‘Majority only worried about their bread, money’

The outcome of the Gujarat elections was supposed to be a foregone conclusion. Everybody, it was said, was eager to forget the post-Godhra pogrom, which is why the Tehelka expose was given such short shrift. It was all about development and the 12 per cent growth that had been racked up in the Narendra Modi regime.

But Modi’s shamefully provocative “Shohrabuddin got what he deserved” speech shows that either some late doubts have popped up in the BJP camp. Or, equally likely, that the party finds it very hard to shake off the communal monkey; in fact it finds it rather irresistible to kiss and hug it in public to the delight of the cheap stands for a few votes more.

Activists like Arundhati Roy have bravely wondered what Modi’s victory in the 2002 elections says about our democracy. But the sociologist Dipankar Gupta provides a rational explanation in the Mail Today. Modi, he says, is joined at the hips with the Russian president Vladimir Putin who won this week despite Chechnya.

“Neither in Russia nor in Gujarat is the ordinary voter even thinking of Godhra or Chechnya respectively. This may be hard to stomach, but the unadorned fact is that the majority community everywhere is concerned more about bread on the table and money in the bank than with what happens to poor Muslims somewhere.

“The majority like an iron hand so long as it does not affect them. In other words, people think in terms of crude self-interest and not as noble citizens. Fraternity does not emerge just because it has been watered by constitutional ink.”

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