Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It is not that Narendra Modi is bad for Muslims. He is bad for democracy, which is the real danger. And BJP must learn not to behave like Modi

Many pundits are literally scared to stick their necks out and say that whether he wins or loses the state assembly elections underway, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi remains a negative character. Almost all media persons are trying to sit on the fence -- that is, the liberals who do not like him for all those silly secular reasons -- and hoping that he would lose. But they do not have the courage to say that Modi would remain a politically unacceptable person and so do those who have voted for him.

Modi is bad not because he is anti-Muslim but because he has this unmistakable fascist streak of believing none other than himself, including his own party people. A good politician is one who takes others along with him, and not one who demands that others follow him, right or wrong. Though everyone is shouting from rooftops that he has relegated BJP to the background, they are not willing to further pinpoint the negativity of that trait. That is, Modi is bad for democracy.

It cannot be denied that Gujarat's 2002 verdict in favour of Modi was unmoral. Gujarat can only redeem itself by throwing out Modi this time round. Congress and the others had to say that they respect the wishes of the people because of political compulsions.

Secularists would be unhappy to know that the reason Modi is losing is because Hindutva forces are abandoning Modi. The Adivasis and Dalits, who were the foot soldiers of the 2002 anti-Muslim riots, are now going to vote against Modi. And so do the Hindutva organisations like the VHP and RSS. Not that any of the HIndutva elements have had a change of heart and they have certainly become secularists. They cling to their Hindutva but find Modi unacceptable for their own selfish reasons.

The case of the Muslims is interesting. In 2002, most Muslims may not have voted becase of fear. In 2007, they may not be too keen to vote against Modi because they feel that it is much better to make peace with him. And perhaps Modi would not be averse to make a deal with the Muslims either.

But that is not the issue. Modi is a danger to democracy.

And the BJP will need to draw the right lessons from the Modi phenomenon. IN its quest for victory, it should resist the temptation of following the Modi formula of burshing aside democratic dialogue, within the party and without.

The other clarification that needs to be made about Narendra Modi is this. He is not a charismatic leader as is being made out by the secularist media reporters. He is a mere rabble-rouser.

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