Narendra Modi talks development, but for how long
- Rafale deal: India sign agreement with France to acquire 36 fighter jets
- Subrata Roy set to go back to Tihar jail; SC declines to extend parole
- Explained: Restricting Pakistan's access to Indus easier said than done
- MNS-affiliate sets 48-hour deadline for Pakistani artists to leave India
- BJP-BDJS alliance in Kerala on verge of collapse hints leader
So Narendra Modi has set the agenda for the December 2012 campaign. In the BJP vs Congress, Modi's BJP vs the other BJP, and UPA vs NDA game, Modi is pitching himself as the next prime ministerial candidate on a yatra that ostensibly celebrates the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.
If it was Hindutva in 2002 and Sohrabuddin Sheikh's encounter in 2007, this time Modi's message is all about development. Still, the feeling is that closer to polls, the Gujarat CM will change his tune. "What will Modi do to turn the whole scenario communal?" is the question everyone who saw him milk Sonia Gandhi's 'Maut ka Saudagar' remark in 2007 is asking.
However, Modi knows that if he has to fight for the country's top job, it will only be by selling the development mantra and making it about Gujarat-vs-India. The Google Hangout where Modi chatted up young and gushing fans from across the country (hardly any were from Gujarat) and abroad was a part of that plan. Questions were handpicked to give a platter to all his successful ventures in Gujarat, including one where the CM was asked to define secularism even as another asked him about the elusive US visa.
Although younger members of the BJP, like Dhara Trivedi, a doctor who came from Ranpur taluka in Ahmedabad district to listen to Modi at Sanand on the first day of his yatra, felt the CM was ready to step into the prime minister's shoes, there are senior members who too feel that simply talking about "Gujarat as the growth engine of India" may not give BJP the necessary leverage to win the state. Some even fear the 'India Shining' kind of disaster suffered by the NDA in 2004.
Moreover, they argue, while talking development provokes the Congress to react and bust claims, the latter has few answers for a Modi in Hindutva mode.
- In both India and Pakistan, war and peace are used to make political gains
- PM Modi’s strategy of escalation vis a vis Pak seems like a gamble, but not without calculation.
- Describing soldiers who died in Uri as martyrs does them a disservice
- Claiming Shahabuddin is irrelevant in Nitish Kumar’s Bihar sidesteps the truth
- Deendayal Upadhyaya transformed the Jana Sangh into a cadre party.
- Pakistan and India must get together to isolate the Kashmir issue