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Rediff.com  » News » 'M for Modi' is actually 'M for Mr Moneybag' for BJP

'M for Modi' is actually 'M for Mr Moneybag' for BJP

Last updated on: December 7, 2012 13:35 IST

Modi is losing steam while looking ahead

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Urvish Kothari in Ahmedabad

Urvish Kothari looks beyond the myth of Narendra Modi and highlights the chinks in the Gujarat chief minister's armour.

"Ye Gujarat ke mukhya mantra ka chunav nahin hai par hindustan ke pradhan mantra ka hai (This is not an election for the chief minister but an election for prime minister)," said Navjot Singh Sidhu, Bharatiya Janata Party member and a motormouth in and outside the cricket commentary box.

Estimates may vary from a comfortable win to sizeable reduction in the number of seats, but hardly anybody in Gujarat counters predictions of Narendra Modi's victory in the upcoming election.

So, is he all game for the top post if he wins this election?

Hardly so, if one goes by the obvious, glaring chinks in his much-touted armour of 'Modi means business'.

Apart from aggressive propaganda machinery, what are Modi's projected qualities that set him apart from his peers? And how have they changed or suffered heavily, especially during this election season?

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Gujarat Assembly Elections 2012: Complete Coverage | Gujarat Election 2012: Rediff Sentimeter


Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Naredra Modi


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Modi's fans overlook corruption for 'vikas'

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Non-corrupt image: Modi's detractors never took his claim Khato nathi ane khava deto nathi (Neither do I take bribe nor allow anyone to do so) seriously because of his hobnobbing with top industrialists and sops offered to them by the state Bharatiya Janata Party government.

His fans, many of them active supporters of the Anna Hazare movement, looked away when the Comptroller and Auditor General indicted the Modi government for corruption. BJP ministers like Dilip Sanghani and Purushottam Solanki are tainted with large-scale corruption. Gandhinagar insiders reveal the change in the scale of corruption in last decade -- and it has gone northwards.

The most bizarre and interesting twist is this: Many of Modi's fans brazenly accept his corruption but condone it citing vikas (development) of Gujarat. Inclusion of party-hoppers like Narhari Amin has dented the already diminishing non-corrupt image further.

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Image: A supporter with a picture of Modi on his turban attends an election campaign rally ahead of the state assembly elections at Pavagadh town, in Gujarat
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters

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'M for Modi' is actually 'M for Mr Moneybag' for BJP

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I'm the boss, I don't make compromises: 'Don't look at your candidate. Vote for me', is Modi's appeal. 

That 'M for Modi' is actually 'M for Mr Moneybag' for the party and the parivar is an open secret. That makes him the most powerful leader in the party, even with a total of 26 Lok Sabha seats from the state. His power may work at the national level but no longer in Gujarat -- the bastion of Modi's BJP. Just look at the number of repetitions and inclusions in the BJP candidates' list.

The Gujarat Congress has never been a homogeneous show. It is infamous for infighting. The real problem is: how can one explain aspirants leaving the Gujarat BJP that revolves around the cult of Modi? Clearly, they were not taking orders submissively from the boss.

Abandoning the fabled 'no-repeat theory' has also torn apart the mask of Modi, only to show his meekness and willingness to compromise in order to win the election. Bending backwards to include last-minute dissidents from the Congress while not offering 'an inch of space' to the earlier party faithful-turned-rebels has exposed Modi's own perception of his vulnerability in this election.

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Image: Narendra Modi speaks during the concluding session of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors' Summit 2011 at Gandhinagar
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters

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Modi's tactics show deep roots of politics in communal polarisation

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Communal Sadbhavana: The trait that needed a desperate makeover in order to reach at the top has remained intact after all shows of Sadbhavana. In 2002, Modi used to refer to the then chief election commissioner J M Lingdoh as James Michel Lingdoh in his public speeches, to underline Lingdoh's Christianity and his alleged link with 'Christian' (read: Italian) Sonia Gandhi. He would challenge Miyaan (Parvez) Musharraf as if Musharraf was fighting for an assembly seat from Maninagar constituency.

The ploy was, Modi would speak of 'Miyaan Musharraf' in the first line but carried the entire speech bashing only 'miyaan' (a derogatory address for Muslims in Gujarat). The message was through. Musharraf was merely a handle for Modi to bash the 'miyaan' of Gujarat openly and get away with it.

The 2007 elections were fought on fake encounters of Sohrabuddin and Kausar Bi. A dubious fatwa appealing to the Muslims to vote for the Congress was publicised by the BJP at the last moment. The message: The Congress stands for Muslims, voting for the Congress amounts to voting for Muslims and treachery to the Hindus. Come 2012, he addressed Sonia Gandhi's political advisor Ahmed Patel as Ahmed Miyaan, accused him of aspiring to be Gujarat CM and implying the same: Be prepared for a Muslim CM if you vote for the Congress.

Repetition of the same old tactics by Modi even this time round shows the deep roots of his politics in communal polarisation. How this attitude can work at the national level is anybody's guess.

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Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters

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