Saturday, November 24, 2012

Will Modi's national ambitions be hit?

Aug 30, 2012 - YOJNA GUSAI | Age Correspondent
For Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, the Naroda Patiya verdict comes at a time when crucial Assembly elections are just months away. Mr Modi and the BJP have been selling Gujarat's “unprecedented growth”, calling Mr Modi a “victim” of a vilification campaign, but the Opposition has got enough ammunition to attack him as Maya Kodnani, held guilty of murder and criminal conspiracy in the riots, is considered close to the CM.
Her conviction will almost certainly dent Mr Modi's credibility and put him on the backfoot.
The Opposition has alleged that Kodnani, accused of instigating the mob, acted at the behest of her political masters, including the CM. After Wednesday's verdict, internal discussions have begun in the BJP whether the national ambitions of Mr Modi, an aspirant for the prime ministership, will be affected.
Kodnani, a three-time MLA from Naroda, was inducted into the Modi Cabinet in 2007 despite allegations against her.
The BJP has dismissed the demand for Mr Modi's resignation and tried to play down the verdict, but the leadership has started weighing its implications.
A section of the party feels the BJP's poll prospects will be hit as for the first time a “high-profile” leader has been convicted. The Gujarat government was quick to distance itself from Kodnani, noting she was not a minister when the riots occurred. “An MLA is not a state government functionary,” a government spokesman pointed out to reporters.