Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was in Congress country, at Bodeli 65 kms from Vadodara, on August 20 and his speech, as the Indian Express reported, "started off with words of praise for ministers and officials who’d ensuring smooth water supply from the Narmada. He soon got to the point. ‘‘Nobody talks of Godhra as if nobody died. It’s an insult to humanity. All this happened only because of the Godhra carnage,’’ he said, referring to the Godhra accused repeatedly as ‘‘nar-pishach’’ and ‘‘nar-rakshas’’. But the choicest bits were reserved for ‘‘James Michael Lyngdoh’’, his ‘‘fatwa’’ on the Gujarat elections and his ‘‘bias’’ towards the minorities. "
Excerpts (translated) from a tape, courtesy, The Indian Express
For several months, the opposition has been after me to resign. When I did, they did not know what to do and started running to Delhi to seek Madam’s help. They realised that James Michael Lyngdoh, the Election Commissioner of India, is their only saviour.
Some journalists asked me recently, ‘‘Has James Michael Lyngdoh come from Italy?’’ I said I don’t have his janam patri, I will have to ask Rajiv Gandhi. Then the journalists said, ‘‘Do they meet in church?’’. I replied, ‘‘Maybe they do.’’
James Michael Lyngdoh came and visited Ahmedabad and Vadodara. And then he used asabhya basha (indecent language) with the officials. Gujaratis can never use such language because our rich cultural heritage does not permit it. Then he gave a fatwa ordering that the elections can’t be held. I want to ask him: he has come to this conclusion after meeting only members of the minority community. Are only minority community members citizens of India? Are majority community members not citizens of this country? Is the constitutional body meant only for the minority community? Did he ever bother to meet the relatives of those killed in the Godhra carnage? Why didn’t he meet them? Why didn’t he ask them whether the situation was conducive for polls? Why? James Michael Lyngdoh, the people of Gujarat are posing a question to you.
If the one lakh gathering here feels that the situation is conducive for elections, they should raise their hands and say yes. If the one lakh gathering feels that a sinister plan is on to damage Gujarat, raise your hand and say yes. See (pointing to the gathering), the answer is yes. Five crore Gujaratis will tell you that there is peace.
The day James Michael Lyngdoh issued the fatwa, Congress celebrated it in their own style. Forty shops were gutted and 15 persons were injured (referring to recent violence in Dhoraji). This is celebration for a delay in the election. What will they do in the days ahead?
If this continues, there will be a time when supari will be given for delaying elections. Chhota Shakeel, Dawood Ibrahim will be given five crore to foment communal disturbances in Rajasthan. And when murders and loot will be engineered in Jodhpur, Udaipur and Bharatpur; there will be a hue and cry and then James Michael Lyngdoh will come and give a 40-page report saying that Rajasthan is not safe for elections. Which direction is democracy going in? Five crore Gujaratis need an opportunity to decide.
I am not saying I want to be in power. I am already chief minister. I want elections because allegations have been hurled at me. It is for the five crore Gujaratis to decide whether I should stay or I should be removed. No aalia, valia and jamalia from the Delhi footpath will decide and that is why we have gone to the janata ki adalat.
Has the Congress party ever thought why adivasis have become violent? How long could they have tolerated the exploitation. Poor adivasi girls working as maids were being exploited. As long as I am here, I will not allow this exploitation.
This state is not meant for maut ke saudagars.
This is a border state and my priority has always been that maut ke saudagar do not get a place here. If I am targeted by my opponents, I will not take out the sword, but if fingers are raised at five crore Gujaratis, then the sword will come out.
[The Indian Express reported that Modi then spent the rest of his speech criticising the Congress.]