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Modi's muscle politics and serious flaws in his Gujarat record
Thursday April 10, 2014 10:31 AM, Kaleem Kawaja,

I have been reading several Indian mainstream English newspapers and watching a couple of TV news channels for a couple of months. What I find is that they are giving hyped up coverage of Narendra Modi, while ignoring the many festering problems in his "Gujarat model".

Modi's Gujarat

For instance: significant lack of human development, institutionalized daily corruption, that a large number of ordinary people face, and the many questions that people are asking him.

Recent independent studies have demonstrated that development in the two non-Bharti Janata Party (BJP) ruled states, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu over the last five years has been better than in Gujarat. Also BJP's L K Advani has said that development in Madhya Pradesh and Goa - two BJP ruled states - is better than in Gujarat.

Sweetheart deals for Modi's super wealthy cronies that acquire the poor farmers' lands with low compensation, and give it at throwaway prices to industrialists, who then make tons of profits from their industrial projects built on that land, is the order of the day.

Modi's Gujarat government has recommended that the Indian government pay Reliance Inc the outrageously high rate of $13 per MBTU for natural gas against their production cost of $1 per MBTU, extracted from gas wells in various parts of India. Should this kind of anti-common man Modi model be hyped as ideal for the nation?

Muscle politics by Modi in Gujarat has been routine for years. A couple of his ministers in Gujarat are convicted criminals. Who can forget all those extra-judicial police killings in Gujarat that the Supreme Court is still investigating.

Recently in Vadodra, Gujarat, from where Modi is contesting for the parliament, he has acquired all public poster display sites with nothing available to other candidates.

When his Congress party opponent Madhusadan Mistry protested, the police arrested him. When Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP members visited Gujarat, they were harassed by police and their cars were vandalized by Modi's supporters.

In all these months of campaigning Modi has hardly ever answered any questions from either the public or the press.

It is always an orchestrated monologue to audiences that are brought to the sites of the rallies in buses by BJP volunteers.

He flies in and out of the rallies by helicopters like a maharaja, without any interface with the ordinary Indians.

Indeed several senior BJP leaders have chided Modi for his authoritarian, personality cult style and muscle politics as being contrary to the principles of BJP.

In India it is not only religious minorities like Muslims, but also many Hindus and a multitude of the youth who are concerned about BJP's hardline, exclusivist, Hindu-supremacist policies, of which Mr. Modi is a poster boy. These do not bode well for the future of our progressive nation.

On the flip side the tremendous popularity of the Aam Aadmi Party due to its inclusive and principled policies across the nation in a few short months, which is a contrast to BJP and Modi, speaks for where the Indian nation wants to go and what kind of leaders it wants.

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