Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Just one question: Is this balanced reporting?

Selections from some of the articles written by N.Ram, Harish Khare and Vidya S on Modi and Gujarat elections.

24th Dec : The Hindu : Opinion / Editorials : Modi’s triumph, Congress debacle : N.Ram
Chief Minister Narendra Modi, way and ahead India’s most controversial and divisive political figure.
It had no answer to the Modi campaign, which did launch itself with a
focus on ‘development and governance’ but quickly transited to shrill
and shriller communalism, the culmination of which would be a
demagogic, if implicit, defence of the police killing of Sohrabuddin
Some spirited campaign remarks aimed at ‘merchants of fear and death’
by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and at Hindutva extremism and
communal politics by Digvijay Singh, which ironically attracted the
displeasure of the Election Commission of India, ...
Damagingly for the secular image of the Congress, and, as it turned
out, for the credibility of its electoral politics, discredited
elements of the Sangh parivar that had fallen out with Mr. Modi were
allowed to join its campaign.
... formidable campaigners and ‘doers’ like Mr. Modi must be fought
ideologically, in a principled and sustained manner, before they can be
taken on electorally.

24th Dec: The Hindu : Opinion / News Analysis : The road beyond the Gujarat victory : Khare
Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s “maut ke saudagar” (merchants of death) metaphor was intended to offer the Gujarat electorate a clear cut choice between an uncompromising secular vision and an equally unsentimental divisive Hindu vote-bank strategy. Mr. Modi’s victory only shows that the message did not register with the Gujarat voters who obviously remain frozen in the 2002 memories. Mr. Modi managed to successfully list the Gujaratis’ empathy in his manufactured standoff between “Gujarat” and the outsiders. However, the Sunday win does not necessarily endow any kind of ideological legitimacy to Mr. Modi’s voice nor does it provide a licence to communal forces or even political respectability to his message outside of Gujarat.

23rd Dec: The Hindu : Opinion / News Analysis : Waiting for the Gujarat verdict : Vidya
Predictably, the means were more foul than fair, with him transiting from development to shrill and shriller sectarianism, scaling the peak with the Sohrabuddin speech
An army of ferocious supporters and the Modi masks they wore. The picture they produced was scary and intendedly so
Ms Gandhi had labelled all Gujaratis “merchants of death,” he
thundered, just as Digvijay Singh earlier had likened all Gujaratis to
terrorists. (The Congress general secretary had called the perpetrators
of the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom terrorists).
The men in uniform would underestimate Mr. Modi’s rallies and
overestimate Ms Gandhi’s rallies. At one of Ms Gandhi’s rallies in
north Gujarat, two eager policemen had lifted me on to a chair to show
the “two lakh” crowd. At Mr. Modi’s meeting in Umreth in central
Gujarat, policemen emphasised that only 3,000 people had turned up to
hear the Chief Minister as against a ground capacity of one lakh. At a
market place in Anand, I found two policemen on a motorbike, returning
from another of Mr. Modi’s rallies. “Kitna bheed? (how many people?)” I
asked. They whizzed past me shouting “zero,” making a circle with the
thumb and the forefinger to underscore the point. (One among these men
would later phone me and tell me not to believe the exit polls, saying,
“Hitler and Goebbels are losing.”)

In the same league as the embittered policemen were teachers and the
lower Gujarat bureaucracy, all of whom complained of harassment by Mr.
... together with the frustration evident in the saffron camp and the Modi
administration, pointed to the possibility of a BJP defeat.
Suffice it to say that if the Congress cannot win this election, it
will forfeit its right to fight another election in Gujarat. There will
never again be circumstances as favourable to the party as in 2007 —
with arithmetic on its side and help coming from least expected
It requires no wisdom to see just what such a victory will do to the cult of Modi.

15th Dec: The Hindu : Opinion / News Analysis : Modi versus the rest in Gujarat : Vidya
Gujarat election 2007 is tailor-made for the Congress.
The Congress had arithmetic and Sonia Gandhi on its side. The BJP
seemed under siege, with the party structure, the larger sangh family,
and the State machinery all in an adversarial relationship with
Narendra Modi. There was also a veritable army of rebels against the
As if this were not enough, lately Narendrabhai had also whipped up a
frenzy on the campaign trail, making it difficult to tell which element
would win: The Congress’ arithmetic advantage or Mr. Modi’s incitement
to revenge.
The caste equation favours it. Indeed, should a section of Leuva Patels
vote Congress, the party will have pulled off a KHAM (Kshtriya,
Harijan, Adivasi, Muslim)–Patel combination, unseen in the history of
Gujarat. Sections of the RSS and the VHP are indirectly supporting it.
The police seem to be with the Congress and against the BJP. As many as
50 BJP rebels are in the fray, many of them strong in their
constituencies. Teachers are angry, bureaucrats are unhappy. It just
cannot get any better for the Grand Old Party.

14th Dec: The Hindu : Opinion / Leader Page Articles : An ideological family in ferment : Vidya
Mr. Modi took Mr. Advani’s metaphorical rath to its inevitable, logical destination — to Gujarat and to the anti-Muslim pogrom of 2002. The conflagration brought Mr. Modi unprecedented popularity in Gujarat even as it damaged him nationally and internationally.
The Sangh parachuted him into Ahmedabad knowing his taste for
communal politics. Today, he has grown into a Frankenstein’s Monster
that it cannot control.
The Gujarat Chief Minister has his own agenda — be it marketing
himself as the development man to win national and international
approval or reverting to virulent Hindutva for the purpose of winning
this election. He has tasted power and adulation and he will not do as

11th Dec: The Hindu : Opinion / News Analysis : BJP’s fundamentals have become loose : Khare
The 2007 Gujarat election is witnessing a very different standoff.The sangh parivar stands divided and the Congress is giving signsof having recovered some of its verve.
Never before in the history of Gujarat has the BJP faced the election
with so open and so bitter a split within the sangh parivar as in 2007.
More than the split within the sangh parivar, it is the alienation of the Patel community that will impact the 2007 battle.
More than the Patels it is the division in the ranks of the Kolis,
another powerful community, that would work to the BJP’s disadvantage
for the first time in more than two decades.
First, the BJP this time will be hard-pressed to use its time-tested rigging techniques.
Secondly, compared to the 2002 vote this time the minorities’ vote will be crucial.
Unless there is a ‘big incident,’ it could be touch and go.

10th Dec : The Hindu : Opinion / Editorials : Will communalism work again? : N.Ram
After promising to seek re-election on a development platform, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is back to doing what he is best at — stoking up communal sentiments as a political mobilisation strategy.
Election analysts are suggesting not merely that the Gujarat contest
has tightened but that the popular mood has turned against the BJP
because, among other things, Mr. Modi’s attempt to shut out ‘normal
issues’ and make the Hindu-Muslim divide the dominant, if not the sole,
election issue has failed. What the Gujarat strongman is seeking to do
is to convert the ECI’s show cause notice to him into communal capital.

8th Dec: The Hindu : Opinion / News Analysis : Behind the sparkle in Gujarat : Vidya
For all its outward swagger, the Modi campaign is really quite nervous, as is evident from the desperate resort to communalism.
the Congress has arithmetic on its side.
But one thing is certain. Tribals and Dalits are done with the BJP. In
a State where tribals account for 14.8 per cent and Dalits another
seven per cent, the significance of this hardly needs stressing. In
addition, the Congress can count on the support of a section of the
Kolis, estimated at 22 per cent, and Leuva Patels, the largest
sub-group of the roughly 16-18 per cent upper caste Patel community.
7th Dec : The Hindu : Opinion / News Analysis : A tale of two rallies : Vidya
Narendra Modi is a brilliant orator with an adoring fan following. But it is Sonia Gandhi who is drawing the big crowds, not to mention the appreciation of the police in Gujarat.
In the audience were Adivasis and Dalits who had voted for the BJP in
2002 but who now seemed to want to return to the party they had
deserted, impelled by the communal frenzy of the Godhra aftermath.
Also consider this: policemen on bandobast duty at Mr. Modi’s meeting in Mahua spoke about parivartan
(change). They estimated the crowd strength at 6,000 when it was about
10,000. At Ms. Gandhi’s Idar rally, policemen lifted me off my feet to
show me the mammoth turnout. I disputed their contention that the crowd
size was over two lakh. My estimate was 70,000. To prove that I was
wrong and they were right, they lifted me on to a chair: “Ben, dekho
(sister, see for yourself).” Did the crowds mean anything, I asked.
“Yes, parivartan,” one of the cops whispered conspiratorially.

6th Dec : The Hindu : Opinion / News Analysis : Stake-holders and their opportunities : Khare
The 2007 vote represents an opportunity for various sections of Gujarat to break free of Narendra Modi’s psychological blackmail.
Because the electorate anointed Mr. Modi the victor, he got to write
the history of the 2002 mayhem. In that narrative, Muslims deserved
what they got. He has managed to keep Hindus frozen in that moment of
triumphalism, complicity, non-remorse, and non-reconciliation. Now,
2007 presents an opportunity for Hindus to break out of this five-year
long psychological blackmail.

Ironically, it is the BJP that should be looking creatively at using
the 2007 election as an opportunity to exorcise what is fast becoming
the Modi albatross.
Mr. Modi has become the Sanjay Gandhi of the BJP, relying on a clever
mix of intimidation, coercion and individualism to manufacture a
constituency for himself, over and above the party and its national
He has made others hostage to his
brand of ugly politics.
The economy remains 99 per cent outside the reach of the Muslim
consumer, and there is very little that the alienated Muslims can do to
All industrial tycoons who pretend in private to have been humiliated now have an opportunity to rectify the state of affairs.
Mr. Modi can thrive only on a state of permanent hostility between Hindus and Muslims
Five more years of Mr. Modi can only perpetuate this state of instigated civil war.


Anonymous said...

Since Chindu lives in its own make-believe world where pseudo-secularism thrives and Hindus are hated, we can help convince the Chief that Modi indeed lost (not BJP, as Modi and BJP are two different entities) the 2007 assembly election.

The rationale being:

1) Modi did not win all the seats. He got only 117 seats in an assembly of 182.
2) In fact, Modi got much less (10 seats) than what he could get in 2002.
3) Modi's share of vote is only 49.4% (as against the massive 39.6 % for Congress).
4) Keshubhai Patel, Suresh Mehta and so many other senior BJP leaders did not support Modi (they have become secular as they are against Modi).
5) When counting started on 23rd Dec., Modi was either trailing behind Congress or Congress was neck and neck with him (depending upon which channel you watched), in the initial hours. So, he was defeated in the initial trends.
6) Vidyaben has already stated that Sonia G attracted more crowds than Modi could manage in spite of his incumbency advantage(attestation provided by Gujarat govt. babus exclusively to Vidyaben).
7) Secular media, NGOs, BJP rebels and other jolawallahs had already declared that Modi was defeated. Nothing could change this reality.
8) USA and some European countries have previously refused visa to Modi (yet another clear and conclusive sign of his defeat).
9) To prove that he could win, Modi should contest another and separate election where only the minorities will vote.
10) What you see is only a Modi imposter. The real Modi is a monster bigger than the entire Gujarat state (and perhaps does not exist at all).

Anonymous said...

Good comment by this anon. After the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, Chindu was screaming over the crushing blow to the BJP when, infact, the numbers for the Congress and BJP were not much different.

Anonymous said...

I hope the reader's editor reads this blog and these comments. Vidyaben is a proven liar. I would be interested to know what percentage of tribals voted for BJP, as she had claimed with certainty that tribals are done with BJP.