Imagine our national media celebs were involved in the liquor business. What would they be selling? IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor), Desi Sharaab or Imported liquor? I believe none of these. I believe most would be selling illicit liquor or ‘Hooch’, if you like. Especially in Gujarat which has prohibition Hooch would be their best choice. Spurious, adulterated, sometimes poisonous enough to kill. Customers are gullible, don’t bother about quality of the concoction, the product is cheap, available in small packages and highly profitable. They’re not into the business but their products have all the attributes of cheap Hooch. Their TV shows and articles are devoid of all the facts, contain half-truths, untruths and produced in haste without much research or checked for quality. If it’s about Narendra Modi, the concoction is even headier.
Considering Gujarat elections are around the corner our ‘fiberal’ media is desperate to seek ways to toe the Congress party line about 1) Modi being a ‘regional’ leader and has no impact beyond Gujarat 2) Development in Gujarat is historical and little to do with Modi and 3) Keep attempting to frighten people Modi is a “polarising” figure . So Rajdeep Sardesai (RS) comes up with another Friday Blogbuster called “Modi in pole position but can his politics have a pan-Indian appeal?” and the same piece is repeated in Hindustan Trolls as “Advantage Modi”. The trouble with over-enthusiasm in batting for the Congress is that one tends to be careless with facts. The article could have been written by any Congress sympathiser instead of RS and it would have still looked the same. It’s just that RS is the dancing cheer-girl in this one. So let’s read some spurious bits (in blue).
RS starts off with: Even so, there is a near unanimity that Narendra Modi is poised for a hat-trick of victories in Gujarat. For the record Modi is currently completing his third term and hat-trick. He took over as CM in October 2001 (became elected MLA in February 2002), got re-elected again in 2002 and again in 2007. The first term was truncated but it still was a BJP government for the full term. So if there is another term for Modi I guess it would have to be called Quart-trick or something.
It is equally true that the ‘development’ agenda of Gujarat didn’t start in 2002 with the ascent of Modi as the CM’s astute marketing machine would have us believe. Gujarat CMs from the time of Morarji Desai to a Chimanbhai Patel to a Madhavsinh Solanki have always had a robust, forward-looking approach to economic progress. Typical absence of fact-checking; Morarji was never CM of Gujarat. (RS corrected it later on his blog on this error being pointed out but not in the HT piece). You have to be an idiot to mention Chimanbhai without a mention of Navnirman 1974 when he was thrown out for corruption. That’s the agitation that finally led to Emergency in 1975. As for Madhavsinh, he is probably the only CM who got thrashed by people for his divisive policies. His divisive casteist KHAM (Khshatriya, Harijan, Adivasi, Muslim) theory cost the Congress a lot. He is accused of turning the 1985 anti-reservation agitation into a communal riot. Sure, Gujarat has always been ahead on the development front. Even during Narendra Modi’s tenure his achievement is mostly with infrastructure, power supply and giving a free reign to people to pursue their goals. Policy-wise Modi govt has been the least divisive Gujarat has ever had and far less corrupt than seen before. I say that with a certain authority on the topic.
Yes, the 2002 riots may have confirmed the supremacy of a so-called Hindu vote-bank, but the fact is the emergence of this vote-bank pre-dates the violence. In 1995, for example, the BJP won more than 50% of the vote, proof that the party’s rise is a 1990s phenomenon and the last 10 years have only seen a further consolidation of this vote. Another load of BS that RS tries to pass off as insight. The decline of Congress started in 1985 after Madhavsinh’s KHAM and reservation policy. RS & company probably don’t know that since that time the BJP started winning smaller elections such as panchayats and municipal corporations. These elections are usually the signals of bigger changes. The last Bengal election is a good example.
But to suggest that Gujarat would not have prospered without Modi’s dynamism is to deny credit to the time-tested Gujarati business acumen. Great! But who exactly is denying that? Actually, nobody! It is just cronies like RS make it appear that Modi or BJP are denying this. It’s only Congress and media propaganda that imagines this denial which doesn’t exist at all. Absolute LIE!
The land acquisition battles, for example, which resonate in states like West Bengal appear to hold less relevance to the Gujarati land-owner who is simply looking to strike the best deal for his property. Again, if you aren’t careful you will miss the cunning parallel that RS is trying to draw. Why the comparison with Bengal? Ah.. You see, TMC is not a Congress ally anymore and so is fair game. There are more land scams in Congress states of Delhi, A.P., Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan and under allies like UP. The Congress family itself is now accused of land scams under National Herald and Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. Who can forget the superman of land dealings, Robert Vadra? So even in praising Gujarat try and tarnish a non-Congress party. Clever!
So, yes, a Modi win in Gujarat seems a safe bet for now. The nagging question though remains: can Gujarat be a benchmark for measuring popularity in a complex, diverse India? These are the last lines of RS’s moronery. In all the stupid polls that RS and his channels conduct Modi has been the most popular choice for PM. Since that was discomforting CNN-IBN started polls on party lines: Who is most favoured as PM by Congress, who is most favoured by BJP as PM! So that way they wouldn’t have to swallow the bitter bill that Modi is nationally popular across the population.
At the beginning RS writes: The Modi groupies will no doubt attribute a victory solely to the charisma and achievements of the Gujarat chief minister. His critics will be quick to point out that Gujarat is sui generis, and a win is the result of communal polarisation in the state. Modi groupies? After 11 years of trying to defeat Modi through various channels that employed him RS has now been reduced to a “roadie” of the Congress whose job is to try and paint Modi as a regional leader. They couldn’t unseat Modi so now the media trick is to try and control further damage by restricting him to Gujarat by repeatedly claiming he’s unfit for a national role. This bunch makes up the Sonia and Rahul “groupies” for sure since there is no Congress person of any stature to challenge Modi in Gujarat. As for communal polarisation RS is again spreading untruths as easily as butter on bread. The most number of people charged with Communal speeches by the EC in Gujarat during this election season are from the Congress and not the BJP. And in which state in India has the Congress and its alliance partners not polarised voters with promises based on religion and caste?
If the Sonia groupies, including RS, hadn’t carried out their vicious campaign against Modi he may not even have been so popular. More than the politics, the Modi popularity despite this criminal media is the fact that social media and internet have outsmarted the MSM. RS and the groupies find it a difficult defeat to swallow. The license that earned them a lot over a decade has expired. They have now become like bootleggers doing business on the sly. It’s like selling spurious Hooch. Only, no one is buying anymore except their own groupies.