People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 45

November 11, 2012




Facts Expose “Vibrant Gujarat” Claims

Arun Mehta


AN interesting book has recently come out, titled Secularism, Politics and Development, and the authors are Dr Uday Mehta and Ram Puniyani. On its page 36, the book says: “….it is not surprising that Modi spent over 25,000 dollars a month on an American firm, specialising in the communication of public figures, which had also worked for the African Nigerian dictator Soni Abacha and such others, for reshaping  image.”


While Narendra Modi own campaign is projecting him as the only full-time chief minister in the country, well established media houses are almost everyday carrying Modi’s biographical details --- about his childhood, his courage, his devotion to his parents, the hardships and sufferings he underwent, etc, etc. The use of modern gadgets like the internet, mobile phones and SMS on a massive scale is also a distinctive feature of his campaign.


A new aspect is that Modi as started his own TV channel, called Namo Channel, and it continues unhindered despite the opposition’s complaint made to the Election Commission that this channel is in violation of the code of conduct as it was started just before the state assembly polls.




Another aspect which the same agency has been highlighting is of his managerial style of functioning, i.e. Modi as a corporate CEO. Corporate sector has been praising him precisely for the same reason. It is no wonder, then, that the Ambani brothers --- Mukesh and Anil --- among his favourites. The latter’s list also includes, as the Gujarat High Court pointed out, “Adani” and “Dani,” among otheRs K M Birla is also one of his favourites.


It is also very pertinent to note here that the Congress leadership in Gujarat never unambiguously condemned or deplored the 2002 carnage which has recently been castigated by an independent and bold judge, Mrs Jyotsnaben, who put the behaviour of the Modi government in the dock. This type of behaviour on the part of the Gujarat congress is not soft secularism, as some would like to describe it; it is plain capitulation vis-à-vis the communal campaign of the RSS-BJP men.


Narendra Modi claims himself to be a big protector of “panch karor Gujaratis” (five crore Gujarat people), but the fact is that his protection extends not to the common Gujaratis but to the Adani-s, Dani-s and Ambani-s. The Gujarat High Court even remarked that Narendra Modi’s vision covers only those like the “Adanis” as it happened in the Bhuj hospital case.


Nor does Modi’s Hindutva cover the farmers who are continuously living in darkness and are not allowed to apply even for new electric connections. In case of they are allowed for the purpose at all, the stipulation is that only such farmers may apply who have adopted the “tapak sinchai” method of irrigation. But the bitter fact is that hardly 20 per cent of the farmers have been able to adopt the “tapak sinchai” method.


All the same, however, the supply to electricity to the rural areas is made at the night time only. So much for the chief minister’s claims about an agro revolution in Gujarat.


It is not very long ago when Modi announced with great fanfare that all the ponds, tanks, lakes and even the dried-up rivers would soon be filled up with water to the brim. But the question being asked is: If the BJP government has so far not been able to reach the Narmada river water to the farmers’ fields, how can one have any faith in the other promises Modi has been bombastically making? It is notable that if the Narmada water is not reaching the cultivated fields in Gujarat, it is simple because the state government has dismally failed to construct the necessary canals and water channels. On top of it, moreover, the state is currently in the grip of a drought and famine.


As for water supply, many of the corporations and municipalities in Gujarat are simply unable to provide safe drinking water to the state people.  Even a pro-BJP daily like Divya Bhaskar recently carried a full-page article to stress the excruciating shortage of drinking and irrigation water as well as of power in the state.


During the run-up to the previous elections, Modi had promised help worth crores of rupees to “the sons of the sea,” to the Sagar Santan as he called them. Now one full term of the state assembly is soon to be over but the Modi government has not spent a single pie for these people, nor did he plan anything for them. They have been totally ignored.


As for the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and women, they just do not exist in Modi’s considerations. And the minorities? The less said, the better.


But, yet, Modi is unconcerned with the ground situation, perhaps deliberately, and concerned only with his fraudulent image making.




Recently, the prices of edible oil have jumped up Rs 2,000 per tin of 15 kilograms (which comes to Rs 140 per kg), while both the Congress and the BJP are maintaining total silence over the issue. Nay, Khimji Gojiya, an oil miller, is on record saying that an edible oil tin would only in few days cost as much as Rs 4,000. He then gleefully added that “we stand well protected under this government.”


Gojiya was elected vice president by the recently held conference of Saurashtra Oil Mills Association at Rajkot.


How big is the recent spurt in edible oil prices can be seen from the table alongside.


There has recently been a heavy spurt in the fees in educational institutions, mainly benefiting the privately owned schools and college. Under Modi, the field of education has turned into a source of big commercial benefits for the moneybags as the regime openly allows this field to be turned into a business. Higher education has become very costly, and is gradually going beyond the reach of even the middle class. To dream of becoming a doctor or an engineer has become a source of frustration for a common youth, no matter whatever academic heights (s)he has attained.


Female education was totally free in all the schools earlier. Now that is the story of a bygone era.


Hospitals that once gave “free” medical treatment to patients, are now charging Rs 5 for entry card only. The treatment for a dog bite may cost you as much as Rs 500. 


As for the growth of the state’s economy, which is usually measured in terms of the SDP (state domestic product) and its growth, the figures for Gujarat during the last 50 years show that the state, under the governments led by Madhavsinh Solanki in the years 1983-84 and Chimanbhai Patel in the years 1992-93 had had a much higher growth rate. In fact, Narendra Modi government stands fourth in this regard today, much below even its own SDP growth figures in 2003-04.


And this is so despite the media blitzkrieg and the bluff meted out to the people in the form of “Vibrant Gujarat” Melas every year!


As for Modi’s claim of attracting investments from within the country and abroad, he has no doubt succeeded in winning the goodwill of the Indian corporate houses and foreign multinationals. But, yet, a bitter fact is that several of the companies that signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with the state government have surreptitiously and silently slipped away because the riots made them wary about their investments being safe or otherwise.


To top it all, some of the district collectors have been told to include the already existing industrial units as new ones in their official publications.




In Gujarat now, on the other hand, investors have started buying pasture lands that were reserved for cows and other cattle. Such lands amount to about 30,000 acres and the question is: What would the maldharis (cattle owners) do if these lands are occupied by the private investors and speculators. They are now gradually getting compelled to stir and compel the state government as to where they should go with their cattle. 


Another stir is that of the government employees who have arisen as a whole. Usually it is believed that they ultimately compromise, but the situation now appears to be different. When the state government employees recently decided to go on a one day “leave with pay” protest, it was an absolute success. When the state government called them to the negotiating table, they clearly said that they would negotiate only after the government conceded all their demands first. The number of these employees is so big that their anger may cost any government dearly.


There is no doubt that the massive bluffs Modi had been resorting to had been creating an anti-Modi atmosphere among the middle and lower classes in the state. It is another thing, however, that the centre has as though come to Modi’s rescue by allowing FDI in retail trade and by its recent decisions on the cooking gas and diesel. These have flared up an anti-centre feeling in the state.


All the same, the bad news for Modi is that the former chief minister Keshubhai Patel and his new party, the Parivartan Party, is likely to create a big headache for Modi. Also, a former home minister in Modi’s government, Gordhan Zadafaia, has merged his party with Keshibhai Patel’s. Even if the latter, who quit the BJP at one stage, does not align with anyone whatsoever and concentrates on his Leva Patel vote bank, the estimate is that he would harm the BJP on 25 to 30 seats. All the old communal leaders, including the son of Kanshiram Rana, a former member of parliament, have joined this new, anti-Modi party.


However, the Congress has so far been quite dull insofar as daring Narendra Modi is concerned. It is true that Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s huge mass meeting at Rajkot recently has enthused the Congress workers to an extent, but nobody can still say how much they would be able to overcome their lack of courage.



Chief Minister

Rate per Tin (15 kg)

1/5/1960 to 18/9/1963

Dr Jivraj Mehta

Rs 53.00

18/9/1963 to 20/9/1965

Balvantrai Mehta

Rs 68.00

20/9/1965 to 13/5/1971

Hitendra Desai

Rs 71.00

14/5/1971 to 17/3/1972

President’s Rule

Rs 72.00

18/3/1972 to 17/7/1973

Ghanshyam Ozha

Rs 75.00

19/7/1973 to 09/2/1974

Chimanbhai Patel

Rs 105.00

10/2/1974 to 18/6/1975

President’s Rule

Not Available

19/6/1975 to 12/3/1976

Babubhai Patel

Rs 128.00

13/3/1976 to 24/12/1976

President’s Rule

Rs 128.00

25/12/1976 to 11/4/1977

Madhavsinh Solanki

Rs 165.00

11/4/1977 to 17/2/1980

Babubhai Patel

Rs 203.00

18/2/1980 to 06/6/1980

President’s Rule

Rs 210.00

07/6/1980 to 06/7/1985

Madhavsinh Solanki

Rs 240.00

07/7/1985 to 09/12/1989

Amarsinh Chaudhary

Rs 255.00 to 422.00

10/12/1989 to 04/3/1990

Madhavsinh Solanki

Rs 425.00

05/3/1990 to 17/2/1994

Chimanbhai Patel

Rs 400.00 to 600.00

17/2/1994 to 14/3/1995

Chhabildas Mehta

Rs 630.00

15/3/1995 to 21/10/1995

Keshubhai Patel

Rs 675.00

22/10/1995 to 19/9/1996

Suresh Mehta

Rs 675.00

20/9/1996 to 28/10/1997

Shankarsinh Vaghela

Rs 960.00

29/10/1997 to 04/3/1999

Dilip Parikh

Rs 690.00

05/3/1999 to 06/10/2001

Keshubhai Patel

Rs 750.00

08/10/2001 to 09/10/2012

Narendra Modi

Rs 1920.00


Narendra Modi

Rs 3000.00