Shining Strong and Steady
has virtually captured India's political horizon
When Gujarat Chief Minister Narinder Modi was, on September 13, anointed by the BJP President Shri Rajnath Singh as party's – and NDA's – prime ministerial candidate for 2014 elections, it was not something unexpected. People knew much earlier that ultimately he alone will emerge as BJP's Man Friday; all they had been waiting was for the formal words from the mouth of BJP President who had been hinting at it since long. The declaration has only resulted in Mr. Modi painting the country's political horizon saffron – the colour auspicious and sacred as per Indian traditions. He has now arrived on the scene, made his presence felt and effect of his leadership ominous. He left an indelible mark on the minds and hearts of the six crore citizens of his State. He worked for the welfare and development of everyone irrespective of one's caste, creed and sex. This reality ignited in the minds of people all over the country that Mr. Modi is a man of action who means business and can do wonders for the country as he did for his State.
The glow of his work and the fragrance of his achievements were so sweet and strong that it transcended the boundaries of Gujarat to regale one and all in the country. It sparked the feeling: wish they too were one among the Gujaratis. For the captains of industry, Gujarat became a pilgrimage they must undertake to get the boon of having a pride address in this vibrant State.
The news had an instant electrifying effect. The day of announcement was also the day of polling in the Delhi University Student's Union elections. Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) campaign was already centred on Modi, his portraits dominating the posters and campaign material. The results joined the chorus of crackers that were burst to hail Mr. Modi being named PM candidate. ABVP won three posts of President, Vice-president and Secretary after a long interval.
Rewari (Haryana) rally on September 15 was planned much earlier. It turned out to be one of the greatest by any non-ruling party, particularly BJP which has not much presence in the State assembly at present. It attracted about 3 lakh strong cheering crowd. "Modi was the chant, Modi the speaker and Modi the leader", English daily put it. Those present vouchsafed for "his all encompassing appeal, charisma and star power".
The 25th September Bhopal rally addressed by Mr. Modi as also Mr. L. K. Advani which besides Mr. Rajnath Singh, MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and party's top national leadership turned out to be an epoch-making one. According to media reports, more than 7 lakh people participated and a team of the Guinnese Book of Records was there to record the greatest rally.
The post-anointment opinion polls have given BJP one-up in all the four States of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi going to the polls in just another two-three months, although in Delhi it is reported to be not that much comfortable as elsewhere.
The Modi bang seems to have unnerved UPA. The day after former chief of army staff General V. K. Singh joined the Modi rally, an inquiry has been instituted by government against him obviously to browbeat the brave soldier. Further, CBI which had earlier taken the stand that it had "sufficient proof" against Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav suddenly found empty its bag of "sufficient evidence" against him in the DA case. The CBI has also become super-active in the Ishrat Jahan 'fake encounter' case to complete the assigned task before the nation goes in for Lok Sabha polls.
The daring decision by BJP chief Rajnath Singh has once again proved that BJP is a party with a difference. It has given a lie to the prophets of doom. It does possess full internal democracy where every leader and worker has a right to express his opinion freely and frankly but once the party comes to a collective conclusion it is a decision of one and all to be religiously respected. The decision on Mr. Modi has once again put a seal on this great characteristic of the party.
The Modi decision has also raised the stock of Mr. Rajnath Singh in the country. He has now come to be regarded as a man of mettle who can handle difficult situations in his stride and can weather all storms remaining steadfast in his determination. In consultation with the top leadership he took a bold decision and the timing and implementation of the strategy too was his. He came out with flying colours in the end.
The catapult of Mr. Modi from the vibrant State of Gujarat to the national scene was the process of natural evolution as he consistently achieved the highest rate of GDP growth year after year despite the fact that the State had to pass through two unanticipated great disasters: the Kutch earthquake and the 2002 riots. He made history by rebuilding the houses razed to the ground and rehabilitating in just one year the people and areas severely devastated.
He was quick to marshal the State police and the military strength to control of post-Godhara riots. Had he not acted in time the extend of carnage would have been much more heinous. It goes to his credit that hundreds of cases have been taken to their logical conclusion in courts after speedy investigations and hundreds have been punished, both high and low, irrespective of caste, creed and political affiliation. This stands in contrast to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots where more than double the number (compared to Gujarat riots) of Sikhs and Sikhs alone were butchered and that too only in Congress-ruled States. Those who were named by victims as the perpetrators of progrom against Sikhs were only Congress leaders yet none was hauled up immediately. On the contrary, they were prized and made party MPs and ministers. The bereaved families are still running pillar to post in search of justice which has eluded to more than 95 percent of families even after about 29 years.
Mr. Narendra Modi pulled Gujarat out of the debris of the two great tragedies in no time and turned it a model state of development in the country. He set the standards for others to follow. It was because of the fast growth in Gujarat and other BJP ruled States of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar when BJP was part of the alliance, etc. which recorded a much higher rate of growth than the national average. Had the performance in these States not been that spectacular, country's GDP growth rate would have been much lower. The anti-Modi elements both in Congress, UPA and the so-called 'secular' front got a hard punch when Union government's own statistics showed that minorities, particularly the Muslims, had a much higher per capita income and led a much better life in Gujarat than in non-BJP States.
Because of Mr. Modi's wonders in his home State he became a household name all over the country. The more his detractors tried to run him down, the more he bounced forward with greater force. In the end he emerged the winner.
The more his political enemies tried to block his emergence on the national scene, the more space he started getting in the media. It was the controversies that his political foes generated to raise a scare about him that made him the doyen of the common man. The country witnessed the evolution of Mr. Narendra Modi as the voice and vision of the masses. He was not being imposed by the party bosses from above; he emerged as the choice of the people. "Modi lao" became the common refrain. He earned the support even of those who had, in the past, never supported BJP.
The messengers of doom had spread the scare that if Mr. Modi were made the PM candidate, a 1996 situation will arise when no 'secular' party was forthcoming to support to Vajpayee's NDA government. But within 10 days the BJP has received warming up signals from the Telugu Desam Party, Karnataka Janta Party of BS Yedyurappa and others.