Views: Maya of remorse
Many in the Modi government will tell you that the decision to seek death penalty for Maya Kodnani was merely a legal procedure. But there seems to be a great deal of political meaning in its timing, as even some BJP office bearers admit.
The resolution to appeal for Kodnani's capital punishment was taken February last, but made public only in April.
Maybe here's why -- in the last couple of days Nitish Kumar has openly protested against Narendra Modi's projection as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate and was threatening to drift apart from the NDA on this issue. Soon after this, the chorus for Advani-as-PM was revived within the BJP. And the BJP tried blaming Nitish who was Union railway minister in 2002, of not acting when the Godhra train carnage took place.
Modi may be popular and the BJP might just have him and Hindutva to bank on for 2014, but Modi still needs the BJP to nominate him as its PM candidate. He has to fight hard to convert his 'non-secular' image to secular and project himself as a 'just' ruler. There seems to be little chance till the 2014 elections of him apologising for the riots. A move like this, even if tokenish, can manipulate his image as 'fair'.
And Kodnani's case has become symbolic of Modi's 'fair' governance for the world outside Gujarat. Says a senior BJP functionary, "Everybody knows that if Modi wanted he could have saved her. Look at Amit Shah, he is back in main stream politics".
Shah was named 'mastermind' of the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter . And Kodnani was named 'kingpin' of the Naroda riot.
Both have been very popular legislators, winning from their constituencies repeatedly with huge margins.
What better moment than this to tell the world that Gujarat was the first government in India to seek death penalty for a riot convict, who was a former cabinet minister in the Modi government.
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