One has to give credit to the tenacity of Indian English news media. It is hard to say which is stronger- their subservience to the Gandhi family and Congress or their hatred for the Gujarat CM and the BJP.

Over the years, the Media has hurled every imaginable accusation to the Gujarat CM but are frustrated and miffed by his nonchalant attitude. It is interesting to note that they are now alarmed by his popularity and are racing to interview him.

Despite years of false accusations and half truths to denounce him, they have realized that Modi has become the darling of the Indian population, who abhor the decades of vote bank and divisive politics, pseudo-secularism, minority appeasement, corruption and nepotism and want India to be developed, free of poverty, illiteracy and terrorism.

The media’s obsession with efforts to tarnish Modi or BJP knows no bound. They are ever alert to project fractions within BJP, highlight fights between BJP, RSS and VHP as parties as well as amongst their leaders. Their latest effort is to pit Modi against Advani, despite the former’s repeated assertion that he still wants to work for Gujarat, that he acknowledges Advani as his guru and he is not interested in the PM race? An earlier attempt had failed since both Advani and Modi have very high opinion about each other.

 And this time also it is a pleasure to see that Modi has turned the table on the media, saying that Advaniji will be our prime ministerial candidate even in 2014 elections .


Pracharak to PM?

26 Apr 2009, 0434 hrs IST, Bharat Desai & Harit Mehta, TNN

AHMEDABAD: Till a few weeks back, most admirers of Narendra Modi in Gujarat believed that it will be only in 2014 that Missile Modi will hit New Delhi. The general feeling was Modi is happy being the CM of Gujarat, a state which will be celebrating its Golden Jubilee in 2010, and watch from the sidelines the coalition circus which unfolds shortly. But there is a change in thinking in Gujarat, as well as within the BJP, on the timing of the move. It has to be earlier, feel those admirers of Modi, who are anxious that he takes centre-stage as soon as possible. “Five years is too long a time in politics, I think he (Modi) is in a hurry to come to Delhi,” a senior bureaucrat who has worked closely with Modi told TOI.

The possibilities are immense and even BJP allies are feeling that Modi’s next big push towards the national capital is imminent. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar was recently quoted as saying that he would not like to share an election platform with Modi. On reading the reports, he immediately called up LK Advani and clarified that he did not mean this and, if need be, he would also speak to Modi. Advani communicated this to Modi and got back to Nitish saying there were no misunderstandings from Modi’s side. The media has also anticipated the trajectory of his flight. A journalist in New Delhi said almost everyone wants to know when Missile Modi will strike Delhi. Almost everybody in the media also wants to interview Modi. Sources in the chief minister’s office (CMO) say there are 40-plus requests pending for interviews and following his campaign trail, which is entirely aerial.

But most important are the signals coming straight from the Sangh Parivar. Within months of calling Modi Mahmud of Ghazni, for demolishing over 200 illegal temples in Gandhinagar, VHP chief Ashok Singhal was forced to come to Ahmedabad on Friday and clarify that his comment was meant to be a joke. While that may sound funny, it is clear that Modi has the blessings of new RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. Modi cemented his 35-year-old ties with Bhagwats by identifying his father and one of the pillars of RSS, late Madhukar Rao Bhagwat, as one of the luminaries who influenced him in his early life as a pracharak. Bhagwat Jr. came to Ahmedabad to release Modi’s book ‘Jyotipunj’ in 2007. On the same day a tamed Singhal was praising Modi, Arun Shourie was also in Ahmedabad declaring that Modi was a future PM, qualifying the comment by adding that this was his “personal feeling”. One couldn’t expect him to say in public this was the ‘Parivaar feeling” as well.


BJP call for Narendra Modi as PM grows louder

26 Apr 2009, 0420 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI/AHMEDABAD: First it was Arun Shourie, now it’s Arun Jaitley — both of them want Narendra Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate after L K Advani. Coming bang in the middle of an election in which Advani is the BJP’s candidate for the top job, the search for Advani’s successor has set tongues wagging—has the BJP, or a section of the party, already thrown in the towel and is it looking ahead?

Like Shourie, Jaitley made it plain that there is no shift from Advani’s projection as the prime ministerial candidate for 2009, but his support for Modi in Vadodara is bound to fuel a debate and controversy, inviting caustic inquiries from the Congress about whether the BJP was hunting for an insurance policy.

Asked about his views on Shourie’s comments, Jaitley said, “I, along with other BJP workers, will be very happy if Shourie’s wishes would come true.” However, he took care to add that “at present, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate is Advani”. He would be happy, he said, if Modi became the PM after Advani.