Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why should Modi apologise?

Modi recently said in an interview, in his typical third person style, that, “I am convinced that if there is even a grain of truth in the allegations, I feel for India’s bright future and traditions, Modi should be hanged in the street square."

Of course he should be hanged if he has committed the crime. But he must apologise even if he hasn't, because its the failure of his state machinery that allowed criminals like Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi to distribute swords,guns, bombs etc, go on a rampage and kill innocent people. He must apologise for his utter failure as a chief minister and home minister to not be aware of the background of his cabinet and make kodnani a women welfare and child development minister of Gujarat in 2007. Gujaratis died while Gujarat police looked away and the system stayed put.

For all the bruhaha about the great administrator modi claims to be, if he claims to not have abetted them, then he must at least apologise for his abject failure to manage the riots. Further, he must apologise for the roadblocks faced by courts and the activists in trying and convicting the perpetrators. To the extent that SC had to move many cases out of Gujarat to ensure free and fair trial. As per CAG, Gujarat govt granted INR 629 crores for special courts, but only 252 crores of it has been utilised. Read the challenges, with documentary evidence, faced by Teesta (Secretary - Citizens for Justice and Peace) here. The point is, if Gujarat Govt wants the pepetrators to be punished, and so do the social activists, then why so many hurdles and cross accusations?

When it comes to 2002 carnage, Modi always speaks like a guilty man. If he had truly tried to stop the riots, he would be ridden with remorse for the women who were killed by shoving swords through them and ripped open wombs, and infants who were burnt alive, as much as for the innocents who were burnt alive in the train. He wouldn't take out a Gaurav yatra and go around spreading rumors that while a gruesome train incident did happen, but no one retaliated, no one was burnt or raped in Gujarat, and everything was fine in the state. He wouldn't shout out from loudspeakers during his so called gaurav yatra, apparently addressing a non-existent Parvez Musharraf, saying "kaan khol kar sun lo miyan musharraf, jab hindu aatankvaad aaega naa, tab duniya ke nakshe par pakistan ka naam-o-nishaan mit jaaega" (listen in at 1.13.15) Is this the foreign policy of our potential PM candidate?
Anyone who reads/sees the witness accounts of the atrocities in gujarat, and takes it with 10 pinches of salt, would still shudder with horror. I heard one witness account which was worse than what was done to Nirbhaya!

In fact, Modi would have done a great service to himself and his supporters by rendering an unqualified apology for being a helpless witness to a gruesome riot, and closing the chapter once and for all. By getting defensive and providing convoluted responses, he only ends up betraying a sense of guilt.

His lack of apology and the blind faith of some of my Indian friends in him, is only a reflection of 2 things - Hard cold brutal souls, and ignorant give-a-damn minds.

Why is all this relevant today? Because many Indians seem to want to vote for BJP on the name of Modi. How does he as in individual score, should therefore be scrutinised very deeply. Here are the alarm bells -

1. Modi seems to lack personal integrity - Across rallies he has been claiming to be the right candidate for fighting corruption saying "mere aage peeche koi nahin hai", while he was actually concealing truth under oath all this while. He says he does not want to wear a skull cap because it may amount to appeasement, while he goes around wearing the cap and headgear of every other community. He constantly uses misinformation and incorrect data to gain momentary impact on audience. Seems like he is trying to con people into painting a picture of himself which is different from the truth.

2. Modi's development model, even if assumed to be fair, scores extremely low on human development indices, especially education. For the economic aspects of the development model, Modi govt has been severely criticized by CAG.
Please note that its the same CAG whose recommendations and reports have been quoted time and again by Modi and BJP to showcase the corruption of UPA (while actual conviction and sentencing has happened only for 2 MP's in India, neither of them part of the alleged high profile UPA scams of last 10 years, like spectrum, Coal etc)

3. Modi is soft on corruption: Corrupt leaders in his cabinet, corrupt leaders in BJP supported by him, his silence on political funding coming under RTI, his silence on Gas pricing, his govt's track record of doling out tax payers money to corporates at low returns and interest, CAG's claim of financial irregularities under Gujarat govt to the tune of 16000 crore, Modi's battle against the SC to first postpone appointment of the Lokayukta and then passing a legislation that effectively makes the Lokayukta a person of his choice, the list is endless. Can you share one incident which shows his clear intent to fight corruption? Except for the anti corruption hotline which seems to be effective in Gujarat, you draw a blank. Also, help line combats retail corruption, and can never help collusion based high end corruption.

4. Modi seems to believe in the old system of politics: What is this old system? Win polls by hook or crook - opportunistic alliances, booth capturing, bogus voting; Keep the police machinery under you and use it as per convenience for political gains (right from fake encounters to election rigging, no police reforms done in Gujarat like many other states), Keep source of funding hidden, and work for industrial lobbies, and so on and so forth. Any indication that BJP / Modi want to fight these malpractices? I haven't seen any.

Inspite of all this if you believe that you don't want a fresh approach to politics, and that Modi will actually give a stable govt which will develop the country, then best of luck to you.

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