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Mainstream, VOL LI, No 18, April 20, 2013

Who Can Take On Narendra Modi?

Monday 22 April 2013, by Humra Quraishi


Narendra Modi seems doing nothing much to his semi-parched and drought hit State; in fact, focusing only on giving speeches to a select crowd of New Delhi. Before I write any further, it seemed more than apparent that his hosts double-checked the invite list and made sure that together with the business movers and shakers, only the Right-wing elements or those fence-sitters be invited. No, the outspoken lot of this Capital city was kept far away from Modi and his men. Why? Just in case any of those uncomfortable queries be thrown his know the list of queries along the strain—why his men had Ishrat Jehan and several others killed in fake encounters, why women were raped and killed in his State, and why a great majority of the Muslims of Ahmedabad are forced to live in that one big cluster—Juhapura. A ghetto which is made to remain under-developed in every sense of the term.

Modi took care to sound casual and carefree in his well-polished and well-laced and layered speeches but his eyes didn’t seem to hold out. That unmasked desperation for power writ large in every glance, in every look that came along those well-crafted sentences.

And Modi did not touch on the diversity of India that is the very backbone of this country. How could he, for he is a hater and destroyer of any diverse view or opinion or a format!

And here emerge the relevant questions: Why are we, as a collective lot, getting swayed and fooled? Why are we turning blind to the bigger scenario?

For those who do not see and sense the bigger picture, all that I can suggest is to see the film Hotel Rwanda. With that you will see what happens if two communities/tribes are set against each other. Civil war, with all possible crimes hitting all sections, cutting across the power structures. All citizens are terribly affected, battered and bruised, if not killed.

And in this scenario utter hopelessness holds sway. In fact, as I look around, left or right, there lurks a dismal picture. In fact, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, does have those vital inputs to take on Modi but he’d even refused to accept the post of Vice-President and had declined it even before the nomination stage.Yes, he could have taken on Modi, but he has opted to remain out of political strains. And there ought to be a complete ‘no’ on the Yadav front. In fact, Akhilesh Yadav cannot govern his own State of Uttar Pradesh where even children are getting raped and stuffed into jails! No, not the rapist but the raped! Where are we heading or what is this heralding?

The only man who can take on Modi is Rahul Gandhi. No, he isn’t much of a speech-giver nor does he cash on the strong points, rather what could become those winning turns and moves, but he carries earnestness. And to quote N. Ram from the foreword he has written to the book on Rahul Gandhi—Recoding Rahul Gandhi by Aarthi Ramachandran—launched last autumn: “We learn that Rahul Gandhi is an obsessive organisation man, who believes in applying business management strategies and methods, including the ‘Toyota Way’, to grassroots political organisation. He espouses meritocratic notions of seeking and nurturing talent and opening up opportunity for career advancement in Congress politics. While he has not been above playing the dynastic card, he has been candid about how he got to where he is today, declaring himself to be ‘a symptom of this problem’, which he wished to change. He does not seem to be good at building coalitions or dealing with existing or potential allies. He favours going it alone but, unlike, say, BSP leader Mayawati, he has no core social consti-tuency. In the heat of campaigning he has made his share of political gaffes and over-the-top allegations against opponents. He has been an indifferent parliamentarian whose sporadic interventions on issues, including corruption, have impressed no one except the political faithful. His secular credentials are not in question; in fact, he holds no known religious faith and has gone so far as to declare the national flag to be his religion.”

For me, the biggest plus point of Rahul is that he does not sound nor look contrived. It’s his earnestness that is his most positive feature. But Rahul seems to be surrounded by a bunch of advisors who are coming in way of the connectivity factor. No, it isn’t enough to spend an evening or eat a meal or a morsel at a poor man’s dwelling. There has to be an ongoing connect, those lasting connections, on a daily basis.

Why can’t you and I go visiting his office and list out our grievances?

Why can’t he see the Right-wing communally charged elements in his own party cadres and with that get them thrown out?

Why can’t he focus only and only on the communal and corruption issues?

Why can’t he use whistle-blower cops of Gujarat (who had taken on Modi), to his advantage? The former DGP of Gujarat, R.B. Sreekumar (the first IPS rank officer of the Gujarat cadre who took on Modi), is brimming with facts and figures to pin down Modi and also those communally charged elements who are making inroads into the Congress.

Though Sreekumar has a bagful of facts and figures but here is this latest from him.               “Kuldeep Sharma, a former IPS officer who was close to Modi and was there in Ahmedabad rural, in 2002, when riots erupted in and around the Anand and Kheda districts, has changed sides and got close to the Congress... Why and how he moved from Modi to the Congress? Are there layers involved?”

And last fortnight—in a letter dated March 30, 2013—Sreekumar has written to the UP Governor, focusing on the role of the UP police-men in the Godhra incident. Copies of this letter he’d sent and re-sent to Mulayam and Akhilesh Yadav, yet nothing seems moving ...Why?

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