Professor Dipankar Gupta, a former profesor of sociology, currently fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum, in conversation with Sheela Bhatt of rediff.com:
Sheela Bhatt: One columnist wrote that the 2009 general elections was the ‘semi-final round’ and Narendra Modi has been knocked out. Do you agree?
Dipankar Gupta: Some people are good at the regional level and some at the national level. He has done well at the regional level not because of the BJP, nor because of its ideology. What he has done is maintain Gujarat’s position as the top economic state. It was not he who put it at the top. The state has always been ahead. Modi didn’t let it slip from its position. He inherited a functioning, economically prosperous state. Gujarat was at number three and is still there.
Narendra Modi has cleverly given Gujaratis the impression that the Centre is against Gujarat and he is fighting for Gujarat. He says we pay so much tax but what do we get back? You might remember in the 1970s Jyoti Basu played the same card effectively. He said Bengal is undermined by the Centre. For 10 years he did very well on that point.
In Gujarat, Modi’s winning card was that the ‘Centre is not looking after us.’ Outside Gujarat Modi was not a crowd puller. North Indians were not impressed as much as the Gujaratis. Modi’s identity as a Gujarati is very strong. He will remain in Gujarat. He will have a strong role to play within his party and will become the BJP’s longest surviving chief minister.
I think the BJP and he himself has realised his limits. On a national scale you need to have a national presence. Vajpayee and Advani had it, but Modi is too much of a Gujarati.
Sushma Swaraj is a strong candidate, she is difficult to handle and is much tougher to fight than Modi because she is a woman. She is articulate and has an all-India image. Arun Jaitley does not have that image yet. He is still very much an organisation man.
If you are talking in terms of going out and fighting an election I think Sushma Swaraj is a better bet than Narendra Modi.”
Read the full interview: ‘Sushma Swaraj is a better bet than Modi’
Anybody in BJP is a better bet than anybody in Congress!
Recently Ms Hillary Clinton took the Pakistan establishment and Media to task, as no US leader has ever done before her. The point that she is a lady helped her cause a lot. A male conveying such frank opinion would have disrupted the US-Pak relations by now.
I agree entirely with the professor that Ms. Sushma Swaraj is an ideal choice compared to Mr. Modi. But the Million or billion dollar question is “Is BJP ever going to rule this nation?”, to which my answer would be ‘GOK’
The observation is spot on!
Sushma Swaraj is any day a far better choice for BJP than Narendra Modi. She doesn’t carry the baggage of gujarat carnage and She has impressed many people with her sincerity over the years. Her in roads in the Bellary being a case in Point.
The only black spot one can think of – if any – it is her threat to shave off her head if Sonia became the PM. That was entirely uncalled for. But, overall she is far more dignified and mature lady within BJP.
Sushma Swaraja is better than all of them in BJP… will BJP ever think of such leaders?
Yes..that’s spot-on I would say. She can be a good counter to the most possible face of Congress/UPA during next general elections ie Rahul G.
It would be a good ploy to have a woman – a sober one at that – fight the Rahul led campaign. It’s almost sure that Sonia would never become the PM candidate. So in a way it would be women voters vs youth appeal that Rahul may play on.
She is dignified and sober but for an aberration during 2004 ( the mundan threat in case of Sonia becoming PM) which was lame and churlish to say the least. As Arun Jaitley said right after the 2009 polls, shrillness repels voters and in that sense NaMo may not score heavily outside Gujarat.
But one of the chinks I can think of in her armour is the not-so-good record of Governance while she was CM of Delhi. ( on a lighter note, I also didn’t like her crusade against FTV:))
first of all, one has to see the reality of godhara. in gujarat riots is very common under congress rule and not only gujarat where minority wants to dominate majority in that case only. ( In 1984 congress was the ruling party and conress ( not hindus) killed thousands of skihs )
overall in india majority of the people are peace loving but, since 1947 congress had pampaer muslims and some of hardliners are encouraged by this kind pf pity polotics.
Anyways, about namo he is the best politician in india rightnow. under his rule in gujarat, he talks (sorry not talks but, he didi it) about development for all not only for muslims or hindus. i am proud gujarati but, first i am indian. 24 hours electricity in all of the gujarat villages not like delhi where congress is ruling party which is india’s capital where one cann’t expect electricity 24 hours without generator.
if, namo is not going to be pm then it,s not namo’s bad luck but it is loss for people. if, people wants no corruption and development for all then india don’t have any choice rightnow. under congress rule india see lots of corruption, riots, lots of slums and pollution. pollution in delhi is 12000 times more than it’s limit, where are all this congress corrupt leaders? they got millions of dollars from world bank to clean yamuna river did they do?
where are all millions of dollars?
in gujarat even opposition leader and party they never have any single case against modi for corruption.