Narendra Modi in fast forward
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A typical Gujarati home is known for its hospitality. If you happen to drop by one, you'll likely be offered a glass of water and tea. The pot of milky, sweet tea comes with a stack of saucers. Why waste a cup when you're going to pour the hot brew into a saucer anyway, is the logic. Just as the thrifty Gujarati won't waste a cup, he will not waste her vote.
So, nearly 71 per cent of Gujaratis over 18 years of age went to the polling booths to bring back Narendra Modi, seen by the world as a divisive leader, awarding him a third term as chief minister, well aware that this could be his launching pad to the prime ministership.
Gujarat, which has one of the largest diasporas based in the US, UK and Africa, has re-elected a chief minister who has been denied a US visa since 2005, for "violations of religious freedom" during the 2002 riots. It has brought back the same Modi whose election campaign borrowed from Barack Obama's presidential campaign in the United States, even ending with his slogan, "Forward", which Modi translated on his blog as "Aage kadam Gujarat".
But the way Gujarat votes is
not the way the rest of India votes. To fit into the shoes of a PM, Modi would have to go beyond symbolism and rhetoric.
Also, while bijli, sadak and paani are basic issues in most parts of India, villages in Gujarat have 24x7 power supply, which gives them access to information and technology, besides water, and the option of an induction cooker, if the gas bottle is out of reach.
In his victory speech, Modi called the voters his "hero" and went on to refer to them as "god", seeking their blessings so that he "does not commit any mistake in the future". An admittedly remote possibility it that he may have wished this to be understood as an expression of regret for the 2002 killings. But coming ahead of a crucial meeting of the Delhi-based ambassadors of all European Union countries, who will review their stance on Modi next month, the three-time Gujarat CM should have been more explicit.
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