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 Secularism an excuse to deny Modi his due June 25, 2012 14:32 IST

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PostSubject: Secularism an excuse to deny Modi his due June 25, 2012 14:32 IST   Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:15 am

.Secularism an excuse to deny Modi his due
June 25, 2012 14:32 IST.


Rediff

If Nitish Kumar is calling Narendra Modi [ Images ] names to endear himself to the minorities, or for severing ties with the BJP, he ought to be most welcome. The problem with the BJP is that in the face of persistent abuse that it is communal, it has developed an inferiority complex, forcing it to be on the defensive, says Virendra Kapoor.
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Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the machinations for settling the potentially disruptive issue of National Democratic Alliance's prime ministerial candidate have not begun a day too soon. Even if the next parliamentary poll is held on schedule in 2014, the sooner the major anti-Congress grouping gets this contentious leadership question out of the way, the better it will be. After all, you cannot open this can of worms on the eve of the poll and then risk a messy and divided campaign. The pitfalls of naming a captain on the eve of a crucial match are not unknown to anyone, least of all to those now sharpening knives in the NDA in the quest for that elusive leadership trophy.

So one finds no merit in the criticism that at a time when the NDA seemed to have dug itself into a hole over the presidential poll, it ought to have avoided public recriminations over the leadership issue. The shadow-boxing between Narendra Modi, most likely to be anointed leader of the BJP after he wins Gujarat for the third time in a row later this year, and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, that one witnessed this past week, therefore, were most welcome. Though a mere trailer, it is hoped that the ostriches in the NDA would no longer be allowed to put this question on the back burner.

For, once you concede that there is a leadership vacuum in the BJP after the inevitable eclipse of the Vajpayee-Advani [ Images ] duo, you in fact underline the need for filling that vacuum. The BJP leadership has left that question unsettled thus far because a) Advani has mulishly refused to call it a day; and b) there is a vain hope in some sections that the routine, everyday political process by itself will throw up a leader. Unfortunately, that is not how leaders are made.

A sure-fire formula to make leaders has not been patented as yet anywhere in the world. Certain intangibles, certain invisibles invariably play a huge role. In fact, no longer can one say that leaders are born. If so, one Rahul Gandhi [ Images ] would be sitting in the chair currently seconded to Manmohan Singh [ Images ] in the hope that the Congress' Chosen One would one day soon grow into a leader.

Why, the BJP has had three presidents in recent years, namely, Venkiah Naidu, Rajanth Singh and, the incumbent, Nitin Gadkari [ Images ]. None of them bids fair to emerge as a leader in his own right. Or, for that matter, take BJP chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh [ Images ] and Chhattisgarh. They are equally popular in their states, having won the polls for the second time on the trot, and, by all accounts, they are providing purposeful governance.

Yet no one has suggested even in passing, within the BJP or outside, that Shivraj Singh Chauhan or Raman Singh ought to lead the national campaign in the next parliamentary poll. It is Modi, and Modi alone, for the hardcore RSS-BJP workers. Why? Because he was the chief minister when the Godhara riots occurred? Or in spite of them?

Is there something in Modi's persona, the way he talks, the way he walks, his over-the-top marketing of the so-called Gujarati pride that has pitch-forked him as the only one competent to lead the BJP, and therefore, the NDA in the next parliamentary poll?

Now, before the recent Mumbai [ Images ] conclave of the party these were mere questions. But after Mumbai, we have had the answers. It is Modi alone who seems to fill the bill for leading the saffron party. Enough has been written about the way the Gujarat strongman arm-twisted the party to have his way over Sanjay Joshi.

Those who saw the television footage of the proceedings could not have missed how the party president Gadkari, who in the fitness of things ought to have been the master of ceremonies, played second fiddle to Modi.

In other words, Nitish Kumar was not wrong in concluding that the largest constituent in the NDA had already zeroed in on Modi to lead the campaign as and when the next Lok Sabha poll is held. Since he reckons himself to be in with a chance, he framed the minimum qualifications for the future NDA leader in such a manner which in his view automatically barred Modi. When asked by a friendly scribe as to who should lead the NDA, the Bihar CM said he should be 'clean and secular'.

What he left unsaid was also obvious. It was his case that whereas he was both 'clean and secular', his Gujarat counterpart fell woefully short on the second criterion, and, therefore, was unfit to lead the NDA. From here on the usual suspects in the rival camps took over, much to the glee of the television anchors who seized on the Modi vs.Kumar slugfest to fill their evening slots.

Now, Kumar may have rescued Bihar from further depredations of the Lalu-Rabri Yadav family rule. But that alone cannot be a passport to 7, Race Course Road. Being clean and secular does not necessarily mean that one is competent for the top job in the country. (to find out how competent, look no further than Manmohan Singh who has made a complete hash of things as prime minister). Besides, Kumar's casteist politics does not certainly become someone who harbours national ambitions.

Leave that aside, it is the secularism test we find most objectionable. It is a hangover from the days of the Partition; its context and circumstances firmly rooted in that bloody chapter in the history of the sub-continent. It was devised in the first place to woo the minority voters who had stayed behind for whatever reasons after the creation of two separate States on the basis of transfer of population.

In a country where the majority community numbers above 80 percent, how anyone solicitous of its welfare can be communal and those obsessed with pandering to the 15-odd percent secular is beyond one's comprehension. Indeed, it is this verbal pandering which has harmed the cause of greater national unity by constantly reminding the minorities that they are special, they are privileged as against that expendable mass of people grouped together under the electorally insignificant rubric of majority.

Frankly, secularism, at least for politicians, is not a tenet of faith; it is a slogan. With an eye on the minority vote, secularism is revived at election time. And buried millions of fathoms deep soon after. The socio-economic status of the minorities would not be as appalling as it is if the secularists had practiced what they preached. The Congress has ruled the country for over four decades. The woeful state of the minorities is ample proof of its sham secularism. To be fair to the so-called communalists, they do not seek to hoodwink the minorities. Indeed, creating special categories of secular and communal politicians is a mug's game. As an artifice secularism serves no purpose, but nonetheless reveals the mindset of its users.

However, if Kumar is calling Modi names to endear himself to the minorities, or for severing ties with the BJP, he ought to be most welcome. The problem with the BJP is that in the face of persistent abuse that it is communal, it has developed an inferiority complex, forcing it to be on the defensive.

'Sarva dharma sambhava' is a superior tenet rooted in the Indian soil; secularism is a western concept misinterpreted by a whole generation of opportunistic politicians for electoral reasons. Meanwhile, if Kumar wants to opt out of NDA, he should be helped along. Maybe, the UPA can adopt him as its prime ministerial candidate, now that the heir apparent has proved to be a non-starter.
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PostSubject: Re: Secularism an excuse to deny Modi his due June 25, 2012 14:32 IST   Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:14 pm

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PostSubject: Why UK's move on Narendra Modi irking Congress?   Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:23 am

Why UK's move on Narendra Modi irking Congress?


The United Kingdom (UK) has decided to end its isolationist policy towards Gujarat's Chief Minister Narendra Modi and has asked its high commissioner in New Delhi to visit him. According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire said that the visit by the high commissioner would enable the UK authorities to discuss various issues of mutual interest and avenues to explore opportunities for closer ties. The step, in a nutshell, will improve the UK-India bilateral relations.


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It is a fair enough move by the UK government. But back home, suddenly there is an uproar over this development. Some sections of the media and the Congress started mocking Narendra Modi on this, saying the UK's decision was a sort of approval that Modi was looking for.

Rather, it's UK that needs 'approval' of Modi's Gujarat for economic development

Nothing can be more hilarious than this counter position. The problem with the Indian psyche when it comes to politics is that it only thinks everything politically. But politics of the 21st century is something more than everything political. If we continue to see Narendra Modi through the lenses of '2002 Riots' for the rest of our lives, then we will only see ourselves more dejected than not.

Diplomatic sources have clearly said that this decision was more encouraged by the economic reality than political 'idealism', for the UK, which has been badly hit by economic underperformance, looks to engage more with the economic hub called Gujarat. This actually has nothing to do with Narendra Modi as a person. His commitment to development has earned him the accolades.

West approves good work, we continue looking back

London's decision is not an exceptional move. In 2009, seventeen British firms had queued up for a bid to win infrastructure contracts worth upto $11bn from the Gujarat state government. During this year's Vibrant Gujarat Summit, a British MP had showered praise on the Gujarat CM and even termed him a lion. UK authorities also appreciated the performance of PPP models in the state following a two-year review. For the UK, Narendra Modi is an investor-friendly chief minister and that is the most important thing. Tomorrow, if we see the USA and other developed western countries following the UK's footsteps, it will not be any surprise.

Congress's envy has its reasons

The Congress is clearly disheartened by the fact that Narendra Modi has been given a welcome by a foreign country and that too, just ahead of the crucial assembly elections. This stresses two points.

First, the conclusion of the diplomatic isolation of Narendra Modi in a way gives a big blow to the opposition who just try to defeat him with the riot cards. For there is hardly any other issue which the Congress can expect to use against him. But the thing is that ten years is a long time in politics and while Modi successfully used up this period to emerge into a better ruler, the Congress just wasted its time and opportunities. It failed to corner Modi on the basis of communal cards even in the 2007 election and today, in 2012, the ghosts of the riots have fallen far behind.

Second, the UK's decision indirectly certifies Narendra Modi as a man who is fit to lead India in the contemporary international order. This comes following the spate of humiliation that the Congress Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, faced in the western media, which saw him as an 'underachiever' and a 'tragic figure'. This is a big blow for the Congress's hopes to lead the nation in the future for both its incumbent PM and the 'in-waiting' PM, Rahul Gandhi, failed to get a confidence vote of the west. Rahul Gandhi was termed a 'problem' in an Economist article in the recent past.

Congress a pathetic looser

The Congress leadership has mocked Narendra Modi, saying the latter was happy to get the UK's approval. To this, one may ask a counter question: Why didn't the Congress leaders get a stamp of approval from the west, despite being in power for the last eight years? Narendra Modi has also reached out to countries like China, Israel, Japan and in a way to Africa on matters of economic development and hence, the 'approval process' did not start with the UK. Modi and Singh have been in power for 11 and 8 years, respectively, but the two received different response.

Modi has worked hard to overcome all hurdles

I would also like to point out that Narendra Modi, irrespective of all criticism over issues like 'communal', 'authoritarian' and a prolonged ban to visit the western countries for some time now, went on with his task with great perseverance and ensured at last that he can not be ignored for he speaks in the most appropriate currency of today, i.e., development. Moreover, even if there are allegations, no court has convicted Narendra Modi for any communal crime.

The west, hit by severe economic hardship, can not just continue shunning Narendra Modi on the basis of 'ethics and morality'. Modern-day world does not go by that principle. Have the west given up their engagement with countries like China, Pakistan, Myanmar and many others in today's globalised world just because their human rights records were not the best in the world? No, then what's the issue with Narendra Modi? He is, afterall, a democratically-elected chief minister and a performing leader.

No shame in learning from Modi

There is no shame in learning from Narendra Modi, the Congress should understand. Today, a provincial leader has clearly outclassed national leadership and there is no point in trying to defame the former by recalling old issues. Some of the convicted leaders in the Gujarat riots have been sent to jail but have all those accused in the Punjab riots of 1984 been tried thoroughly?

Why media is worried with UK's move?

Some media reports have asked him to tender an apology for the 2002 riots. Why should the Gujarat CM indulge in such action? Has the Congress leadership ever apologised for its endless scams? Apology is not a popular term in the realm of power politics. Is the media, the self-proclaimed guardians of morality, a bit bothered about annoying its viewers if it supports Narendra Modi?

The Congress, which had ushered in the era of liberalisation in India, has failed to win hearts of the west and still accuse a man, who despite all his enemies, both outside and inside the party, has been doing his work for over a decade now.

The people of Gujarat and the all-important Gujarati Diaspora have ensured that their able leader is not pulled down by some short-sighted and spent-out force, for the latter has only junked the nation's credentials and is in danger of getting wiped off the scene in sometime.
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PostSubject: Re: Secularism an excuse to deny Modi his due June 25, 2012 14:32 IST   

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