With this one act, it became abundantly clear that the “development messiah”—billed as a replacement for ex-PM Atal Behari Vajpayee—is at best a petty politician acting out of pure pique. The Modi government, which had challenged the Lokayukta appointment in 2011 within hours (and contested it all the way to the Supreme Court), failed to get support from any of the judicial forums. After the SC upheld the appointment on January 2, 2013, the state government was back with a review petition which was dismissed on March 14. The egg on its face notwithstanding, the Modi government returned before the apex court four days later, this time with a ‘curative’ petition and that is where the matter rests now. Meanwhile, it used the last day of the budget session to push through a bill that will see the anti-corruption ombudsman probing the misdemeanours of a mountain-load of officials, including sarpanchs and self-government functionaries.
It is the same peevish, obstinate nature which had come to the fore when he forced party chief Nitin Gadkari to keep out saffronite arch rival Sanjay Joshi from the national executive in May last year or having a tainted Amit Shah elevated to general secretary in Rajnath Singh’s new team, an in-your-face defiance designed to prove his clout at the detriment of the party organisation.
The Amit Shah issue is a case in point, a former home minister who shines in reflected Modi glory but had to quit the government after being chargesheeted by the CBI in the fake encounter case of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh. After an extended time in Sabarmati jail, he was released on bail on the condition that he would stay out of Gujarat. The ban was relaxed before the 2012 assembly polls to enable him to contest, which he duly won by a big margin. Amit Shah now also stands chargesheeted in the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case. A close confidant of Modi who allegedly headed the dirty tricks department during his ministerial days, Shah presently faces charges of murder, criminal conspiracy, abduction, destruction of evidence, criminal intimidation and extortion in the continuing cases.
Guv Kamala Beniwal, left, with Modi at a function in Gandhi Ashram, 2010. (Photograph by AFP, From Outlook 15 April 2013)
For Modi, Amit Shah is a trusted handyman who carries out any task assigned to him loyally. For all the turmoil the party has been through in Gujarat, Shah has remained steadfastly attached to Modi. The thinking, perhaps, is that in the days to come, Shah will prove immensely useful as Modi makes a bid for Delhi, as much in Delhi as to keep an eye on the flock in Gujarat.
The Gujarat CM’s impatience with authority other than his own is the stuff of folklore. The Lokayukta isn’t the only example. Education has been another field where the say of the chancellor (the governor) in state-headed universities has invited Modi’s attention. In gross violation of UGC guidelines, the state has now pushed through an amendment ensuring that the ‘governor’ is replaced by the ‘government’. “This is the way Modi seeks to subvert established procedures,” points out state Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi. Earlier also, the Modi government had tried to push through a Common University Act in the state but the move was stonewalled by then governor Nawal Kishore Sharma.
Interestingly, the day Modi was being anointed in the CPB, the VHP was busy unleashing a Hindutva agenda in his Maninagar (Ahmedabad) constituency at a public rally attended by RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat. VHP boss Praveen Togadia, a staunch Modi opponent, hit out at the CM (of course, without taking his name) while speaking at a Hindu sangam rally. The VHP, it seems, is determined to heighten Hindutva temperatures in the run-up to the 2014 elections, raking up issues like the “safety of Hindu women” and a perennial fallback, the Ram temple at Ayodhya.
Modi and Togadia have been at loggerheads for long. Indeed, almost every Sangh parivar outfit stands split in Gujarat. The VHP had become persona non grata here in 2008, after the police picked up state general secretary Ashwin Patel, a close confidant of Togadia, and charged him with ‘sedition and inflaming communal passions’. He spent considerable time behind bars before higher-ups intervened and Patel was released.
In Gujarat, Modi’s dictatorial streak has hit farcical lengths. It’s common knowledge that party legislators send in signed blank forms for questions to be asked later in the House. The re-election of R.C. Fardu as state BJP chief came as no surprise. District leaders signed on blank forms to re-elect a man who had lost in the assembly polls. Some sought to enquire but were sternly shooed off by Amit Shah. His being the only name, he was duly re-elected. Thus it is that Modi is both the party and the government in Gujarat. Indeed, there is no BJP in the state, only brand Modi! And as the brand moves to a central stage, who overwhelms whom remains to be seen.
By R.K. Misra in Gandhinagar
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
>>Talking about yourself again?
Anwar, having comprehension problems again?
>> quote half a provision of the constitution.
Talking about yourself again?
>>Even when my post consists entirely of a citation from the Indian Constitution, I still get a few "Dislike" marks
Tried and tested formula - quote half a provision of the constitution, get caught and then play the victimhood card.
>>Visit Twitter & see my exchanges with Madhu Kishwar. She called me rattu. .Hilarious!
Hilarious for being apt. For all the exhaustive stuff Madhu Kishwar has written about Gujarat, Saroja questions her on ...ahem.. number of preventive arrests made on Feb 28! I am sure someday when courts give their judgements, she is going to walk up to the judge and ask the same question.
The following are the hilarious responses of Kishwar to Saroja:
"I find you rattu responses very tiring. Please don't expect any more replies. Enjoy your beliefs!"
and more hilarious
"All your research is done sitting at home? You are using google like Alladin lamp?"
Visit Twitter & see my exchanges with Madhu Kishwar. She called me rattu. .Hilarious!
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT