The most heartening news I have read in a long, long time is the front page report in the Times of India on December 3, 2010 bearing caption “S.I.T. CLEARS MODI OF WILFULLY ALLOWING POST-GODHRA RIOTS – Finds No Substantial Evidence”
In my sixty years of political life I have not known any colleague of mine so consistently, so sustainedly and so viciously maligned by opponents as Narendra Modi. Ironically, during the same period as this calumny campaign against Modi has been at its peak, the Gujarat C.M. has been a recipient of fulsome compliments and kudos from within the country as well as abroad for making Gujarat’s a leading government in so far as the state’s all-round development is concerned, and a kind of a role model for the country in so far as good and honest governance is concerned.
Those who have been part of the demonising campaign against Modi have based their attack on one allegation. After the brutal attack at Godhra on a train returning from Ayodhya in which 58 kar sewaks were burned to death, riots broke out in some parts of Gujarat, and that Modi deliberately allowed the rioters to run rampage.
On April 27, 2009 the Supreme Court received a petition filed by Ms. Zakia Jafri seeking an FIR against Modi. The court appointed a Special Investigation Team headed by former CBI Director R.K.Raghavan to investigate Jafri’s complaint.
Ms. Jafri’s charge against Modi read: “The constitutionally elected head of the state and responsible for fundamental rights, right to life and property of all citizens regardless of caste, community and gender, is alleged to be architect of a criminal conspiracy to subvert constitutional governance and the rule of law; unleash unlawful and illegal practices during the mass carnage and thereafter protecting the accused who played direct as well as indirect role and abetted commission of the crime.”
The Raghavan team investigated the allegations for nearly twenty months. In the course of their investigations the SIT interrogated Narendra Modi personally, and early last week submitted its report to the apex court.
The Times of India and several other papers have reported that the SIT has found no evidence to substantiate the charge and has exonerated the Gujarat Chief Minister. The country is eagerly awaiting the full text of the SIT report to the Supreme Court.
The result of the Lok Sabha elections of 1977 held in the wake of the nineteen – month Emergency which brought democracy to the brink of extinction gave immense relief to the country. Those of us who were part of the poll campaign could easily sense the electorate’s anger against the Congress Party.
So when the counting of votes took place and the outcome was announced, no one was surprised that the Congress Party lost the polls. But the dimensions of its defeat, particularly in North India, was a surprise for everyone – for both the Congress as well as the opposition. For the Congress Party, the result was a stunning shock. Not only because this was the first time since independence that the Congress Party had been ousted from the Central Government but also because in several important states like U.P., Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi, the Congress had failed to get a single Lok Sabha seat.
Similarly last week, no one was surprised that the JD(U)- BJP alliance led by Nitish Kumar won hands down in the Bihar Assembly elections outcome last week. But what amazed all was that even while the most optimistic assessments about the victory margin were that the NDA alliance would get a two third majority (Shekhar Gupta, a senior New Delhi editor, who was part of a high level news team which went around the State shortly before the last round of polling told me so), the final results were that the Nitish-Sushil combination secured 216 out of 243 seats, which meant 8/9th of the Assembly’s total strength!
I hold that the good governance and development work that the NDA alliance gave to Bihar in the five years under Nitish Kumar secured for it a renewed mandate. But the real reason for the extraordinary victory won by us – with JD(U) winning 115 out of 141 seats it contested, and BJP winning 91 out of 102 seats it contested – was the preceding fifteen years of jungle raj. During the poll campaign Congress speakers kept blaming Laloo and RJD for these 15 years, but the fact is that for a substantial part of this period, Congress was part of the RJD Government. It was the contrast actually experienced by the people between the RJD -Congress tenure and JD(U) -BJP tenure which conferred on the NDA such a wonderful landslide.
5th Dec, 2010