Narendra Modi in fast forward
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- After denying a 'Modi wave', Joshi endorses Modi as India's next PM
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A few public meetings also heard the BJP leaders of Gujarat saying that it was about time Delhi had a Gujarati PM after Morarji Desai. But in this vision, a sense of Gujarati pride is more important in the selection of leaders than faith in them as the leaders of a nation. Desai was a social conservative, but in favour of private enterprise — perhaps like Modi, who wants a public-private partnership for every venture. But Desai also built bridges with Pakistan and was a true-blue Gandhian.
In Gujarat, Modi is seen as the leader that made minions of most ministers. Bureaucrats were assigned politician-like roles to "connect" with people through programmes like the Kanya Kelavni girl enrolment drive and Garib Kalyan Melas. One IAS officer, known as the man behind the success of the Garib Kalyan Mela, got a ticket to contest the election, and became an MLA on December 20. This "empowering" of the bureaucracy was seen as a move to reduce the levels that could lead to corruption, and connecting the government directly to the beneficiary. But Modi's resistance to the appointment of a Lokayukta in Gujarat is also well known.
The voter today is not just someone who tweets and posts praises. He also screens the man or woman he will vote for with a fine-toothed comb.
Misra is editor, Ahmedabad, firstname.lastname@example.org