‘Why Narendra Modi will never be India’s PM’

Aditya Sinha, editor-in-chief of the Bombay newspaper DNA, in his weekly column:

“This week’s court conviction of 31 people for crimes including murder during the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat makes it clear that state Chief Minister Narendra Modi will never be prime minister of India. It would be foolish to try and channel even an iota of the prevailing anti-Congress sentiment around the country that shows no sign of abating in the foreseeable future towards this egotistical man.

“Each act by Modi demonstrates that he has no misgivings about the death of a thousand Indians during those riots; indeed he is contemptuous about making shows of generosity towards Muslims, as evidenced during his fast (an attempt to appropriate Anna Hazare’s effective anti-Congress tool) when he refused to wear a cap offered by a Muslim. Actually, what could be greater evidence than the fact that he hasn’t made the simple, no-cost political move of apologising for the post-Godhra riots?

“If Modi thinks that the lack of proof of a chain of culpability on technical grounds is going to be enough, he has another think coming. And no matter how compromised the credibility of police officer Sanjiv Bhatt may be, Modi’s government’s attempts to discredit him mirror the clumsy attempts by the Congress party to discredit Anna Hazare’s team.

“As much as Modi’s aggression and ruthlessness may appeal to that section of the Indian middle class which thinks it is high time India kicked into a higher gear, it does not appeal to most other Indians; and no one can become prime minister unless they appeal to a majority of Indians (we don’t have direct elections to the post, but even in pre- or post-poll tie-ups, regional leaders are going to think twice about hitching their fortunes to this man).

“India Inc can’t stop gushing about how Modi is the man of the future, and how he will be the one to take India to the next stage of rapid economic growth, but these are contestable claims. I wonder whether or not Gujarat, which has traditionally seen high economic activity in India, would have grown without Modi at the helm. I also wonder how many Gujarati industrialists are willing to concede that their rise and success is due to Modi….

“An apt analogy might be that Narendra Modi is the Rick Perry of Indian politics. Except that Rick Perry did not preside over the murder of nearly a thousand Texans.”

Read the full column: Why Narendra Modi will never be PM

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