(It should be clear that this blog does not pass any judgment regarding the involvement of Mr Modi in the 2002 riots. It is the job of the judiciary system. This blog tries to predict the future image of Mr Modi from the recent developments involving him. The author believes that a person is innocent till his/her guilt is proved in the courts.)
Narendra Modi is a politician who polarizes the views of politically aware people to such an extent that it is very difficult to write a neutral blog on him. You can love him, hate him but can’t ignore him. He is hailed as the architect of the aggressively progressing Gujrat. On the other hand, he is alleged to be the mastermind of the 2002 Godhra riots. It is the job of the judiciary to find the truth in these allegations but it is a fact that such allegations have proved to be the blots on the otherwise unblemished political carrer of Modi.
The judgment in this case is not expected in near future, that’s for sure. But what matters is the using the situations arising during the judicial process. Such a situation arose recently and this blog tries to find out how these situations can be used.
1st a brief sum up of the recent developments. In media, report came that SIT (Special Investigation Team constituted by the Supreme Court) had summoned the Gujrat chief minister to question him regarding his alleged role in the riots. In the reports, the date of summon was 21st march. All were waiting for the day speculating the action of Modi. Media speculated that he may not appear in front of the SIT himself rather send his lawyer. 21st came and passed but Modi didn’t appear in front of SIT nor sent his lawyer. Modi was criticized for disrespecting a body constituted by SC. But the next day, Modi in an open letter to the countrymen explained that there was no summon for him to appear on the 21st. He further said in that letter that he obeys and respects law and will face the probe when SIT summons him (Read the full text of the letter here). The media were certainly red-faced when it was unearthed that the summon was valid for 1 week till the 27th march. Modi appeared on the 27th and reportedly answered all the 68 questions asked by the SIT. The questioning continued for almost 10 hours in 2 sessions.
Now, the question is how these events will affect Modi’s image. Exploiting the issue has already started. The congress and the BJP interpreted the situation in their own way. Congress focused on this point, “Shameful that a Chief Minister was questioned for his criminal connections”. BJP’s focus was on “Modi cooperated with the law even being a Chief Minister”. In the process it seems BJP more particularly Modi is ready with a game plan. Let’s see how. Modi knew he can appear infront of SIT on any day between 21st to 27th march. Though he saw faulty reports in the media about the date, he didn’t come to public. He let the media to abuse him for not appearing on 21st. And he came up with his letter on the 22nd. He turned the table on his detractors. He showed his commitment to law and cleared that he is ready to face any probe. When media reported that Modi to face SIT on the 27th, there were speculations that he may send his lawyer. But Modi appeared and again scored point against his detractors by showing his respect for law. The questioning continued for 10 hours. It gave an image that Modi is patient, wants to clear his name and more importantly cooperates with law.
In his latest blog, Modi writes,“In the last eight years, for the first time someone wanted to question me. I came in for questioning on the first date they mentioned. Those who are spreading rumours about me not answering for eight years, I ask God to give them some good sense. We should always create the right atmosphere where laws can be upheld”
Modi’s game plan is quite clear as he intelligently links himself to the pride of Gujrat. In his open letter he describes his defamation as an insult to Gujrat. Congress seems to help Modi unknowingly by boycotting Amitabh Bachchan for endorsing Gujrat. Modi sensed the opportunity and jumped in to support Bachchan. Modi called Bachchan detractors “the Taliban of untouchability”. He linked the issue with pride of Gujrat again. In his blog he writes,“They may well in future tell us not to eat even salt. They may even ban the eating of Amul butter and milk and order our young people not to wear denim jeans! And guess why? Because Gujarat produces these things”
It seems the recent events has created a postive image of Modi or at least we can say Modi used the events more in his advantage than his detractors. The image may not change overnight but some positive signs are there for Modi for his intelligence. He didn’t show any sign that he is disturbed by these events rather he looked stronger and more confident.
To check my findings, i asked many people (whom I consider to be neutral) about their views. My question to them was: How do you see the summoning and questioning of Modi by SIT?
A. a CM summoned and questioned
B. a CM cooperating with judiciary
The sample space of my survey was quite small so the credibility of my survey is doubtful. But at least it gives a sense of how people feel. Now the result of the survey. Everyone except one answered the option B. That shows that Modi has succeeded in his plan to project himself as CM as he describes it as Common Man who abides by the law. Now the real question is not what Modi really is but what Modi seems to be. Hero or Villian?