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Home > News > Columnists > Arvind J Bosmia

How Modi hopes to overcome opposition

January 18, 2008

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'So now they want to launch a mega-budget movie in which Nirupa Roy will dance under the direction of Kareena Kapoor [Images]; can there be a surer way of unmaking a super-hit?' This was the contemptuous reaction of an ardent Narendra Modi [Images] follower when reports came from Delhi that the Gujarat chief minister will supervise the makeover of L K Advani into a 'Modi clone' and project him as the prime minister-in-waiting for the coming Lok Sabha elections.

The furious reaction continued: "The man could not even attract a 2,000-strong audience and now wants a man who can attract lakhs to make way for him. Advani is the BJP's past while Modi is the future."

Modi, oblivious to the stratagems worked out in Delhi to put him on a self-sacrificial track through inspired media stories, continues to have prime ministerial airs, as exemplified by his first post election speech delivered at Bhuj on December 30. Either he is too sure of the spontaneous abortion of Mission Advani or else he has plans to make his own size so huge that all his rivals are dwarfed into a fadeout.

His Bhuj speech was a total giveaway. When national leaders from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] to L K Advani were making innocuous and guarded remarks about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto [Images], Modi thundered about fighting Islamic terrorism through world unity and advocated the revival of the separatist Jiye Sindh Movement. In keeping with his macho image, this was paying back Pakistan in its own coin. Though this is a common topic of discussion in the national security establishment, Modi casually brought it into the public domain. The implicit suggestion is that his leadership alone can ensure the implementation of such tough strategies.

He rubbished Manmohan Singh's leadership, saying, "He said India should have taken the lead in organising such world forces, but surprisingly there was no proactive action from the Centre even three days after the Pakistani leader's assassination."

Anticipating the mind of his audience on the border district of Gujarat, he also said, "I raise this issue here because any untoward incident taking place across the border would have its repercussion in our country through the contiguous border district of Kutch and Sindh." The hint is that if he were the prime minister he would talk about the border areas throughout the country; but as a chief minister he can only talk about the Sindh unrest having an effect on Kutch.

Calling the Sindh unrest the final opportunity to stoke Sindhi separatism, he concluded, "If the leadership in Delhi misses the opportunity this time, it would go out of our hands forever." The clear signal is that the present Union government is headed by a bunch of 'soft' leaders who cannot be expected to act the way Narendra Modi can!

Even as he looms larger and larger on the national horizon, he has gone along with Project Advani to dilute the savage opposition against him in the BJP high command and in the mainstream secular media, who may be lulled into thinking that drafting Modi in Project Advani could be a smart way of dissipating his energy.

Parallel to this, the deification of Modi has already begun in Gujarat. A settlement of madaris/vaadis/saperas at Bhojpara village near Wankaner in Saurashtra has built a temple dedicated to Modi-worship, where he is installed as a deity. A full archana of his stone image is performed everyday.

According to a madari elder Mirkhanath Shambunath Bambhaniya, Modi is worshipped as a pir with local people keeping mannat. When the mannat is fulfilled they offer cash gifts and apply sindoor to Modi's stone image.

Arvind Bosmia is an Ahmedabad based freelance journalist

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