BJP leaders including spokesman Ravishankar Prasad and Former Union minister and BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Arun Shourie today indicated that Narendra Modi could be next in line to be the party’s prime ministerial candidate after L K Advani. Narendra Modi is clearly the star campaigner for BJP in the Lokshabha 2009 election and its most visible leader. To a question as to whether the Gujarat chief minister was the most popular leader after him, BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate L.K. Advani in a recent interview had replied, “why after me? He may be the most popular leader right now”. I had recently written an article on the subject that I am reproducing here.I hope I am not the only Indian who would like to see our country prosper as Gujarat has done in the last few years.
Narendra Modi as Prime Minister? Why Not?
The recent drama that evolved when Anil Ambani, Sunil Mittal, Ratan Tata and other industrialists lauded Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi at the investors’ summit in Gujarat, claiming his leadership as ‘national level material’ and wishing that ‘person like him should be the next leader of the country’, was quite interesting and deserves an honest appraisal.
The unsuspecting media was totally unprepared for such accolades from the stalwarts of India Incorporate for the alleged ‘merchant of death’. The next few days saw numerous news and articles popping up as to why Modi cannot be the Prime Minister of this country. Congress spokesperson called him a fascist and compared with Hitler. There were attempts to develop a rift between Modi and the BJP’s Prime Minister Candidate, Mr. L. K. Advani that lasted till Modi himself declared, much to the disappointment of the media, that he is not in the race for PM. An editorial in Times of India went to the extent of disqualifying him on the ridiculous ground that he was denied visa to the USA and thought that to be considered for the Indian PM post, Modi has to be acceptable to foreign countries. Coming from an editor of a national newspaper, it is intriguing how far one can lower one’s self and national esteem.
Narendra Modi and Gujrat Riot 2002
No discussion can happen on Mr. Narendra Modi, without talking about the Gujarat riot of 2002. Communal riots are not new in India or for that matter, in the state of Gujarat itself – it has happened since medieval times. Neither was the Gujarat riot of 2002 the largest in the history of the state – more extensive and more prolonged violence with much higher death tolls had happened in 1969 and 1985, under the rule of Congress governments.
Those who vilify Modi as a representative of Hindutva politicis of the BJP or RSS kind, fail to remember that Hindu – Muslim riots happened even before the RSS was founded in 1925 or the BJP in 1980. Hindus, known for their tolerance and faith in religious pluralism, are never known to be in conflict anywhere else in the world, but the same cannot be said of the followers of the Muslim religion, involved in religious (against Hindus, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, etc) and sectarian (Shia, Sunnis, Ahmedhias, Kurds, Baloch etc) violence, not only in the subcontinent of India, Pakistan or Bangladesh, but also in Afghanistan, Middle east, Russia, China, Indonesia, Bosnia, Nigeria and other places.
They also conveniently downplay or misrepresent the cause of the 2002 riot, not a few stones thrown on a procession or a petty quarrel or a temple bell interrupting the tranquility of the namaj, but the systematically carried out Godhra Carnage where three bogies of the Ahmedabad bound Sabarmati Express were set on fire by a Muslim mob, on 27th February, 2002, killing over 50 people, mostly women and children, mostly karsevaks, returning from Ayodhya.
Modi has been accused of permitting, if not directly and deliberately commandeering the portrayed selective massacre and genocide of Muslims, ordering his police force to turn a blind eye, delaying Army help and in the process causing the death of anywhere between 1000 to 5000 Muslims.
It is hard to get true accounts of events that erupted on 28th Feb 2002 and beyond, from reported news and stories, almost all of them tainted with a bias against the Hindus and the Gujarat Chief Minister. However certain facts do stand out, even from accounts in the English media, not particularly known to be generous to Narendra Modi.
- The Congress Union Minister of State for Home, Shriprakash Jaiswal, in Parliament on 11 May 2005, said 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed in the riots. This is hardly consistent with a Muslim genocide.
- The entire police force of 70,000 was deployed in Gujarat on 27 February itself in apprehension of riots. (The Hindustan Times Feb 28, 2002). Gujarat police fired more than 4,000 rounds in the first three days alone. Altogether the police arrested more than 27,000 people. National Minorities Commission Chairman John Joseph noted, ‘As on April 6, 126 persons were killed in police firing, of which 77 were Hindus.‘ (The Telegraph, April 21, 2002.). This does not tally with the accusation of a deliberately inactive police force.
- “Shoot-at-sight” orders had been given in Godhra on February 27 itself. (Times Of India, Feb 27, 2002). 827 preventive arrests were made on the evening of February 27 itself, on Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s order. The State Government deployed the Rapid Action Force in Ahmedabad and other sensitive areas and the Centre sent in CRPF personnel, on February 27 itself even before a single riot had taken place. (The Indian Express, Feb 28, 2002)
- Narendra Modi, frantically called the Army units to Ahmedabad on February 28th (The Hindu, March 1, 2002). Army units started arriving in Ahmedabad on the night of February 28th. On 1st and 2nd March 2002, riots took place even in places where the Indian Army was present, i.e. Ahmedabad and Vadodara, and close to 100 people each were killed, despite the presence of the Indian Army.
- Only 2 deaths were reported on 3rd March in the entire state, and the main violence ended on 3rd March 2002. After 3rd March 2002, riots took place almost entirely in those places where the Army was posted. Subsequently there were 157 riots and all of them were started by Muslim groups (India Today, June 24, 2002).
- As early as 5 March 2002, out of the 98 relief / refugee camps set up in the state, 85 were for the Muslims and 13 were for the Hindus. As on 17 March 2002, as per The Times of India, 10,000 Hindus were rendered homeless in Ahmedabad alone. As on 25 April 2002, out of the 1 lakh 40 thousand refugees, some 1 lakh were Muslims and 40 thousand were Hindus. Again this is not consistent with the unilateral Muslim sufferings that have been portrayed.
- India Today weekly in its issue dated 20 May 2002 clearly admits that, far from being anti-Muslim, the Gujarat police did not act speedily against Muslim fanatics and rioters, for fear of being called anti-Muslim by the biased and partisan media.
As for the issue of deployment of army, this is what India Today reported on its 18 March 2002 issue. (http://www.indiatoday.com/itoday/20020318/cover.shtml)
FEB 27, 2002
8.03 AM: Incident at Godhra claims lives of 57 kar sevaks.
8.30 AM: Modi is informed of the carnage.
4.30 PM: Modi gives shoot-at-sight orders to the police.
10.30 PM: CM orders curfew in sensitive places and pre-emptive arrests.
FEB 28, 2002
8.00 AM: Special control room set up in CM’s house.
12.00 PM: Modi informally contacts Centre for calling in army.
4.00 PM: Modi requests army deployment following consultations with Advani.
7.00 PM: The Gujarat Government’s formal request for army deployment is received in Delhi.
11.30 PM: Airlifting of troops begins
MARCH 1, 2002
2.30 AM: A brigade reaches Ahmedabad.
9.00 AM: Discussions between representatives of the army and the state take place, followed by troop flag march in Ahmedabad.”
Thus, contrary to the accusation of the “fiddling Nero”, Mr. Modi did act timely, spontaneously and with due importance to the seriousness of the matter. The National Human Rights Commission and the Minorities Commission ‘accepted the Gujarat government’s contention that it did foresee trouble and took precautionary steps to check it, but was caught by surprise and overwhelmed by the mob fury erupting on February 28.’ (http://in.rediff.com/news/2004/jun/22arvind.htm)
That the retaliation of the Godhra train carnage was overwhelming for the available resources at his disposal was obvious, but to blame the Chief Minister or his administration for that would be as unjustified as to blame the Prime Minister, Mr. Manmohan Singh, for the recent obvious sloppiness and intelligence failure that one saw during the recent Mumbai terrorist attack of Nov 2008. Yet that has been and is still being done in such vigor that even most Hindus feel that it is the truth and are probably shameful about Mr. Narendra Modi.
Contrast this with the largest riot that happened in recent times, the anti Sikh riot in Delhi in 1984, in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination. In that incidence, officially 3,000 Sikhs were killed and may be 10,000 in actual number. Not a single Congressman was killed, not even one person was killed in police firing, and not even a single government relief camp was organized for the Sikhs in 1984. The joint report on the riots, by the People’s Union of Civil Liberties and the People’s Union of Democratic Rights, mentioned the names of 16 important Congressmen and 13 police officers among those accused by survivors and witnesses. (http://in.rediff.com/news/2004/jun/22arvind.htm)
The Army was deployed but was not allowed to act without permission of senior police officers and hence was ineffective. And this was the justification of the then Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, “Some riots took place in the country following the murder of Indiraji ….. it seemed that India had been shaken. But, when a mighty tree falls, it is only natural that the earth around it does shake a little.”
So, can one accuse that there was deliberate failure of administration in the anti-Sikh riots? Can one be justified to call it a Congress-sponsored genocide and pogrom? Did anybody dare to challenge or disqualify Mr. Rajiv Gandhi as the Prime Minister then?
Narendra Modi – the person
Mr. Modi has been described as a phenomenon of a kind India has not seen for a long time. (http://www.dailypioneer.com/131795/Good-governance-impresses-all.html). Born on 17 September 1950 to a middle class OBC family in northern Gujarat, he has a Masters graduate degree in Political Science from Gujarat University. Having an RSS background, he was a student leader of Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad and played a prominent role in the anticorruption movement in 1974 in Gujarat. He later joined the BJP in 1987 and became a National secretary of the party in 1995. Later in 2001, he became the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
The biggest challenge which Narendra Modi had to face when he took over as the chief minister was the reconstruction of the earthquake affected areas. Bhuj was a city of rubble. People were living in temporary shelters without basic infrastructure. Earthquake recovery became his first priority. His dynamic vision and quick decisions have put Gujarat Reconstruction Program as one of the best reconstruction programs on the global map and set a benchmark for reconstruction and disaster recovery, not only in India, but also in the entire Asia, for which he achieved global recognition. (http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=129358)
He is perceived as an honest, capable man who has taken Gujarat to greater heights of prosperity, since then. He was reelected for the third time in 2007 after a hard fought battle of ballots, in which he single handedly fought not only the Congress lead opposition but also the biased and prejudiced media and his own disgruntled party members.
With a reputation revolving around his incorruptible image and ascetic style of living, he is a workaholic, with a no-nonsense attitude who is unafraid to call a spade a spade. A person who cares less for political correctness and social connections, he is a patriotic karmayogi, whose vision is to make Gujarat at par with developed nations. A proud nationalist, on being asked whether it hurt him that he couldn’t get a US visa, he responded, “I take this as an opportunity. I want my India to be so strong and prosperous that Americans will queue up to come to India. A day will come when Americans will yearn to come to Gujarat.” (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Raise_Nano_like_Yashodas_Krishna_Narendra_Modi/articleshow/3582270.cms)
It is this passion that makes Modi different – a passion for developing Gujarat, a passion to uplift the living standards of its people, a passion to place his Bharatmata back to her days of glory again. And this he tries to do with action and not false promises or gimmicks.
After the Gujarat riot, he has been the target of pathological hatred of the leftist, pseudo-secular, sociopolitical crowd and specially the English media and has been ornamented with numerous chosen abuses like a mass murderer, a dictator, a fascist, a Hitler, an ugly Indian, a maut ka saudagar, but all that has increased his resolve and his determination that he took back to his voters, who returned him stronger and triumphant with their love and respect.
He remained untouched by all the filth and unfazed by all the accusation and lies thrown at him. “Do you think the Centre would have left me like this if they had any proof against me? I have a government that is unfavourable at the Centre and their quietness says it all“, He once shot back to an interviewer. (http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?id=14833987)
“We have a vibrant media, an active judiciary and global human rights groups working in the country. If there was even the slightest evidence that I had committed a crime, I would have been hanged long since”, he said to another. (http://www.indianexpress.com/story_print.php?storyid=378083)
The Gujarati people have probably found in him what they like to see in any Indian politician – leadership, transparency, accountability, incorruptibility. He is unshakable in his commitments, to the extent of being arrogant, yet humble and down to earth. “I didn’t become CM on 07-10-2001. I have always been CM, I am CM today and shall be CM forever. For me CM means not Chief Minister but Common Man.” Many can say but not many can act that way.
There are not many leaders in our country that spends his New Years Day with BSF forces at the border and feels and acts for the simple rights of the soldiers to have access to basic amenities like drinking water, electricity and telecommunications services to talk to their families. (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-3923085,prtpage-1.cms)
It is been hitherto a rare combination in the current Indian sociopolitical scene where one denounce a crime but not the powerful criminal, condemns a terror act but delays punishment of the terrorist, criticizes corruption but fails to indict the corrupt, where a politician is selected because of his popularity, even if it is for a wrong cause or because of his families and contacts and where a significant percentage of politician have pending cases against them on charges as varied as briberies, extortions, rapes and even murders.
No doubt he is endorsed by his party senior, Mr. Advani, “I can think of no other example in Indian politics of a leader who, after being subjected to a malicious and prolonged campaign of vilification, has been able to impress even his critics with his determination, single-minded focus, integrity and a wide array of achievements in a relatively short time” (http://www.expressindia.com/news/fullstory.php?newsid=65801)
Narendra Modi and divisive politics
In a country plagued by religion, caste and creed based politics, which dates back from the British era and which is faithfully nurtured by most political parties, Modi stands apart. “I’m a living example of casteless politics. I am an OBC and I come from a most backward caste…… The fact that I have no caste base helps me because no one says I take decisions based on caste.“
In a country where most politicians gladly put on the mask of secularism and practice minority appeasement for vote bank politics, Modi stays indifferent, letting his performance, rather than token gimmicks and unsubstantiated claims, speak for itself. “I’m sending every child to school, I’m providing healthcare to every citizen, I’m giving everyone a share of the fruits of development. The Sachar Committee report, you’ll be surprised to learn, says that Muslims in Gujarat are better educated than Hindus. I always address my people as my five-and-a-half crore Gujarati brothers-the entire population of the state.”
In a country with 80% Hindu majority, where asserting one’s identity as a Hindu is deemed ‘unsophisticated’ and claiming one’s right as a Hindu is equated with ‘communalism’, Modi infuses a fresh and notable exception. The lies and accusations hurled by the so called perverted, secular elite, to the so called poster – boy of Hindutva has actually helped Hindus, not only in Gujarat but all over India and even the Indian Diaspora abroad, to identify him as an icon, a role model, unwavering to his faith and commitments. For a large part of the Hindu community, he had instilled a sense of pride in a Hindu identity, sadly missing even in post Independent India, because of pseudo secular politics of religious divide and minority appeasement.
Modi himself claims that he does not believe in communal politics and abhors majority-minority politics. His vision of a model governance is one that is ‘inclusive’ wherein the last person in the chain should derive benefits from it. “I work for five and half crore Gujaratis. I work for their welfare. The talks of majority-minority, has destroyed the country. I strongly oppose minoritysm“. (http://news.webindia123.com/news/ar_showdetails.asp?id=710130776&cat=&n_date=20071013)
Asked once by the Sachar Committee about what steps his government has taken for Muslims, Modi bluntly replied, “I have done nothing….. I have done nothing for the Hindus too….. Through river linking, we brought the Narmada River to the Sabarmati. Now am I going to find out which community is drinking how much of this water? That is divisive politics.” (http://indiatoday.digitaltoday.in/index.php?issueid=54&id=6025&option=com_content&task=view§ionid=30)
Gujarat’s 45 lakh Muslims form just over 9 per cent of the state’s population, according to the 2001 Census. The literacy rate is 73 per cent, higher than the national average of 65 per cent for all citizens. On most other counts, including sex ratio and work participation, they fare better than the national average for all religions. “If pockets are empty, there will be violence. If people are jobless, there will be violence. Now that everyone is getting jobs, why should there be riots,” asked Ali Asghar Attarwala, an architect in Jamnagar town.
“Many Muslims are realizing that the only truth is development,” said Hatim Modi, a Muslim who works as a defense contractor. “We have been used by others. We won’t ever forget the riots – but the reality is about development.” (http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print.aspx?Id=4dcc88ac-65da-458c-8b86-6f6eca764877GujaratVotes_Special)
“Yes, there were communal problems in 2002, but in last five years, there is not a single such incident, our community leaders have now become BJP leaders here…. We have reasons to support BJP and Modi,” said A T Attarwala, industrialist and a resident of Sikka, which is a port town, with about 70 per cent Muslim and whose all 19 municipality seats are held by the BJP with 14 of them being Muslim members. “For 40 years we were voting for Congress but no development in our town. They have cheated us .It’s not necessary that Muslims are anti-BJP. We look forward to development which is here all over now in the last five years. We are happy with this government,” said Mahmood Musa Sumbhadiya, Chairman, Sikka Municipality. (http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20070034393&ch=11/30/2007%208:27:00%20AM)
Just a few days back on Republic day, a large number of Muslims, holding the national tricolour, greeted the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the densely populated Polan Bazaar in Godhra town, an area that was affected in the 2002 riots, attesting once again that the Muslim community has also started to see through the design of fake promises of vote bank politics and are embracing the benefits of Gujarat model of development as well as its architect. (http://www.rediff.com/news/2009/jan/27muslims-in-godhra-celebrate-rday-with-modi.htm)
It is poetic justice that the recently concluded fourth Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit 2009 drew a huge participation from Islamic countries, as well as those which are predominantly Muslim, including Representative of Arab League, Brunei, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Maldives, and Indonesia, much to the ire of some Indian Muslim organizations. (http://twocircles.net/2009jan24/muslim_envoys_criticized_participating_vibrant_gujarat.html)
The other area where this minority politics are active is in terrorism which is the recent menace that is tearing the country apart. The chain of serial bomb blasts in various cities and finally the numbing experience of the Mumbai massacre, have left the nation speechless. Many feel that our nation’s response has been utterly disappointing. Many would agree with Modi that terrorism is a war on the country, that there should be zero tolerance to terrorism. India needs to respond adequately to terrorism by modernization of its security forces and with appropriate laws. Modi believes, “Only fools can send messages to terrorists. One should take action against them. They should be paid back in the same coin” Acknowledging modern terrorism as a high tech phenomenon, he had asked, “How we are going to fight ‘high tech’ terrorism of 21st century with the help of laws passed in 19th century” Modi’s view that “Terrorism is worse than a war. A terrorist has no rules. A terrorist decides when, how, where and whom to kill. India has lost more people in terror attacks than in its wars” (http://www.telegraphindia.com/1060719/asp/nation/story_6496620.asp) recently found support from a Supreme Court Judge who said, ‘Those who violate the rights of society and have no respect for human rights are not humans but animals. And people fighting for terrorists are actually supporting ‘animal rights…..It is important to have special laws to deal with terrorists and we need to give enough time to our investigators and prosecutors to prepare the case with strong evidence’. (http://www.newkerala.com/topstory-fullnews-82383.html)
In this context, one can recall how efficiently the Gujarat police handed the recent Ahmedabad blasts and solved it within three weeks. Not only that, Modi immediately conceived a Gujarat Forensic Science University (FSU) that is projected to start functioning from 1st of January, 2010 with a Rs. 38 crore budget in Gandhinagar.
Clearly signs of a person who believes in action rather than pondering with sweet talk.
Narendra Modi and prosperity of Gujrat
Gujarat has always been prosperous compared to the rest of the country thanks to the enterprising traditions of its residents for centuries. Over the last few years, Gujarat has made excellent progress on all fronts and had received various awards. Be it infrastructure building or water distribution, economic freedom or environmental protection, e-Governance or energy conservation, health accessibility or heritage protection and sanitation or software development, the state has made amazing progress in a short time. The agencies conferring these awards include International bodies like the United Nations (Sasakawa Award for outstanding reconstruction work in disaster risk reduction), World Bank (Green Awards for excellence in environment consciousness during post earthquake rehabilitation), UNESCO (Asia Pacific Heritage Award for reconstruction of a Gurudwara damaged during the earthquake) and various Ministries / agencies of Government of India like Ministry of power, Ministry of non-conventional energy services and institutions like India Tech Excellence Foundation (2005, for the most progressive and dynamic state in power sector reforms) and Computer Society of India (and Nihilant Technology Citizen Facilitation Award for the Best e-Governed State).
Gujarat ranks number one in The Economic Freedom Index as per the research conducted by none other than The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.
Gujarat has only 5% of India’s population and 6% of its geographical area, but its contribution to India in terms of ‘Value of Output’ is 16.10%; in terms of exports it is 16% and in terms of stock market capitalization it is 30%.
Gujarat is one of the most industrialized states of India. Gujarat has a 16.2% share in India’s industrial production whereas the percentage of man-days lost in Gujarat due to labor strife is just 0.52% – the lowest in the country.
Gujarat surpassed the target of 10.2% set by the Planning commission for the 10th five-year plan compared to the average of 8.2% for the entire country, achieving a growth rate of 15% in the first year itself.
Gujarat accounts for 54% of India’s onshore crude oil production; 50% of India’s natural gas production; 46% of India’s installed refining capacity and 60% of India’s total crude oil import facility. Modi’s vision for a need of an institution for energy research and studies lead to the birth of GERMI – Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute.
Gujarat today has one of the best infrastructures in the country comprising of 11 airports, 1 international airport, an extensive rail network and a robust road network of over 74,000 km. A total of 17,763 out of the 18,028 villages (98.53%) of Gujarat are connected with pucca roads (concrete roads), the best in the country.
Gujarat coastline of over 1600 km, the longest in the country, is dotted with 41 ports, which handle over 25% of India’s total cargo.
Not only limited to industry development and productivity, Modi’s Gujarat is able to boast of meeting the basic requirements of its population in terms of education and health accessibility, clean drinking water and electricity. On the education front there have been 11 new universities, 400 new colleges, 1.25 lakh new teachers, 38,000 new schoolrooms and a doubling of seats for technical courses. Campaigns for universal education, emphasis on girl child education, total enrollment and maximum retention of children in the schools has resulted in a massive reduction in the drop out rate at all primary levels. The Gujarat government has set 2010 as the deadline to ensure a 100 per cent enrolment and zero per cent drop out rate.
Thanks to a systematic approach to different health issues like rural and urban health, school health, maternal and child health, mental health, preventable diseases and a wide variety of innovative program with Public-Private Collaborations, Gujarat is now emerging as a global medical tourism destination. The WHO has appreciated Gujarat’s school health program, under which 10 million primary school children are medically examined every year. Another scheme involving private gynecologists in providing services related to safe delivery of pregnant women primarily from socio-economically weaker sections, called the Chiranjeevi Yojana, recently bagged international recognition in the form of Asian Innovation Award at Singapore from Wall Street Journal and the Financial Express and was appreciated in UNICEF’s report ‘State of World Children 2009. (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-4012031,prtpage-1.cms)
Water management has been Gujarat’s one of the best success stories. Modi’s mission of ‘Water for all’ has been a revolution. Agriculture sector has been hugely boosted through harnessing of rain water and scientific management of water, interlinking of 21 rivers of the states, linking the villages with a State Wide Water Grid and introduction of Micro-Irrigation Techniques. The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Project, making the waters of Narmada river flow all across the state through canals and water transmission lines, due to be completed will further add by providing the benefits of water and electricity up to 500km away from the dam.
A statewide drinking water grid is also being established for providing drinking water to more than 14,000 villages and 154 towns. The result is that earlier about 4,000 villages needed to be provided water through tankers which has now reduced to less than 185.
The Jyoti Gram Yojana to provide 3-phase, 24-hour, uninterrupted power supply to all the 18,065 villages and also to the 9,680 suburbs attached to these villages has been described as the single initiative that has brought a revolutionary change in the life-pattern and economic activities of rural Gujarat, promoting development of small scale industries and generation of additional employment. Implemented in a record time of 30 months, the Jyoti Gram Yojana has enabled Gujarat to become the first state in India to achieve 100% electrification of villages.
On the judiciary front, there are now 22 lakh cases pending against 45 lakh cases in 2005. By 2010, Gujarat’s golden jubilee year, the state aims to achieve zero pendency of cases. Part of this success has been the functioning of 67 Evening Courts, which have enabled the common man to seek justice without wasting his working hours during the day. Similar success has been achieved with the experiments of Lok Adalat (People’s Court) and Nari Adalat (Female Court). In the latter, women groups have organized themselves into informal judicial forums in order to address the grievances and cases of women through consultation and negotiation.
Gujarat ranks first in the country in the implementation of 20 point program for poverty abolition for the last four years in a row. The government has already provided Housing to 46,263 below poverty line families at the cost of Rs. 13672.94 lakhs.
Gujarat is the first state in the country to have made e-Governance functional in all its municipalities and municipal corporations and also the first state to have framed a comprehensive urban health policy. Gujarat is the only state in Asia to have an e-connectivity network in all 590 village councils. Around 207 village community centers have started operations. So far, 13,693 panchayats or village councils have computers and sarpanch and village secretaries are trained to operate computers. (http://newstodaynet.com/newsindex.php?id=13391%20&%20section=5)
Modi and his government have proved once again the age old proverb, where there is a will there is a way. Imagine all these things happening in the same country where Rajiv Gandhi, as Prime Minister of India, once lamented helplessly that out of every rupee spent for development only 17 per cent actually reached the poor. There has to be some difference and it is this difference of vision, commitment and conviction that distinguishes Modi from other politicians.
When other Chief Ministers accumulate crores of personal wealth as birthday gifts, Modi deposits each and every gift / souvenir received by him in the government treasury (toshakhana) for the cause of girl child education (Kanya Kelavani). He has deposited Rs.287.37 lakhs in a period of 5 years and started the movement where people, being touched by his commitment for the cause of female education, instead of felicitating him by gifts or souvenirs have started donating checks for Kanya Kelavani Nidhi. For this benevolent cause, they have voluntarily handed over more than Rs.11 crores to their beloved leader. This only vindicates the fact that when the intentions are noble and the commitment total, support flows from all directions.
Since 2003, every year in scorching summer heat of the month of June, the Chief Minister along with his team travels to remote villages to encourage parents to enroll their children in schools. It is a three day long statewide drive covering all the villages and the urban areas in where an atmosphere of festivity and celebration is created to attract young children who now wait keenly to get themselves enrolled into schools. To ensure higher retention rates, another initiative is Vidyalaxmi scheme, introduced in villages where female literacy rate is lower than 35% and in the urban areas for the girls belonging to the below-poverty-line families, where the Vidyalaxmi bond of Rs. 1000/- is given to girl students who take admission to the 1st std and 8th std, to be received with interest on completion of std 7th and 10th respectively.
The vision, concept and implementation of such programs make Narendra Modi unique. While other politicians think about the next elections, Modi thinks of the next generation. Thus said industrialist Anil Ambani “If Gujarat was a separate country, it would stand in a different league among some of world’s most flourishing and prosperous countries”
It is no wonder that he has been recognized as No.1 Chief Minister by the people, thrice in last five years in India Today – ORG MARG Survey, a unique recognition ever achieved by any CM in the country.
Narendra Modi – why do we need him for India?
Eminent writer-activist Mahasweta Devi, recently praised Gujarat, “I have been to Gujarat many times, especially during the 2002 communal killings. ……I was deeply impressed to see the strong work culture in Gujarat. The city and village roads are well-built, even the remotest villages have electricity and access to drinking water. I was especially impressed with the medical facilities in the panchayats and local-level health centers…..” Comparing to the over 30 years of the communist Government rule in West Bengal, she summarizes, “…Not at all like West Bengal where, even now, villages and panchayat areas have hardly any electricity. The government’s so-called ‘swasthya pariseva’ (healthcare service) is totally non-existent.” (http://cities.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=252856)
The recent Nano car episode is further proof of the difference between the governments of the two states.
Writes Prafull Goradia, “What is unique about Mr Modi is his governance by management and administration by objectives. Singapore under legendary Lee Kuan Yew was the pioneer in adopting this concept and conclusively proving its success. …. In Gujarat he has demonstrated a flair for statesmanship. The question is: Will he make himself available to the rest of the country.” (http://www.dailypioneer.com/131795/Good-governance-impresses-all.html)
The people of India are disillusioned with its politicians, to say the least. Even after 61 yrs of Independence, a vast section of the population still remains underprivileged, poor and illiterate. Big plans and tall promises are made at every election but are never implemented. Shortsighted policies meant for immediate gain, corruption, nepotism, manipulation of the system for personal benefit, lust for wealth and power and ugly vote bank policies are rampant and usual. Development for the mass is the least of the priorities. Virtues of honesty, integrity, wisdom, morality and nationalism are almost rare.
Even if there are a handful of honest and decent politicians, they either lack the vision or the assertiveness to implement a program or lack the raw nonchalant strength of character required to carry out a plan against odds.
In Narendra Modi, India has a politician with most required qualities to change the tide. It is not any exaggeration to say that, after his experience and experimentation with Gujarat, he probably has the answers to all the problems that the nation is facing today. He is not only the best choice but perhaps the only choice to lead the country.
The so called Gujarat model of development is nothing but the result of hard work of a visionary. There is no reason why it cannot be extended to the rest of India.
The latest worldwide craze of the new US President Barack Obama who perhaps, beside his image and his words, has few other achievements to back him is the latest example of how media can make a person. No such favor can be expected from the hostile Indian media in case of Modi. His every word and every move are scrutinized microscopically to find a fault that can be used against him. Even if the so called Hindutva poster boy demolishes temples for the sake of widening a road, the fake secular media will find fault in him and would fancy a battle and pit him against other Hindu organizations. One can imagine what they would do if he destroys a church or a mosque. It is ironic that the Indian Media which goes gaga over a small icon of Hanuman that reportedly Obama carries with him fails to acknowledge the dedication of Hanumanji that Modi carries in his heart. Thus other than a handful of protagonist it is likely that the Indian media will not support Narendra Modi.
Sure there will be opposition from other sides. Modi is the kind of personality who is bound to have overt or covert enemies. A lot of people will have a lot of undue privileges to lose and they are not expected to accept it willfully. Our self styled secularist, our opportunistic politicians, the folks who manage our national media, the activists who shed crocodile tears for the minorities will all fight till their last breath. A lot of national and possible international interests who would not like to see India to grow fast and become at par with developed nations will defy such a move. Already some are alarmed, “The more Moditva grows, the more its opposite has to be strengthened……Only the sudden removal of Narendra Modi can stop this.” (http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print.aspx?Id=8368a158-42d4-466c-ba71-685eb2bbc204).
But what will the Indian people want? We have to realize that collective candlelight based solidarity will not change the fate of our beloved nation. We have to demand the change with conviction. A revolution is required to save the country. We owe it to our past and we owe it to our future. Then there are other questions. Will Mr. Modi agree to step out of Gujarat? Will Mr. Advani be willing to sacrifice his long term dream? Will all the other leaders of BJP and its allies stand behind the person who can take this country and the party to an unprecedented zenith? Will good sense prevail in some of the other people in power today?
Will we, the people of India unite, despite all disagreements, with a single minded goal of taking our country forward and will we be willing to get above all possible reservations about the man and choose the only person who can lead us towards that glory.
Do we want that change?