Monday, October 15, 2012

Is Modi's bravado with 2014 in mind?

The best answer to the bravado- filled interview is that the CM should
permit an FIR to be registered against himself... Mr Modi is not
likely to accept this advice
The circumstantial evidence against Gujarat chief minister Narendra
Modi in the 2002 post-Godhra violence against Muslims in the state
appears overwhelming. And yet there is no incontrovertible proof,
although the amicus curiae of the Supreme Court, Raju Ramachandran,
who looked at the Ehsan Jafri murder case closely, seems not to be
entirely persuaded that the chief minister deserves the benefit of the
doubt. In the event there obtains considerable murkiness in respect of
Mr Modi's role and his supposed guilt.
It is this which is at the root of fingers pointing against him and
the American government not yet prepared to give him a visa to visit
the United States.
The chief minister has sought to overcome these odds through an image
overhaul, including a sartorial makeover that seeks to give the
impression of a man of action (especially in leavening the path for
industry), and this has earned Mr Modi not a little newfound goodwill
among some classes of people. The controversial CM even appointed an
American PR firm to help change the impression that the world has of
him. This fetched instant div idends in the shape of a fairly
uncritical cover story in the Asian edition of Time magazine. Mr
Modi's recent interview to Urdu weekly Nai Duniya, edited by a
Samajwadi Party leader, appears aimed at keeping the CM's new brand
afloat, although the audience is domestic and may not be bowled over
the same way as some foreigners might be.
Mr Modi's main contention in the inter view is that he is not guilty,
a certificate he has given himself numerous times but not been able to
persuade sceptical domes tic audiences. To this he adds the dramat ic
sequence that were he actually guilty, he should be hanged so that no
one in a hundred years would dare commit such a crime again. As
someone noted, the best answer to the bravado-filled interview is that
the CM should permit an FIR to be registered against himself and then
wait for the consequences. Naturally, Mr Modi is not likely to accept
this advice.
It has been said that the Gujarat leader is employing such language
and such methods because Assembly elections in Gujarat are only a few
months away. That could partly be the case. But Mr Modi has been chief
minister three times already and is more likely to be looking at a
grander stage. Therefore the interview, which is aimed at making him
look “cool“, could be an effort in the direction of pre-positioning Mr
Modi for the PM's job, especially if his party comes close enough in
numbers to be able to manipulate it. Mr Modi's targeted audience are
not just Urdu readers. That is the point