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Salil Tripathi has a great piece on Narendra Modi’s summon by the SIT. This particular bit stands out in the summary :
If Modi appears before SIT, he could say: “It was my responsibility to protect all the residents of my state. I failed. I should have defended the vulnerable; my police turned them away. For that I am sorry. I should have prevented violence; I did not. But in the eight years since, I have learnt. I have created jobs, improved social development indicators, and there hasn’t been violence. I want to atone for what happened by making Gujarat peaceful and prosperous.”
Or he could say: “I had nothing to do with the deaths. It is sad that so many people died, but Gujarati Hindus were provoked, and they reacted. I have stood against forces of terror and destabilization. Look at Gujarat today—we represent what India is capable of doing. This is a politically motivated inquiry and the people of Gujarat have re-elected me twice since 2002.”
The same applies to Modi’s fans and haters. (Detractors and defenders are noble titles; fans and haters seem apt.)
There are some basic facts that everyone — haters and fans — can and should agree on : That the Modi government failed miserably in its responsibility. If you consider maintaining law and order as the primary function of government, then it failed in its primary responsibility. Both in the Godhra incident, and the aftermath.
To the fans, two rights and a wrong don’t add up to a right. They shouldn’t, not when law is concerned. People are conditioned to judging deeds by what happens in hypothetical heavens, and they find it easy to pardon a Modi because of his post-Godhra resume and Roman Polanski for his Oscar winning films. It is also arrogant to suggest that Modi did a favour by heeding the SIT summon when he could easily find loopholes to avoid it.
The Congress has been equally immature. Vir Sanghvi nails the Congress well for sidelining Amitabh Bachchan because he agreed to be the brand ambassador of Gujarat. I am hardly a fan of the current Amitabh Bachchan, but I will concede that it is none of my business to question his views and victimize him for disagreeing with me. As much as I dislike him, Amitabh Bachchan deserves respect and he has earned every bit of it. It is sad to see the way he and his family are repeatedly being treated by the Congress administrations in the state and center.
The mention of Modi seems to bring the worst in people. Both the far-right and left-of-center voices are hardly trying to be constructive. Right now, they are only aiding their own rhetoric.
Modi says the new Act will help increase voter turnout and will take away black money and huge spending in elections. ”Until now, voters were affiliated to a candidate, caste or party. This bill gives a chance for the neutral voters to participate in the democratic process,” said Modi.
But if a person fails to do vote he or she will be served a notice and will have to furnish a valid reason within 30 days of the notice being served. If the reply is not satisfactory, he or she could be declared a defaulter.
I’m filing this post under the ‘Stuff the government does it shouldn’t be doing’ category. This idea sounds all good and noble, but the government really has no business enforcing voting. I won’t talk about liberty; instead, my reason is : the government is not your mummy-pappa to make you a good or responsible person. If you smoke, you very well know it’s consequences as a responsible adult so the government shouldn’t play moral police. Likewise, for voting. I have seen a few posts around the blogosphere welcoming this move and therein lies another fundamental problem : We do not know why a government is in place. In the guise of doing something seemingly well-intentioned, the government is now involved is much more (warranting a separate category at this blog — at the very least). It can be argued that the need for wise voting and its underlying cause — electing good representatives — will partially be eliminated if the government performs just its minimalistic functions.
There are some very famous quotes in the US presidential elections (similar to the “Maut ka Saudagar” line in Gujarat elections) :
The last minute question by Ronald Reagan in the final presidential debate during the 1980 elections : “Are you better off now than you were four years ago ?”, which went on to become a game changer that year.
The question thrown around often this time is : “Whom would you rather have dinner with ? McCain or Obama ?”
Since the answer to that was certainly not going in favor of Sen. John McCain, giving a new twist to the above question was Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (campaigning for Sen. McCain) :
Now why the #@@#@$@ would I be in a POW cell !!!!
In a completely unexpected move, the BJP has taken serious objection to the use of the word “Hindu terrorists” for the recently arrested Hindu terrorists in the Malegaon and Gujarat mosque blasts. It must be hard to accept for someone who always assumed that terrorists were born with a tattoo on their hand which said “Mera mashab ….. hai”.
Respected Mr. Sinha,
Change the words majority to minority, Hindu to Muslim, and read back the article aloud to everyone.