Congress could not defeat Modi in Gujarat?
Yet, the majority of Hindus of Gujarat being anti-minority is a
fact that goes back several decades to 1947, including the
lifetime of Mahatma Gandhi. Even in his lifetime, in Gujarat
Gandhi was less popular
Surely BJP winning the Gujarat state
Assembly election under Narendra Modi’s leadership for the third
time in a row is to be recognized. But to use that as a basis to
project Modi as a national leader and a candidate for Prime
Minister is a wildly exaggerated hype.
Indeed three other current chief ministers, Tarun Gogoi (Assam),
Sheila Dikshit (Delhi) and Navin Patnaik (Orissa) have achieved
the same feat. But no one has projected them as national leaders.
We cannot ignore the fact that despite huge money support from top
industrialists, maximum polarization of the Gujarati society along
the lines of religion for over a decade in a state where Hindus
are 91% of the population, orchestrated by Mr. Modi, the number of
seats in the state Assembly won by the Gujarat BJP under his
leadership has continued to decline from 127 in 2002, to 117 in
2007, to 115 in 2012.
Admittedly, during Mr. Modi’s tenure in Gujarat good development
of industries and infrastructure has taken place. But a lot of
credit for this goes to the entrepreneur nature of the Gujaratis
per se. Indeed wherever Gujarati people have lived in the last
many decades, in Mumbai & Maharashtra, in East and South Africa,
in UK, in US, they have been in the forefront of significant
commercial and industrial development. It should also be noted
that in Gujarat, Mr. Modi while helping the wealthy
industrialists, has done very little for the backward segments of
In electing India’s future national leaders, can the people of
India outside Gujarat ignore the severe strictures of India’s
Supreme Court, the Indian Human Rights commission, the mainstream
Indian media, the UN Human Rights Commission and several major
international human rights bodies and governments, against Mr.
Those strictures relate to the grievous anti-minority violence in
February 2002 that resulted in the killing of over 1,000 Muslim
civilians all over Gujarat; the subsequent fake encounters staged
under Mr. Modi’s direction that resulted in the killings of scores
of innocent individuals; the total lack of state government
protection to the minorities; and Mr. Modi’s lack of respect for
the laws of the land.
India is a nation of 28 states representing ethnic and religious
diversity. The majority population in most of these states though
Hindu is largely secular and coexist with minority Muslims,
Christians and Sikhs. In most states, there is little polarization
along the lines of religion. Over half a dozen of the most
populous states have very sizeable minority population with
representation in the state Assemblies and parliament through
several secular and regional parties. Also poor people comprise
about one-third of India’s population.
Thus the national leaders and Prime Minister have to be those who
represent the inclusive values and coalition politics of the
diverse nation, not those who polarize the population along the
lines of religion, and who use fear to govern, as Mr. Modi has
demonstrated about himself. Being for development alone is not
In the last few years despite his claims of success, except for a
counted few states, hardly any other states in India have invited
Mr. Modi to visit there – not even states ruled by his own BJP
(e.g. Bihar, Karnatak). He is also not welcome in most countries
Thus based on his social/political philosophy, style of governance
and personal characteristics, it appears that Mr. Modi cannot be a
leader outside Gujarat and cannot be a national Indian leader.
The writer is
Washington based activist. He can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org