Local Leader, National Ambitions: The Curious Case of Mr Narendra Modi

Mr Prithviraj Chavan, the present incumbent to the chief minister’s seat in Maharashtra, recently received praise from an unlikely quarter. Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thakreay in the party mouthpiece “Saamana” heaped praise on Chavan for ‘adopting a broad minded approach ..for his role in the ongoing rescue operations in disaster hit Uttarakhand.’ According to him while dispatching the relief material and a large team of officials, Mr Chavan instructed them that although ‘it is meant for people from the state stranded there, other victims should not be ignored.’

It has been reported that Maharashtra has placed two helicopters at the disposal of the Uttarakhand government and extended aid of Rs. 10 crore, and it was among the first states in the country to react quickly to the disaster. It is true that many other states have also rushed forces and material to assist people who are stranded at various places and such an hour of national calamity is normally not considered a moment of exhibiting political one-upmanship.

Independent observers of the Maharashtra scene can point out that it is Uddhav Thakeray’s own way of getting even with its ally for last around two decades, who is making overtures to the other Thakeray – namely Raj and yearning to rope in MNS (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) in a ‘broad alliance’ against Congress-NCP in the coming elections. But it cannot be denied that Mr Modi has himself given him an opportunity by his ‘Rambo’ act. (as claimed by his political adversaries). It was evident in the way in which Thackeray ‘ridiculed Modi for his parochial attitude in dealing with the fallout of the disaster.’ Targeting the Gujarat chief minister, the Shiv Sena president had even a few words of advice for him and said that now Modi has been given a national role to play by his party, it is expected that he does not ‘speak in narrow terms for only Gujaratis.’ He expected that Modi’s ‘propagandists exercise restraint in future’ who had claimed that ‘15,000 people from Gujarat were rescued in a day’.

Undoubtedly, Mr Modi’s first trip outside Gujarat, after his anointment by the Sangh, has not only added egg on his face but has shown him in ‘true colours’. Forget the well cultivated halo around his ‘national’ image by his followers he is basically a regional Gujarati leader and cannot even think beyond his limited horizons.

An online petition (http://www.sacw.net/article4796.html) addressed to the chairman of the Press Council of India, ‘to enquire into the serious violation of media ethics by the Times of India group’ makes this point absolutely clear. In fact the said report (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Narendra-Modi-lands-in-Uttarakhand-flies-out-with-15000-Gujaratis/articleshow/20721118.cms) had claimed that Modi flew in Uttarakhand, went in a huddle with his crack team and then sent 15000 Gujaratis back to safety in one night. ‘Questioning this Modien feat while the ‘.Army has been able to rescue just 20000 in a week.’ it asks :

1- How did Team Modi selectively locate these Gujaratis apart from all those stranded from 27 other Indian States and 7 Union Territories?

2- Did Modi’s choppers and Boeings and luxury buses were given priority landing rights? If yes, did they choose Gujaratis over those more in need?

3- That is if Team Modi disposed all rules of rescue that define the order of evacuation- seriously sick first, followed by children and elderly, followed by women and able bodied men?

4- If the answer to the above questions is yes then this act of privileging Gujarati victims over all above is a criminal act and those responsible should be prosecuted.

Looking back , it is clear that the large team of Modi’s PR(Public relations) managers did not want that his first foray outside the state after his anointment as the likely ‘PM’ face in 2014 elections should be put to maximum use to build his image. Perhaps they did not factor in that this act would be a self goal.

As we all know very less is discussed about the US lobbying firm APCO worldwide which was appointed by Modi in August 2007 itself at a monthly cost of 25,000 US dollars which has earlier serviced clients like former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and President for life of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. ( http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/specials/Modis-image-builders-have-dictators-on-client-list/articleshow/2600140.cms?)  In its own words ‘In this dynamic and ever-changing world, Apco Worldwide stands tall as the giant of the lobbying industry. The firm, in its own words, offers “professional and rare expertise” to governments, politicians and corporations, and is always ready to help clients to sail through troubled waters in the complex world of both international and domestic affairs.’

It is possible that in his post mortem of this ‘Rambo’ act Mr Narendra Modi would try to find some ‘scapegoat’ and seek action against some of his rather ‘overenthusiastic’ PR people or can also ask the APCO people to take extra care in giving advice, but can it be said that it is the fault of the PR people only. One can point out n number of occasions in his 11 year old highly controversial career as chief minister of Gujarat, how this abrasiveness is an integral part of brand Modi. And more important has been his consistent espousal of ‘Gujarati Asmita’(Gujarati Identity). Whenever he has come under attack over his inaction/alleged connivance as head of state in the genocide of 2002, he has tried to portray it as an attack on Gujarati pride itself and projected himself as its best exponent. It need not be recounted here the 60 plus reports brought out by national and international human rights groups and concerned citizens over the developments in the year 2002 which officially saw ‘deaths of more than 1,000 innocents’ when the state decided to look the other way in the tragic developments.

It was Julius Caesar, Emperor of Rome, who is reported to have said that ‘I came I saw I conquered’ after his invasion of Britain in 55 BC. How would Modi’s critics describe his recent trip to Uttarakhand. Paraphrasing Caesar they may yell : ‘He came He saw He floundered ‘

Amen !

18 thoughts on “Local Leader, National Ambitions: The Curious Case of Mr Narendra Modi”

  1. There was a Bengali family evacuated by Shree Narendra Modi and team and they promptly mentioned it on Internet, there was a Malayali family rescued and they too promptly mentioned it on internet. I am waiting for the 15 K Gujrati’s to flood the internet with praises of Shree Narendra Modi.

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  2. Modi’s PR machinery has done a faux paus in this episode there by exposing their stupidity. Good for the nation.

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    1. Thanks kafila for sharing the truth. & why shouldn’t pr agencies promote modi afterall they are getting money of malnutrition gujratis, to propagate lies of feku.

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      1. Reminds me of a dialogue from Amir Khan’s Sarfarosh: 2 bureaucrat seniors in police dept commenting – “We never did such a blunder in any case, not that we ever handled any case”

        It’s so easy to comment out on people out there and working: Being there for three days, yes, whatever no. of people any Modi pulled out or help from non-corrupt ministers like Prithviraj, are deeply appropriated. But blame the person working stating somebody worked more.

        Article highlights ill of fast-paced development of guj. but not of Uttrakhand.

        Wanna judge yourself- observe no comments on stupid idleness of these Udhav and his ShivSainiks (good for only protests) and lack of coordination by Uttrakhand gov & center, which even motormouth HM Sindhe accepted.

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  3. Has Modi claimed that he evacuated 15000 NO it is a TOI report . He went there with his team evacuated some people (mostly from his state) has not made any claim . I do not know why you can not see anything good in that .

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  4. While al this happens chain SMS s are sent about how his actions must be marvelled at and only shows the incompetence of every one else !! I live in Ahmedabad and despair each day at what the man stands for, his brand of ethics , and his vision for the country. And worry even more that each day he gets more and more support that seems complete and committed. A lot of it from good sensible people. What does it mean ? Where are we headed ! Are we that much in despair that he seems the only saviour for a increasing majority in the country. Or am I reading this all wrong ?

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  5. The concerted “slamming” of selective governments (by TV anchors) which happen to be non-BJP must come in for severe scrutiny. Bihar is a case in point ever since JD(U) left the NDA.
    I am saying this because I feel some anchors may be on the payroll of APCO Worldwide to drum up support to Mr Modi and his party. Nitish Kumar has suddenly acquired a dirty tinge in the eyes of some Anchors.
    The other state being “slammed ” is the Uttarkhand government which needs a fair probe before it can be accused of reneging on relief. With infrastructure destroyed how does one act ? Only the army with air power could go in when roads and communication are destroyed. Yet we all lap up without question what is served on national television. The fact is there is nobody to question these anchors and hold them accountable. The NBA is a sham which needs to be probed as much as Coalgate.The media needs a careful, hard look at itself first before slamming others !

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  6. These type of incidents remind us How are we judged by our politicians. Very simple logic: Jumbojets (A380), Luxury buses can reach Dehradun, but how can they ferried people trapped at various palaces (thats only gujratis).

    Suddenly published the news of this great rescue work, unnoticed by everybody. Even the army & air force is not able to match the competency level of Modi’s Team. So Modi is better for President post as he is the supreme commander of indian forces.

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  7. I wonder how come congress leaders have been escaping such micro scanning for last 50 years. Thought I am not a staunch supporter of BJP, It pains me as an Indian that how come countless of corrupt leaders of congress and countless scams committed by them went conveniently unnoticed by all so called secular and highly intelligent journalists? or is it so that because they turned their blind eyes towards congress’s sin and hence they were recognized as a secular and learned journos?

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  8. I am too scared to vote congress due to their faulty policies and regarding Maharashtra no doubt one of the best CM but lack vision most of the time .I Dont know how the state cabinet was not able to provide relief to Drought hit marathwada and take action to curb moist activity in Red zone districts in MH. all the rational thinking human being knows that UPA is full of corrupted people .Can u answer me one simple question who the damm running the country why UPA president is taking decision and why PM is not Acting properly .

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  9. This is a good depiction of facts…Especially about APCO and Modi’s link…maybe we need to be ruled by a dictator to understand what they’re like! Go ahead India, vote Modi as the next prime minister and live to see the horrors of 21st century capitalistic dictatorship in full-swing!

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  10. On 23 June Anand Soondas had said in TOI that Modi ” he has also managed to bring home some 15,000 stranded Gujarati pilgrims.” now Abheek Barman in TOI dated 26 June says he could not have done it . Which correspondent do we believe

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  11. We are very fast in delivering our opinion. Let us do some Post mortem.

    Soondas broke this news on 23rd June, 2013. He did not attributed anyone as source of his information.

    On 27th Rajnath Singh said he spoken to Modi who said that he never said it. While giving this news in the last para it was referred to the account of Soondas that his source of information was Anil Baluni, BJP Uttarakhand Unit Spokesperson who in presence of BJP State Unit Chief Tirath Singh Rawat and some Gujarat cadre Officers who were camping in connection with the relief work to the stranded persons.

    WHAT IS AMISS IN WHOLE STORY

    Anand Soondas of TOI should have put forth this question to authorized representative of Gujrat Government or Uttarakhand Government.

    Why Soondas has not named Anil Baluni when he broke this news in TOI on 23rd June for the first time.

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  12. How many over here have seen the apology by TOI for this report? If you read the apology (buried deep in some section of TOI) you will realise that the whole story was “created” by a TOI journalist. The bjp sources used for the article did not attribute or distort any facts. And TOI mentions that. So who is to blame for this? TOI. But who ends up getting the blame? PR sources of Narendra modi and the man himself.

    Source – http://www.sify.com/news/rambo-modi-story-a-hoax-times-of-india-clarifies-news-national-nhpnFNacbje.html

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