The politics of hate in India–An extension of vote bank politics?
The pro-development politics of Modi is a new development and should not be dismissed off hand. If it could break the trend of the strong vote bank politics, it will be a great contribution to Indian democracy, no matter whether he wins or loses.
By Gautam Sen (28 June 2013)
It really is not credible that Narendra Modi exulted at the blood being spilt or that he joined political life with a diabolical impulse to preside over a tragedy such as the Gujarat riots. He had only been in power for a short time and any politician with the remotest concern for political survival would not wish to be associated with such horrendous events. They are extremely politically inconvenient, at the very least. And the unending persecution of Narendra Modi should convince his opponents that he would have been a complete fool to somehow contrive sponsoring the riots. He may or may not be many things, but he has surely demonstrated that he is no political novice and his instinct for political survival is clearly acute.
The charge against Narendra Modi has transmuted, after the instant demand for his head, in the immediate aftermath of the killings, to an accusation of direct complicity or incompetence. On the latter issue, the accusation is without foundation because he inherited a police force that clearly proved inadequate, although the scale of the riots would have proved forbidding for all but the most effectual. However, Narendra Modi could not have reformed the police in the very short period he had been chief minister before the riots. The charge of complicity is much more serious and requires reliable evidence, not the ranting of Teesta Setalvad and her schooled witnesses. In any case, she is indubitably a weapon of choice in the hands of a cynical Congress party rather than a purely self-motivated human rights activist. The hand-picked Supreme Court SIT concluded there was nothing to justify the accusation against Narendra Modi and there the matter ought to have been laid to rest. There is no higher body in India that can adjudge the issue unless one wishes it to be decided by the United States, as some Indians have apparently sought.
This brings back the question why Narendra Modi is being pursued without respite and with resort to gross villainy. This is entirely to do with votebank politics and, specifically, the interests of the Congress party and the totally opportunistic and amoral organization it has become under the current leadership. The leadership lacks the instinctive feel for the welfare of the country. Sonia Gandhi herself is preoccupied with the future of her dynasty. This state of affairs must be brought to an end, but that is another matter, to be decided in 2014. The Congress political calculation is transparent and utterly indifferent to collateral cost. The competition for the minority votebank, against all-comers, especially in the Hindi heartland, requires the mobilization of a fearful and polarized minority community.
This dreadful goal is being pursued by demonizing Narendra Modi and indeed the people of Gujarat itself, despite the danger it may eventually pose to the integrity of the Indian Union. In callous disregard of the security of India and its people, the post-Godhra riots have been allowed to encourage terrorism by the systematic portrayal of them as a crime without historic parallel. The misuse of terms like genocide merely underlines the gravity of the endangerment that has been brought about, with every terrorist citing Godhra as their rationale for murder. Indeed there is a strong suspicion that some Hindus alleged to have committed terrorist acts are being set up to complete the picture of a terror constituency within the heart of the majority community. Indeed, insiders are dumbfounded at the grievous misuse of the Ishrat Jahan case for the narrowest of partisan ends. The deluded heir apparent also affronted the majority community, usually the victims, by identifying them to the US ambassador as posing the real threat of terrorism.
Equally dismaying is the eagerness of some reputedly decent and nationalist politicians to take advantage of the situation by jumping on the bandwagon to harass Narendra Modi. Their motivation seems to be no different from the Congress party’s to protect its own patch and advance sordid political careers. The Indian voter needs to take a deep breath and recall the countless worse communal riots that occurred before the advent of Narendra Modi as chief minister of Gujarat. Many, many lives have been lost, with the police often mute spectators or colluding and politicians callously indifferent. The Indian voter should ask who was held responsible for them and suitably punished. The worst of these was the mass killings of Sikhs in Delhi in 1984. The evidence of official complicity in this instance is the most pronounced of any example since Indian independence, but its protagonists have remained unpunished.