Wednesday, September 5, 2012


There Is No Alternative Versus Modi Is Not Acceptable 

This is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s biggest dilemma today as it gives in to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s categorical demand that he be declared the party’s prime ministerial candidate for 2014.
    The party leadership is closely monitoring a juststarted war between two Urdu dailies in Uttar Pradesh which have taken opposing stances on Modi’s olive branch to Muslims, packaged as ‘Sadbhavana’.
    Barely two months ahead of the assembly elections due in December 2012, Modi’s secularism will be put to test again during the Eid-ul-Zuha festival, also known as Bakr-Eid, when government agencies traditionally seize trucks carrying bovine animals for slaughter. His ‘Sadbhavana’ has not gone down well with the core of his Hindu vote bank.
    The TINA (there is no alternative) factor of course stems from the fact that there is no other crowdpuller in the country’s second biggest political party. This theory is being reinforced by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
    MINA (Modi is not acceptable) noises are coming from the quarter which does not want to be seen with Modi, lest it annoys Muslim voters. Leading the pack is Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, whose notes may sound jarring to Modi but is music to the ears of many BJP stalwarts who dare not raise their voice on this issue.
    It is not without reason that former chief minister Keshubhai Patel is calling Modi a Hitler. At the root of reservations within the top BJP leadership about Modi becoming PM is his streak of autocracy. A leading news magazine recently did a story on how Modi has not expanded his cabinet for years and how he does not transfer his officers for years. Modi reportedly appreciated the ‘negative’ story as he felt that this only reinforces his image among the people as a no-nonsense CM.
    At a recent meeting with a group of influential Muslims from Ahmedabad and Mumbai, Modi is reported to have asked them which was the biggest massacre of Muslims in India. While the group set about thinking, he told them it was Nellie in Assam where the official death toll in 1983 was 2,100.
    He also asked them who was the chief minister at that time. The group could not come up with an answer. He then asked them if they knew what happened to the Nellie inquiry. With the group now accustomed to him giving answers to his own questions, they waited till he told them that no inquiry report was ever tabled and nobody was prosecuted.
    Nellie is probably going to be Modi’s weapon to combat MINA.