by Tehseen Poonawalla Friday , September 13, 2013


Have you noticed , how in his last few speeches including the one from the made up “Red Fort“, Narendra Modi has stopped “highlighting” his achievements or giving out “statistics” that showcase his governance. Perhaps he has realised, manufacturing “facts” with the help of a controversial PR agency will not go unchallenged anymore. For sometime now Modi had managed to project himself as the “Vikas Purush” perhaps to divert attention from the horrors of the 2002 pogrom. Therefore a myth was carefully planned and created -that marketed “Vibrant Gujarat” as the leading state in terms of development. We are often told that Gujarat under Modi is one of the best places to live in and since the genocide; there has been peace in Gujarat, which has seen unprecedented development. I will touch upon the subject of the riots later on, but let me first tackle this miracle that is attributed to the Gujarat Chief Minster. In terms of Per capita income Gujarat is ranked 11th, Haryana and Maharashtara take the first and second place respectively.

Gujarat has only seen 6.1% growth which is slightly above the national average growth of 4.66% in terms of per capita income. Gujarat lands a joint 9th place with TN in GDSP growth during the 11th plan (2007-12) in General category states, slower than the Congress ruled Haryana, Rajasthan, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Perhaps NaMo supporters may argue that it is unfair to compare one state to another (despite that being the attempt of Modi himeself before being confronted with facts) therefore let me compare Narendra Modi to his predecessors. If we were to compare Modi with other Gujarat Congress chief ministers like Chiman Bhai Patel (who governed with Congress support and then later joined the Congress until his demise) from 1990 to 94Gujarat achieved a growth rate of 16.75%, which is higher than the growth rate under Modi’s administration of 6.1% (average for the last 9 years). And this was when the full benefits of opening up the economy were not evident. During the 10 years of Congress rule from 1980-81 to 90 before Chiman Bhai Patel became CM, Gujarat was ruled by Madhavsinh Solanki and Amarsingh Chaudhary and it achieved a growth rate of 14.8%. Again, one must consider that this was the period before the liberalisation of the economy, hence we can see, even amongst his peers in Gujarat; Modi is not the best performer. The only chief minister Modi outperforms in recent times is his former party colleague Keshubhai Patel.

Narendra Modi once said that everyone should repay their debt. Well the citizens of Gujarat certainly will have to, because under him debt on Gujarat has gone up more than 4 times during his tenure (2001-13), from Rs 42,780 cr in 2001 to Rs 1, 76,490 cr in 2013. Gujarats per capita debt is already among the highest in the country and is all set to rise further by a whopping 46% in the next three years, while debt on Gujarat is the 3rd highest in India behind WB (Rs 1.92lakh crore) and UP (Rs 1.58 crore). More than the shenanigans of economic boom that is projected, my opposition to someone like a Narendra Modi is simply because he is a deeply polarizing and divisive figure just like his former mentor L.K Advani. Modi who claims credit for everything that is right in Gujarat including “Lijjat papad” that started in Maharashtra, or the “Milk Revolution” despite the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers Union registered in 1946, 4 years before Modi was born or Dr Verghese Kurien, founder-chairman of the GCMMF for more than 30 years (19732006) had nothing to do with him, has not owned up or offered any regrets for what happened in 2002 while he was both Chief Minister and Home Minister. On the contrary in a recent interview Modi compared the victims of the dastardly riots to a “kutte ka baccha.” His claim that his model of governance is “justice to all appeasement to none” sounds hollow when one realizes that the Supreme Court had to move the riot cases out of Gujarat because justice was being obstructed.

A decade later victims are still living in refugee camps and while team Modi often claims in TV studios that he has been given a clean chit by the courts, the fact is the Supreme Court where the matter is still under trial (no clean chit has been given) called him a “modern day Nero.” While in front of camera’s Modi supporters often throw the findings of the SIT in the riots cases, another SIT set up by the courts in the fake encounter case has indicted his administration , one which he headed again both as Chief Minister and Home Minister.In fact as investigation into these “fake” encounters progress, ordered and monitored by courts, the testimonies of the police officers jailed (Gujarat has the highest number of IPS officers in jail) may lead to further embarrassment for the BJP and trouble for Modi who would often in his rallies claim with the names of the encounter victims, a plan hatched to assassinate him.


There is no doubting Modi’s popularity on the internet and social media. But if this popularity actually translated into votes the BJP should have formed the government in Uttarakhand, Himachal and the IT savvy Karnataka all three places where Modi campaigned extensively. India like the United States is a very diverse country and remembers in the presidential elections there, most projections showed Mitt Romney leading upto the first presidential debate but ultimately it was an inclusive Obama who won the mandate of the people.


Even in Egypt their first democratically elected President Morsi was shown the door when he failed to be inclusive. How can a man who fails to attract allies and divides his own party ever hope to run a smooth, stable and effective government at the centre? Modi bhakts often speak of the Gujarat model. Well being born to a Gujarati Muslim mother, whose family cannot get an accommodation in most buildings,areas they would like to reside on account of the religion they follow , I hope my India built under the moral shadow of another Gujarati, the Mahatma never adopts this model. A friend of mine visiting the state during the famous kite festival quoted a poet “Yeh Dekh kar patange hairan ho gayee, Ab toh chatte bhi HINDU MUSALMAN ho gayee!” (The kites were stunned to see; even the roofs of homes had been divided on Hindu Muslim lines!
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