On Tuesday I wrote the following about Narendra Modi after he walked off a talk show when quizzed about the Gujarat riots of 2002: I don’t know whether I should be alarmed that a Chief Minister with national ambitions is so utterly wrapped in cotton wool that he sincerely believes only a couple of people think he has blood on his hands or whether I should read something more sinister into what went down.
Well, it’s Friday now and everything’s come out in the wash. Tehelka, the investigative magazine set up by journalist Tarun Tejpal, has come out with a report that squarely indicts Mr. Modi and his fellow partyworkers of orchestrating a sectarian massacre. It includes secret recordings of several BJP and sister organization VHP activists discussing the events of 2002 and the role they and the chief minister, Narendra Modi, played during those three nightmare days. I’d like to caution readers that clicking on the above link is not for the faint hearted. I’m not being glib here, ladies and gents.Many Indians have long held Mr. Modi responsible for the riots. But his supporters have always chosen to shift the blame elsewhere. At various times they have said:
- There is no direct evidence to link Mr. Modi to the riots
- That the riots were an outpouring of public sentiment after a train bogey carrying Hindu pilgrims was set on fire near the communally sensitive town of Godhra.
- Mr. Modi is an excellent economic administrator
- The BJP, under his leadership, has won other elections in the state since the riots, thus proving that the people of Gujarat were behind him
- Mr. Modi’s detractors are stooges of the Congress Party, commies, lefties and other “Macaulay’s children” not worthy of attention out to defame a hardworking official because he is a proud Hindu
And now that Tehelka has come out with these tapes, the BJP points out that this reveal comes just weeks before a crucial election and further alleges that Tehelka, if not directly in the pay of the Congress, is at least sympathetic to the Congress cause.I’d like to say a few words here – although, if you’re of the rightist, particularly Sangh Parivar, persuasion, you might want to save yourself an ulcer or popped vein or two and skip it because you’re not going to hear anything you like. To start in reverse order:
Tehelka is in the pay of the Congress: Leaving aside the much discussed vendetta carried out by the Vajpayee administration against both Tehelka and its comrade in arms, Outlook, during the Vajpayee administration – a charge by the way that (if memory serves me correctly) the editor, Vinod Mehta, leveled to the face of at least one BJP leader in the Barkha Dutt hosted We the People without being met with any denial whatsoever – let’s say that Tehelka and Tarun Tejpal are Congress toadies as alleged by the BJP.
Are the BJP and VHP “activists” interviewed on camera also Congress toadies? Did they somehow switch parties and neglect to inform anyone? Did Sonia Gandhi or her minions courier a truckload of cash to not one, not two but a whole bunch of BJP and VHP members so they’d admit to murder, rape and loot on camera? So that’s where all the Bofors money is going. No wonder the NDA sat on that investigation while it was in office. Ghoom phir ke isi politician ki economy mein aani hai.
Really, there must be some sort of hidden treasure in Gujarat if the Congress is that desperate to win.
You’re not with us ergo you’re with the Congress: Grow up. I was going to make this huge speech about how there are more things on heaven and earth and blah blah blah – but why bother when it all boils down to this: Grow. Up.
I don’t know if they actually believe this “logic” or whether this is the catchiest thing they could come up with for the TV cameras but either way it’s absurd. There are those of us out there in the wilderness that don’t believe in a single thing that the Congress or the Left believes in, that are very happy and proud of their nationality, culture and religion – and feel absolutely no desire whatsoever in campaigning for a Hindu rashtra, feel belligerent about events that went down 800 years ago or want to shoot the next Muslim we meet.
I know the leaders of the Sangh Parivar think highly of Indira Gandhi’s leadership qualities, but take it from me: nobody bought it 30 years ago when she tried to tell us she was India and we’re not about to buy that you’re India either and that voting against you makes us anti-national. Mrs. Gandhi is what is commonly called a cautionary tale, people. She fucking lost her marbles and got booted out of office for it. Ask Atal Behari Vajpayee about it: I’m sure he remembers a few things from that time.
Modi wins elections: I have an option here. I could remind you of some other people who’ve won elections after doing despicable things or I could remind you that a large part of Gujarat, a large Muslim part of Gujarat, has been effectively disenfranchised since the riots. And this is a state of matters that goes on with the complicity of all parties in the state, including the Congress. Hmmm, options, options.
Modi can do business: Yes he can. And your point is? Have we begun to shine so brightly as a nation that economic success will now absolve a person of all crimes? Let’s get rid of laws that target white collar crime then. Better still, let Salman Khan walk free. After all, not only is he doing some great PR work for India by acting in Bollywood blockbusters that screen around the world but his movies rake in some major cash, supporting the Lord only knows how many film technician families in Mumbai.
In any case, Mr. Modi comes with a handicap in the business arena: he can gladhand whoever comes to India or to his state but the diplomatic snub he received from the United States should tell you something: he’s going to find it terribly hard to wheel and deal without the wheel-and-deal-ee being accused of hobnobbing with shady characters.
There’s also the little information that came out recently that proved Gujarat Shining wasn’t immune to the deadly farmer suicide epidemic that’s been sweeping India for some years now. According to official figures released under the Right to Information Act, at least 489 farmers have killed themselves since 2003. Disparity in economic growth really is a national phenomenon.
No direct evidence & public sentiment: Watch the video. Oh wait, that’s right – you can’t coz the Modi administration has blocked all news channels that are broadcasting news of the sting. That’s exactly what a person with nothing to hide would do – if their name was Indira Gandhi. How did that turn out for her again?
Lucky you, chances are, if you can read this blog then you can see the sting played out over the internet.
Finally, can we please put an end to this “party with a difference” tag that everybody’s been kicking around for so long re: the BJP? By now it should be fairly obvious that this is basically the Congress with a Hindutva slant and no Nehru Gandhi clan to give it weightage at the center.
Here was an excellent chance for the BJP to be truly different – take responsibility, apologize, build fences. Instead, it trots out excuses that the Congress first brought into play in 1984. In fact, it’s interesting to read of the Congress reaction. It shows just how similar they are.