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MODI’S DEVELOPMENT MODEL Boon for Some, Bane for Many

Policital Jiggery Pokery

, by MOHAMMAD NAUSHAD KHAN

Development, like a tree that spreads its shadow to each and every passer-by irrespective of his/her religion, caste or any other social tag attached, in real terms, must encompass one and all. It has to be broad-based, inclusive and most importantly the benefit of development must reach the last man in the state.

The rhetoric behind Modi’s development seems to be illusionary as it is supported and propagated by his strategists determined to project his model of development. The latest Planning Commission estimates substantiate the claim that the pattern of development followed by the Gujarat government has not been uniform. As per figures available with the Planning Commission at least 42.4 per cent of the Muslims in urban Gujarat are poor as compared to national poverty ratio of 17.9 per cent in urban areas. Similarly, in rural area the percentage is 31.4 per cent as compared to overall average of 26.4 per cent for rural poverty in the state.

In 2007, Modi strongly objected at the prime minister’s 15-point programme for minorities and till date he has not implemented the Centre’s scholarship scheme for minorities. Justice Markandya Katju, chairman Press Council of India, while talking to reporters in Bhopal recently, said that the development claim in Gujarat was phoney since it had not helped the common man in anyway. He further rejected the tall claim of development, saying that malnutrition rate in Gujarat was worse than Somalia. The hoopla behind the development claim seems to be much ado about nothing. Development is a state duty and it is not expected to be guided by only ideological bindings and obligations. Development in true sense is about the indicators attached to the Human Development Index and not by token gesture for one segment or community.

Efforts are on in the BJP camp to project Gujarat development on the national stage and at the same time to draw a parallel line between Narendra Modi and Atal Behari Vajpayee. But many believe that there cannot be any perfect match because in terms of personality they stand poles apart. It becomes clear with what Ashutosh Varshney has mentioned in his article in Indian Express on 25 December. (In an interview to Dharmayug (16 January, 1993), a Hindi Magazine now defunct, Vajpayee said that no ideology is so important that one should accept the destruction of the nation for its sake. In more than 300 seats out of the 543 Lok Sabha seats Muslims are in position to play a significant role and under such circumstances how can a party choose to ignore such important political classification.

After victory in assembly elections the news of Supreme Court upholding the appointment of Lokayukta might have surprised Modi. There is perception that with strong Lokayukta in place in Gujarat the situation could have been different from what appears to be today. In its absence, Modi functioned without any friction or resistance required. If we go by the outcome of the recent elections many people have raised serious doubts. Justice Katju, in his recent interaction with reporters, said on Modi’s third consecutive win that everyone knows how polls are fought and won these days in the country.  Social activist, Shabnam Hashmi, while protesting against the role of UPA in ensuring victory of BJP in Gujarat, has resigned from all UPA government committees like Maulana Azad Education Foundation, Ministry of Minority Affairs, Central Advisory Board of Education, National Monitoring Committee for Minority Education and National Literacy Mission. 

In a statement to the media, she said, “There was a strong anti-Modi wave but suddenly everything changed between December 15 evening and 17th morning…the overnight reversal and the following victory of the communal–fascist regime was not possible without the connivance of the political party that leads the UPA.” Further she said, “If Gujarat was used as the laboratory of the hate ideology it can also be used as the laboratory of undermining the democracy in India.” 



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