Today’s Times of India [31 Aug] reports that according to a survey conducted in 28 cities of India by a Hindi news channel Narendra Modi is the favourite choice as the country’s next Prime Minister.
We all know that surveys, like most other statistics, emulate the bikini by concealing more than what they reveal. Nevertheless, I was left wondering why the people wanted Modi, of all people, as the PM. I refuse to believe that these people are against the minorities in the country whom Mr Modi can eliminate by hiring some Ms Kodnani or Mr Bajrangi who will in turn hire the goons and potential criminals of the society to do the job. I hope that these people who wish to see Mr Modi in the PM’s chair are laying their eggs in the much-vaunted development basket.
Development became the catch phrase in Gujarat after the pogrom against the Muslims there orchestrated by Mr Modi in 2002 and for which he is paying a heavy price these days. But did Mr Modi bring any real development to Gujarat?
The Times of India has also published an article [31 Aug] to show that two-thirds of Gujarat’s population, both urban and rural, have the potential to spend less than the state average. Gujarat’s state average spending potential is less than the national average in the urban areas, and not much higher in the rural sector. So what’s the development that Mr Modi brought to the state, asks the Times of India.
A couple of months back – on 23 June, to be precise – Vidya Subrahmaniam wrote an article titled ‘Counting wrongly to 2014’ in The Hindu. That article argued with much researched data that the hunger levels in Gujarat were much higher than even in UP. Gujarat’s rank among the states vis-a-vis children’s malnutrition is a miserable 13 among the 17 states surveyed: 44.6% of the state’s children under 5 are malnourished. The article also showed that Gujarat ranked behind Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu in many parameters such as per capita net domestic product, life expectancy, infant mortality and literacy.
That’s for the development that Mr Modi is supposed to have brought to his state.
The most hilarious joke is the interview that this potential PM has given to the Wall Street Journal. In the interview, Mr Modi said that the people of his state are emaciated because they are vegetarian and because they are beauty-conscious. Some of the women in Gujarat have already taken the cudgel against the potential PM for belittling them so callously. [I sincerely hope that they will give him a good thrashing. Unfortunately, they won’t; Modi is too powerful for such good things to happen.] People like me who have nothing to do with Modi bhaiyya can laugh at his jokes. But for the real Gujaratis the jokes seem to be (must be, I’d like to think) quite as cruel as the massacres he presided over a decade ago.
I wouldn’t like such a joker to be the Prime Minister of my country. I’m not an admirer of Hitler though I share my birthday with him.