Moving his way up from running a local canteen to running a state, an ‘enchanting state’- an idea that he would endorse any day of the week, one would think that Narendra Modi would know how to play his cards right. But the recent decadence in the state of affairs in Gujarat, and between him and Sonia Gandhi seems to speak otherwise.
The battle of words has turned into an ugly mudslinging blame game which everybody seems to be enjoying. If it was ‘Myan Musharraf’ that brought Modi to power in 2002, an innocent software engineer could well be his trump card this time.
In a startling revelation in Gujarat’s BJP campaigning, Modi played his cards all wrong. Apprehensive that his development plank was not fetching him good response during a rally in Mangrol, in a desperate attempt to garner their attention, he told them that Sohrabuddin got what he deserved and blatantly justified his murder. Sohrabbudin, a 27 year old engineer was shot dead in an encounter in November 2005. The encounter was later proved to be a fake one, planned by the officials in his government. The grounds for his murder, possession of illegal arms and ammunition, charges that are yet to be proved.
Election watchers claim this to be “typically Modi” to bring about a communal angle to his propaganda which even involved defacing Congress and inevitably Sonia Gandhi. The war of words had begun and Sonia Gandhi didn’t seem to be taking things lying down. ”A government of swindlers” is apparently what sparked this verbal battle when Madam Gandhi claimed that Gujarat was being run by a ‘baimaan’ minister.
His indecent retaliations and his justification of Surhabbudin’s murder, fetched Modi a notice from the Election Commission stating that he was engineering communal disharmony and was responsible for misleading the people of Gujarat. Modi apparently had more controversies to fill his plate. In a film released by Modi’s campaigning party ‘Amrut Manthan’ the election commission censored material from the film related to terrorism. Portions in which Modi has openly lambasted the UPA government were deleted. He talks about how the UPA was incapable in handling the issue of terrorism and that the culprits for the December Parliament blasts were roaming the streets Scot free.
All this and the fact that the EC has asked Modi to apologize for his communist speech in Gujarat, has given the entire election campaign very ugly and undesirable representation. “Hang me if I’m wrong” is what Modi claims could be done if his justification of Sohrabbudin murder is incorrect.
With his approach to governing his people bearing striking similarity to Musharaff’s in Pakistan, only time will tell if Gujarat is headed for a state of ‘emergency’. Considering that the Gujarat elections are just around the corner, Modi will somehow have to deliver his winning stroke to win these elections. But Modi’s contemporaries and adversaries all unanimously claim that he obviously has an undeniable aura about himself. He exudes confidence and sometimes to much of it. Will his ego, arrogance and indisputable style of delivering to his people favour him during this election, or can we expect more of Modi’s audacious disposition to take the election campaigns for yet another ride .Time will tell.
Amanjit Singh Khanna