People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXVIII

No. 23

June 06, 2004

Gujarat: All Set For Modi Exit With ĎHonourí

 Baburam Likhure

 

THE cat is finally out of the bag, that the BJPís mascot Narendra Modi is autocratic, arrogant and inflicted immense harassment on the farmers. These are not the comments of those whom the BJP and Sangh Parivar leaders have long dubbed as Ďpseudo secularistsí, but the words used by the partyís legislators who now want Modi to be ousted.

 

The chief minister, who had led the BJP to a two-thirds majority in the state assembly by generating an aggressive Hindutva wave in 2002, is himself facing the heat from his partymen following the drubbing the party suffered in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

 

Though the discontentment among the BJP legislators was growing for quite some time, the boiling point came when nearly 70 of the partyís 128 MLAs assembled at a farm house last week ostensibly to attend the 75th birthday celebrations of partyís senior leader Dr A K Patel, a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat.

 

The BJP high command, which had been wishing away any dissidence against Modi, tried to underplay the gathering at the birthday bash by calling it only a social event where only one MLA vented his anger against the chief ministerís autocratic style of functioning. The former deputy minister Purshottam Solanki, a former TADA detainee based in Mumbai, told the television channels on record that Modi was like Hitler in his style of functioning.

 

Solanki, who was brought into the BJP in 1998, to stop the erosion of backward Koli vote bank, was made to withdraw his statement and apologise but the party failed to put a cap on the dissidence.

 

Several party MLAs who attended Dr A K Patelís birthday party have raised objections to the way Modi had tried to sabotage the gathering by discouraging them from attending it. The dissident sources have since revealed that the chief minister used several methods to dissuade the MLAs from going to the birthday party which finally became the focal point for anti-Modi activities, especially with more than conspicuous presence of former chief minister Keshubhai Patel who had been licking his wounds ever since he was ousted by Modi at behest of the party high command in September 2001.

 

Even a brief power cut at the birthday venue that night is being attributed to Modiís dubious ways of settling scores with the voice of dissent even within the party.

 

The BJP legislators had the real taste of Modiís arrogance when a dissident MLA was not even allowed to speak at the partyís legislature party meeting. Instead, Modiís supporters had instantly called off the meeting even as many other detractors of the chief minister insisted that the voice of dissent should at least be heard.

 

Though the dissidence has come to the fore openly only after the dissident MLA was shouted down at the legislature party meet, Modiís bete noire Keshubhai Patel was waiting in the wings for this opportunity for quite some time.

 

According to the Patel camp, the BJPís rout in the Lok Sabha polls can be directly attributed to the incidents of torture and humiliation of farmers who were agitating against the power tariff hike in the farm sector. Precisely for this reason the farmersí ire was turned against the BJP with even the Sangh Parivar constituent Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) not coming to rescue the party in the polls, an analyst owing allegiance to Keshubhai has said.

 

Moreover, Modiís showmanship in spending crores of rupees on traditional festivals did not go down well with the rural people, his arrogance in dealing with the government employees in the state and also the excessive use of foul language over Sonia Gandhiís foreign origin issue have alienated many sections of the people, the analyst said.

 

It is not that any one among the BJP leadership in Gujarat or Delhi may be unaware of these factors that led to the partyís near rout in the recent Lok Sabha polls, but the party high command only seems to be buying time for an opportune moment to shift Modi out of Gujarat in a manner that does not look ignominious to the rightist forcesí Hindutva icon. Having heard almost all the state leaders on the issues revolving around Modiís conduct, the party high command is reportedly busy in arranging a suitable slot where the mascot of aggressive Hindutva can be Ďhonourablyí accommodated. (INN)