litigation went nowhere; lo and behold, the money was furnished by the government, handed over to minister, Amit Shah, (currently externed from Gujarat by an order of the Supreme Court on the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case) and in turn given not to the chief Sarabai lawyer but the more obliging Tushar Mehta, who was charged with keeping the state abreast with all the secrets of the Sarabai camp!

Aren’t you dying like me to know what the Lokayukta may have to say about that one? Given that this seems as proven a case of corruption as can be at the highest levels, one is waiting to hear from "team Anna" on the revelation.

Altogether, Modi, may end up reaping a harvest that the sadbhavana move was calculated to thwart and bury, most of all to paper over the fact that the decision of the Supreme Court to direct the trial court to proceed in the matter of the Gulberg Society massacre on the basis of the Zakia Jafri complaint, the complete SIT report and the independent, court-directed observations of the amicus curie against all the named entities, Modi included, actually it all now amounts to a formal arraignment.

In that background, the sadhbhavana event may well be interpreted as a proverbial whistling-in-the-dark bravado that, far from scaring the night's owls, may in fact have brought more owl-like scrutiny to bear upon everything that the stagey fiasco was intended to cover up and relegate.

Badri Raina The writer is an eminent academic based in Delhi

Courtesy : Hardnews

1 comment:

വര്‍ക്കേഴ്സ് ഫോറം said...

In an interview with an electronic channel (September 18) Narendra Modi​ was asked a question about the “timing” of his fast. Rarely has one seen a mask come off as eloquently as it did in Modi’s response to that question. “Timing hee tou hai... ...timing ke liye hee tou meri taarief hoti hai.”