Pivotal Elections in Gujarat

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Perhaps no state in India provokes as much political hysteria as Gujarat. Its December 2012 assembly elections will also have significant implications for national politics.
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Perhaps no state in India provokes as much political hysteria as Gujarat, which is in the process of holding elections for the 182 members of its state assembly. In a Q&A, Milan Vaishnav analyzes what is at stake in the election ahead of the announcement of the results on December 20.

Vaishnav argues that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appears likely to win its third consecutive election in the state, although it faces newfound opposition from its traditional core supporters. The controversial and ambitious BJP Chief Minister Narendra Modi will likely use his election victory as a springboard to national politics, but this could prove to be a double-edged sword for the party in parliamentary elections expected in 2014. 

What is at stake in this election?

Since 2002, Gujarat has been ruled by the firm hand of Narendra Modi of the BJP, the national party espousing an ideology of Hindutva (Hindu-ness) that led the country from 1998–2004 and that currently serves as the primary opposition party in New Delhi. Modi is one of India’s most divisive political figures—celebrated by many for generating economic growth and attracting private investment to his state and detested by others as the worst manifestation of Hindu chauvinism in India for his controversial role in the horrific violence against Muslims in the state in 2002. The outcome of the 2012 election will help determine whether Modi can parlay his success in Gujarat into a more prominent position on the national stage in advance of 2014 parliamentary elections.

What are the dynamics going into this election and who are the major players?

The BJP has ruled Gujarat continuously since 1995 with the Congress serving as the primary opposition party. Yet the election scenario is a little different now than it was in 2007. A traditional two-party contest has become a three-way battle with the establishment of the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP), led by former BJP chief minister Keshubhai Patel. Modi was instrumental in ousting Patel from the position of chief minister in 2001 and, in so doing, managed to get himself installed as Patel’s successor. Patel has never forgiven Modi and his allies in the BJP hierarchy, but, until recently, this conflict was kept under wraps. This year, the rivalry between the two factions boiled over with Patel formally launching the GPP, his own breakaway party. Patel is seen as very close to the organizations that comprise the Sangh Parivar, the family of Hindu Nationalist organizations affiliated with the BJP, with which Modi has had a troubled relationship in recent years.

Modi is himself a product of the Sangh Parivar. Before joining electoral politics, he was deeply involved with the influential Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a prominent Hindu nationalist volunteer organization, serving as a key pracharak (propagandist). Despite Modi’s Hindutva credentials, the Sangh Parivar bridles at the chief minister’s independence and his inclination to shine a spotlight on himself as an individual rather than the “movement” as a whole. Over the past decade, Modi has been ruthless in sidelining potential political rivals or alternative power centers before they accumulate too much power in Gujarat. As a result, at the local level, there is a widespread perception that many of Sangh Parivar’s rank and file are campaigning on behalf of the GPP rather than the BJP.

The impact of the so-called Keshubhai factor is difficult to ascertain. It will most likely be confined largely to the sub-region known as Saurashtra in western Gujarat, where the Leuva Patels (the Hindu caste community to which Keshubhai Patel belongs) reside in large numbers. Analysts expect the GPP will win between five and seven seats with the possibility of significantly affecting the result in another ten seats or so (turning two-way contests into three-way ones). In this context and with several additional candidates from smaller parties or running as independents, the winner in a first-past-the-post electoral system can get by with 25–30 percent of the vote—making electoral predictions very difficult.

For the Congress Party, which dominated state politics before 1995, it looks as though the struggles in Gujarat will continue. It faces shortcomings on several fronts. First, Congress has struggled to project an effective leader with statewide appeal. Its most recognizable Gujarati leader, Ahmed Patel, resides in Delhi, where he is a member of parliament and doubles as one of the Congress leadership’s top political troubleshooters. Second, the party apparatus in the state is badly fragmented, as amply demonstrated by the numerous defections the party suffered in the run-up to the election. The most significant of these was the defection by former Congress Party deputy chief minister Narhari Amin, who resigned from Congress after being denied a party ticket and was promptly inducted into the BJP by Modi himself in a very public rally one week before voting began. Amin’s defection was less significant for its direct impact—Amin himself had lost his last two electoral campaigns in the state in 2002 and 2007—than for its indirect impact on the party’s image and morale among the party rank and file. Furthermore, despite his lack of recent electoral success, Amin remains popular among the Leuva Patel community, which the BJP desperately needs to win over if it is to successfully blunt the impact of the GPP.

What is the situation like on the ground in Gujarat?

First and foremost, when I was in Gujarat recently I was struck by the personalization of politics that has taken place during Modi’s tenure. This is truly difficult to overstate. The BJP’s election campaign in the state has focused overwhelmingly on Modi the person rather than the party as a whole, with Modi himself encouraging voters to consider his personal contributions to the state. Modi’s public relations campaign in the run-up to the elections was impressive and very professionally executed. From the billboards on the side of the road to the print and television ads to the creation of a 24/7 Narendra Modi television station, Modi’s campaign is perhaps the closest approximation that I’ve seen to a U.S.-style election campaign in India. The icing on the cake was Modi’s 3-D technology to create “virtual” rallies at which his hologram image was simultaneously broadcast to 52 rallies across the state.

Given Modi’s decade-long hold on power and his perceived autocratic tendencies, loyalty to Modi the man is pervasive throughout the state apparatus—from the courts to the police to the elite levels of the bureaucracy. This provides Modi and, by extension, the BJP with an additional tool with which they can counter political opposition. Modi is perhaps the starkest example of an overconcentration of power witnessed across Indian state capitals, whether it is with the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa, or Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal.

I was also struck by the status of the Muslim minority, particularly in Ahmedabad where I spent much of my time. Muslims make up roughly 9 percent of the state’s population and predominantly live in urban areas. In Ahmedabad, the segregation of Muslims is palpable. On the outskirts of the city, there is a Muslim ghetto called Juhapura, which is home to more than a quarter-million Muslim residents and is often referred to by locals as “Little Pakistan.” When locals travel from Juhapura to other sections of the city, they joke about “crossing the border,” as if one were actually leaving Pakistan for India. The area began to see an influx of Muslim residents following the 1985 communal riots, and that inflow picked up pace after the 2002 pogroms. I spoke to Hindu and Muslims living in the city who told me that Muslims were simply not eligible for flats in most housing societies across the city. This spatial segregation, which is an emerging phenomenon in recent decades, is now commonly accepted as the “ways things are.” 

How confident are Narendra Modi and the BJP heading into elections? 

There are clear indications that Modi himself is feeling much less confident about the outcome than in previous elections. First, beginning in late 2011, Modi launched a series of Sadbhavana(goodwill) fasts meant to promote communal harmony and usher in a period of reconciliation with the minority Muslim community. Despite several months of holding fasts across the state and employing rhetoric about reconciliation, the BJP did not give a single party ticket to a Muslim candidate in the 2012 elections—in line with the precedent in the 2002 and 2007 elections. The reason, quite simply, is that Modi feels threatened by the GPP, which provides an alternative for many on the Hindu right who previously had nowhere else to turn.

A second sign of Modi’s insecurity is his decision to renominate a very large percentage of incumbent members of the legislative assembly (MLA) from the BJP, a departure from 2007 when he axed roughly 40 percent of MLAs in a bid to avoid “anti-incumbency” sentiment and punish party members who he deemed were “underperforming.” Political analysts speculated that Modi decided not to repeat this apparently successful maneuver in 2012, contrary to his political instinct, because he could not tolerate unhappy members of his party breaking ranks with the BJP or defecting to the GPP.

A final sign of insecurity stems from Modi’s response to a politically savvy announcement by the Congress Party in Gujarat. In August, the Congress announced a scheme called Ghar nu Gharby which Gujarati women (and their families) would be eligible to avail themselves of low-cost housing should the Congress come to power in the forthcoming elections. Women across the state besieged Congress Party offices seeking beneficiary forms despite the fact that the scheme would only come into effect if Congress won the election.

The response to Congress’s ploy caught Modi off guard when he was already feeling vulnerable on social-development issues—especially since the Gujarat Housing Board, a state-run body, had not launched a single low-cost housing scheme in a decade. Compelled to respond, Modi quietly secured special budgetary allocation of Rs. 1,600 crore ($290 million) and launched a low-cost housing scheme in which below-poverty-line households would receive Rs. 45,000 ($820) toward the cost of new home construction. Because of tight restrictions around elections, Modi ensured that eligible households were identified, individual bank accounts were established where necessary using the local government machinery, and families received their first transfer of Rs. 21,000 ($380) before the election “model code of conduct” came into force. To directly counter the Congress push, the chief minister focused his efforts on the tribal areas of Gujarat, which are traditional Congress Party strongholds.

What has Narendra Modi’s legacy been in Gujarat?

The question of Modi’s legacy is a highly contentious issue, both inside his home state and beyond. Modi has campaigned vigorously on his economic record. Data confirms that Gujarat has enjoyed one of the highest rates of GDP growth of any state over the last decade: between 2001 and 2010, Gujarat’s GDP grew at 8.2 percent a year, the fourth-fastest-growing state. In the ten years since 2001, per capita income in Gujarat has tripled. Detractors argue that Gujarat has always been one of India’s more prosperous states, owing to its vast coastline and international trading links, its peoples’ entrepreneurial spirit, and favorable initial conditions related to education and literacy (dating back to the colonial era). While it is difficult to disentangle the contribution of Modi himself to Gujarat’s overall economic success story, clearly he deserves some credit for maintaining (if not elevating) Gujarat’s economic dynamism. After all, sustaining rapid economic growth for ten years is no small matter.

Having said that, critics also point out that Gujarat under Modi has not fared as well on social development as it has on economic growth. This criticism appears entirely valid: it is certainly the case that Modi has relied on a strategy of trickle-down growth in Gujarat to benefit the poor rather than using the state apparatus to aggressively promote a social-welfare agenda. There are few signs that Modi’s pro-growth agenda has been inclusive, at least in any meaningful sense. For instance, Gujarat ranks eighteenth among Indian states in terms of literacy, and it performs poorly on mortality indicators and malnutrition.

Finally, communal relations between Hindus and Muslims remain strained, to put it mildly. Modi is fond of remarking that in the ten years since the pogroms against Muslims in 2002, there has been no communal tension between the two religious groups. Yet this seems to be more because the spirit of Gujarat’s Muslims was broken after 2002 than the result of any sincere process of reconciliation. 

Criminality is widespread in Indian electoral politics. Is this an issue in Gujarat?

Criminality is an issue in Gujarati politics, although it tends not to get the same attention as in the “Hindi” belt states of north India, such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The dynamics of criminality in politics are quite deep-rooted, and there are at least three strands one can identify. First, in several pockets of Saurashtra, one finds notable politicians who also represent powerful local criminal syndicates. These politicians essentially represent protection rackets for a variety of licit and illicit industries—whether in fisheries, the diamond business, limestone mining, or the smuggling of goods in and out of coastal ports. The second strand is linked to the illicit liquor trade, which has traditionally been a lucrative business since Gujarat is a dry state. The industry has tight political connections given smugglers’ need for political protection from the police and bureaucracy. In recent years, the liquor racket has ceded some degree of preeminence to a third criminal nexus: the builder racket—that is, entities involved in real estate and construction that have formed an alliance with powerful local politicians. The builder racket has links with criminality not merely in terms of corruption but also because many builders and speculators require “muscle” to conduct forcible evictions, grab land, and coerce landholders reluctant to part with prime land holdings. Each of these strands is also intimately linked with channeling illicit money into electoral campaigns, an issue that provides the greatest amount of heartburn to election authorities in the state.

What would be the broader implications of a Modi victory for national politics?

Almost everyone expects that if Modi is triumphant for a third time in Gujarat, he will stake his claim to the BJP’s prime ministerial candidacy for the 2014 general elections. For his part, Modi has never been shy about his desire to play a larger role in Indian politics. From traveling to China (against the wishes of the BJP high command), to touting Gujarat’s “efficient governance” as a model for the country and wading into important national debates with aplomb, Modi has long harbored ambitions to play a leading part on the national stage 

There is a great deal of speculation about the number of seats Modi needs to win in order to make the transition to Delhi, with many people arguing that he needs to match, if not surpass, his 117-seat vote total in 2007. Short of a scenario in which he barely cobbles together a majority in the assembly, Modi will have a fairly strong case vis-à-vis the party’s high command to project him as their candidate in 2014. The problem with the BJP, as it is currently structured, is that it boasts a multitude of leaders in Delhi—many of whom covet the top job yet few of whom appear to be prime ministerial material. Despite Modi’s liabilities, of which there are many, he is a wily politician with national name recognition and an impressive resume.

However, Modi will forever be linked to the terrible atrocities against Muslims that took place on his watch. While no court of law has ever found him guilty of directing these attacks, many scholars and observers highlight his administration’s sins of omission, and individuals close to him have either been indicted or found guilty of sins of commission as well. If Modi makes the jump to the national stage, many expect that well-regarded Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his Janata Dal (United) party will abandon their electoral alliance with the BJP, which currently governs Bihar—a state that is home to more than 90 million Indians and, thus, has a good deal of political clout. Kumar has repeatedly sent signals that he intends to take such a step if Modi becomes the BJP’s national candidate (indeed, in the 2010 Bihar state elections, Kumar adamantly opposed the idea of Modi campaigning there on behalf of BJP candidates). Modi’s perceived anti-Muslim proclivities would also damage the BJP’s chances of allying with other pivotal regional parties that express frustration with the ruling Congress Party. Many of these parties tout their “secular” credentials and would have a difficult time making nice with a Modi-led BJP. If the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance fragments in this way, it could jeopardize the BJP’s prospects of leading a coalition to power in national elections. 

Furthermore, there are other forces within the BJP that would bristle at the idea of Modi as the party’s future candidate for prime minister. Many within the Sangh Parivar have reservations about Modi and his cult of personality. These organizations do not necessarily have a credible political alternative to support, but reduced enthusiasm among their rank-and-file would likely dampen the BJP’s mobilization efforts. As for other key BJP leaders, much was made about recent comments by the BJP’s Sushma Swaraj, the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament), who stated that Modi was prime ministerial material. Although the press framed this as an endorsement, it was more likely a strategic calculation by Swaraj: if Modi wins, she remains relevant, and if Modi loses, she did not ruffle any feathers among his supporters. 

End of document

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Comments (26)

  • Aire
    1 Recommend
    I would have liked the author to offer new perspective. For example, how Modi has successfully sidelined caste calculations or How he has made being 'pro-entrepreneurship/pro-business' an acceptable political stance in a society dominated solely by Nehruvian/leftist intellectuals. Similar things have been regurgitated by the elite-english media in India who have linkages to Congress Party.

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  • Anjaan
    1. Modi's popularity is huge, and not confined to Gujarat alone, despite media villification linking him to the riot that followed burning of train load of Hindu pilgrims at Godhra by Muslims.
    2. However, since there is little chance of BJP forming Govt. on its own, Modi will not be a success as a PM, as he will not be allowed the freedom by the alliance partners.
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    • Swami Vivekananda replies...
      Arindam Chaudhuri, management guru and honorary director IIPM: I asked my colleagues to note down the reasons why Secular English journalists hate the crime manager of Gujarat.

      I could not but help Bangla expletives escape my mouth when they gave this LONG list.

      I swiftly batted it away - just like a completely shameless Modi and his brainless Hindu devotees.

      The Muslim genocide produced a sense of national crisis; much of it was heinous and brutal (for women and children); and it proceeded with the full knowledge, support, and complicity of the Hindu State.

      Worse, these mass murderers have been re-elected to power thrice in the Failed Hindu State since then.

      The Failed Hindu State of Gujarat is shorthand for many cataclysmic events.

      The burning of the train; the 58 dead; the 2,000 that followed. It is also a reminder of damages beyond that brute horror.

      A signboard of what can happen when the certitudes of a democracy fail: when ‘action and reaction’ come to replace the simple human idea of ‘right and wrong’; when an elected leader fans hatred rather than curbs it; when police officers get punished for saving lives and rewarded for looking away; when public prosecutors are selected to help the accused get off; when the judiciary itself becomes blind; when political opposition capitulates.

      And an entire community is hived off from the fabric of a plural nation and told they can never expect justice.

      This shameful episode should not be airbrushed from history.
    • Swami Vivekananda replies...
      The Hindu State continues to live in a chamber of horrors, unable to exorcise the ghosts of the genocide.

      There has neither been retributive justice nor any form of reconciliation. The Failed State is unique in that the ruling establishment has, for the last 10 years, obstructed justice at every turn. To begin with, in hundreds of cases, the Hindu Police, by refusing to file FIRs, prevented the cases from reaching the judiciary.

      Let alone the colossal failure of the justice delivery system on account of which the guilty have not been punished, there is also no attempt at reconciliation between the two communities. Prior to 2002, the discrimination and hatred towards the Muslims was covert. There was the pretense of civility, the veneer of civilized interaction. Even that’s gone and the gloves are now off. The hate and the discrimination are now in-your-face. Today, the Muslims of Gujarat are socially, politically and economically marginalized. A fascist Hindu middle class is leading the assault with their insidious, toxic right-wing thinking.

      Marginalizing Muslims and creating a permanent rift between communities is a barely disguised Hindu State policy. The Failed State has enacted a law with the clear intention of isolating and segregating Muslims in ghettos.

      If the nightmares of the genocide were not bad enough, the Muslims have had to cope with severe marginalization.

      Thousands of families have been hounded out of the Hindu State, and they have moved with just the clothes on their back to areas such as Mumbra in Maharashtra. Access to education, employment, housing and other fundamental needs is becoming increasingly difficult.

      Over the past decade the Hindu State has become more polarized than ever before.

      What is worse is that there are few rays of optimism – there is only a sense of helplessness.

      Narendra Modi, 27 Sep 2012: My constitution says that the country must be secular, political parties must be secular, leaders must be secular.

      Narendra Modi, 13 Jan 2013: Gujarat has a lot to show and give to the world.

      We want people to come to Gujarat, to see Gujarat.
    • Swami Vivekananda replies...
      Gujarat with a 9% Muslim population has 10% Muslim personnel in its police stations. No other state matches this figure.

      If this is not proof of inclusive governance, what is?

      The three main components of the Hindu Executive - the Police, the Executive Magistracy, and the Auxillary services - tasked to maintain law and order, became promoters of statelessness and mobocracy, by intentionally creating an ambience facilitating extensive anti-Muslim crimes and subversion of the Criminal Justice System, through micro level manipulation of the Station House Officers and Investigating Officers of genocide related cases.

      In contrast, to the performance of those in the Legislature and the Executive segments of the Government, is the awe-inspiring role of the Judiciary. With certain exceptions in the lower judiciary, other judicial functionaries have repeatedly alerted the Hindu Investigating Agencies – Gujarat Police, CBI, and SIT about the direction of probe on genocide cases to be pursued.

      The Hindu State Government, arrogantly audacious about its ill-conceived strength and power from electoral victory, constantly misguided and influenced the Investigation Agencies to deviate from the straight and narrow path for securing the political interests of the Government.

      The genocide is an instance of democratically elected Hindu Government practicing mobocracy by playing upon emotions of Gujarati Hindus.

      Fake encounters are illustrative of mafiacracy in the police.

      Every fundamental institution that underpins the idea of a democratic and civil society has been subverted: the police, the judiciary and the political.

      Everybody seems unperturbed by the fact that Gujarat is a Failed Hindu State.

      Is Hindu Gujarat no longer a part of India?

      Doesn't the same Constitution apply?

      The Failed Hindu State has disowned the Indian Constitution and the state apparatus has adjusted to the change.
    • Swami Vivekananda replies...
      In Naroda Patiya, Gujarati Hindus poured petrol in the mouth of a six-year-old Muslim. Then they lighted it to fragment the child into pieces.

      While they were doing this they used to shout Jai Shri Ram.

      When Hindus are taking the name of lord Ram, they should at least introspect and feel this is wrong. But there is no response from Hindu religious buffoons.

      There are Gujarati Hindus who object sales of eggs but they saw nothing wrong with a six-year-old Muslim being fragmented.

      Gujarati Hindus have little shame for their barbarity and no remorse.

      This is why they are subhuman.

      Such gruesome accounts of Muslims being battered and burnt to death proliferate on social networking sites.

      These accounts are the most effective recruitment factor in al-Qaeda’s drive to bring into its fold not just Arabs, North Africans, Bangladeshis, and Pakistanis, but Indian Muslims as well.

      It has led to growing Indian recruitment into al-Qaeda and its regional affiliates, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Indian Mujahideen. The depraved Gujarati Hindus are the main reason for Jundal to take up terrorism against India.

      Their anger is against the anti-Muslim criminal justice system.

      That is why Indian Muslims - despite being 10% of World's Muslims - have not gone to Afghanistan or Kashmir.

      Anand Mahindra: Today people are talking about China model of development in Gujarat but day is not far when people will talk about Gujarat model of growth in China.

      Ron Sommers, US India Business Council: Progress of Gujarat is stunning. It has set a new benchmark not only in India but across other countries.
    • Swami Vivekananda replies...
      David Headley, surveyed targets for the 26/11 attacks: We were told that it was not just okay to kill others, it was actually an act of worship — it needed to be done to avenge the wrongdoings against Muslims.

      The LeT established this primarily by showing us very gory and violent movies about atrocities against Muslims.

      One of those movies was on Babu Bajrangi PATEL, leader of Bajrang Dal, and atrocities in Gujarat.

      He had been caught on a hidden camera saying that he didn’t mind if he was hanged, but before he was, he wanted to be given a couple of days so he could go and kill as many Muslims as he could.

      Despite overwhelming evidence, the Hindu Gujarat state and the Hindu Indian government did not act against him.

      My hatred for and rage at India increased manifold.

      Bajrangi had given a blow-by-blow account of how his arrest by the police was stage-managed by the crime manager to pacify the media outrage over his prolonged disappearance.

      He told me that after the Naroda massacre, the crime manager kept him in hiding for months at a state guesthouse at Mount Abu.

      He told me that the police manipulated evidence to show his presence at a hospital, away from the crime scene.

      Babu Bajrangi: The crime manager got me out of jail.

      He changed the judges thrice.

      The 4th judge, Akshay Mehta, did not even look at the file.

      We were all out.

      Bajrangi was caught on camera sharing blood-curdling details of what he described as a massacre that had the local government’s tacit approval.

      In the video, he admitted to having raped several women in Naroda.

      Bajrangi – butcher of Naroda Patiya – slashed the pregnant Kausar Banu to death. He then used a sword to kill and lift the unborn child, proclaiming that he felt like Maharana Pratap.

      The brutality on women, particularly the use of trishuls on their private parts, for rapes and killings will forever remain embedded in our consciousness.
    • Swami Vivekananda replies...
      Madhu Purnima Kishwar, Prof CSDS: The most unforgivable crime attributed to Modi is that he orchestrated the “ethnic cleansing” of Muslims in 2002.

      The crime manager’s crimes go beyond composing the genocide.

      The Gujararti Hindu mass murderer is the only suspect in the murder of Haren Pandya - a senior minister in his 2002 cabinet.

      Haren had testified that on the night of 27 Feb 2002, the mass murderer instructed senior Gujarati Hindu police officers and bureaucrats to participate in the genocide.


      Sohrabuddin Anwarhussain Sheikh knew about Haren's murderers. He and his wife Kauser Bee were murdered on 26 Nov 2005.

      He was dubbed to be associated with LeT and Pakistan's ISI, with plans to assassinate the Hindu sher.

      Tulsi Prajapati was the lone witness of Sohrabuddin-Kauser murder. He knew about the connivance of senior Gujararti Hindu police officers, bureaucrats and politicians in the murder.

      He was murdered on 26 Dec 2006.

      These innocent Muslims were butchered in cold blood. But their Hindu butchers claim the police shot them in self-defense.

      The Hindu crime manager calls it ‘desh bhakti’ (devotion to the nation).
    • Swami Vivekananda replies...
      Fake encounters are also executed to create

      1) persona of a Hindu sher who is not only capable of teaching Muslims a lesson, but also under constant threat from Muslims, and

      2) sympathy/support for the sher for his unprecedented “brave action” to project/protect Hindu honour/image.

      The narrative is that after the thumping win in the 2002 state election Muslims had come to execute the sher.

      The message was that roots of Islamic terrorism had entered Gujarat and that only the sher can save the Hindus.

      Sameer Khan was arrested on 27 Sep 2002, and killed in Hindu police firing on 22 Oct 2002: he was dubbed to be a dreaded Pakistan-trained JeM terrorist who had been conspiring to kill the sher, BJP BUFFOON LK Advani and Hindu terrorist Praveen Togadia (VHP leader).

      22-year-old Sadiq Jamal Mehtar was brutally murdered on 13 Jan 2003: he was dubbed to be Dawood Ibrahim’s right hand man and a LeT militant, on his way to execute the sher.

      On 15 Jun 2004, 19-year-old student Ishrat Jehan Raza along with three others were butchered in cold blood by 21 Gujarati Hindu encounter specialists.

      The Hindu butchers described her as a dreaded terrorist who left her Thane home on 12 June 2004 along with Ghulam Sheikh and two Pakistani nationals (whose identities were never established) to execute the the sher.

      Hindu stan is a predatory state that Indian Muslims fear.
    • Swami Vivekananda replies...
      Fear is pervasive in the Hindu state. This politics of fear has been epitomised by fake encounters in which the victims targeted the Hindu sher.

      As a result, the failed Hindu state, ludicrously applauded as a role model for governance, has a record number of senior Hindu cops and BJP members — including former members of government — behind bars or on bail.

      Gujarat is a Hindu terrorist state.

      And the sher is a Hindu terrorist.

      Narendra Modi, 9 Oct 2012: No chief minister in Gujarat has faced the attacks, that I am facing for the past 11 years.

      Let them harass me more, depraved Gujarati Hindus will reciprocate with their love.

      Narendra Modi, 11 Oct 2012: In the last eight years Congress has treated Gujarat like an enemy state. They have treated Gujarat in a way what is also not expected for an enemy nation.

      The central agencies are being used against Gujarat.

      Narendra Modi, 26 Sep 2012: The CBI and not the Congress is contesting the state assembly polls against me.

      An inept and feckless Congress has hindered a public hanging of the Hindu mass murderer.
  • Bharat Ghodadra,
    1 Recommend
    world will be surprized to watch Gujarat Assembly results on 20th December.
    Peoples verdict will be known to all.Let deseving win & rule with peace,prosperity & harmony
    Those,who still join Ostrich club & not read the writings on wall-May almighty bless them!!!!
    Jai Jai Garvi GUJARAT.JAI HIND
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    • Swami Vivekananda replies...
      A fascist political party proclaims its worship of the people, romanticises the idea of community and culture (asmita), is deeply conservative about the rights and responsibilities of individuals, has young men that threaten or carry out acts of violence, bows before an all-powerful leader, and practices politics as if it were theater.

      The horrific gang rapes and mass murders of Muslims in 2002, accompanied by arson attacks on everything owned by them or associated with them including places of worship, qualifies as a Muslim genocide.

      The continuing ghettoisation and persecution of Muslims, the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators, and the absence of remorse among Gujarati Hindus are all indicators of fascism as a mass movement.

      Prominent industrialists hailing Modi as a future prime minister and Amitabh Bachchan acting as brand ambassador for Modi’s Gujarat indicate that certain sections of the elite favor fascism.

      It is repulsive to note large-scale complicity in the crimes and perversion of the course of justice on the part of Gujarati Hindus.

      Both in acting as storm-troopers engaged in arson, rape and murder, and in voting for the Modi regime in three subsequent elections.

      Gujarati Hindu gladiators (like all Hindus, brave in a mob) went after Gujarati Muslims, their children and their women.

      The power of the state participated.

      Across cities of Gujarat, large Gujarati Hindu audiences watched, often cheering. They have little shame for what they have done and no remorse.

      Gujarati Hindus like to think they are great nationalists.

      It doesn’t occur to them that India suffers every time they triumphantly keep memories of the genocide alive, by backing the mass murderer who micro-managed it.

      By re-electing Modi, Gujarat has re-elected a mass murderer whose world reputation is synonymous with fomenting a genocide.

      The victory of Modi, particularly after the recent court verdicts, is a huge black mark for Gujarati Hindus.
    • Swami Vivekananda replies...
      Can the fact that Modi a popular leader in Gujarat, who wins one election after another, be considered a reflection of a society which imbibes violence – in implicit or explicit forms?

      What does it say about their moral fabric?

      Does the situation appear worse than it is or we are yet to even realize the full impact of it?

      Since Gujarati Hindus have re-elected Modi after being confronted with visual proof of what he stands for, it displays their fallen nature.

      It displays the bankruptcy of their emotions and the poverty of their conscience.

      Recovering Gujarat from its urban middle class Hindus will not be easy.

      These Gujarati Hindus have found in militant religious nationalism a new self-respect and a new virtual identity as a martial community, the way Bengali babus, Maharashtrian Brahmins and Kashmiri Muslims at different times have sought salvation in violence. They have smelt blood, for they do not have to do the killings but can plan, finance and coordinate them with impunity. The actual killers are the lowest of the low, mostly tribals and Dalits.

      These Hindus control the media and education, which have become hate factories.

      And they receive spirited support from most NRIs who, at a safe distance from India, can afford to be more nationalist, bloodthirsty, and irresponsible.

      ‘Gujarati middle class is strongly behind Modi’
      By Akshaya Mishra | First Post, 8 Nov 2012

      The modified Modi
      By Shiv Visvanathan | Asian Age, 29 Nov 2012
  • Madhusudan Vaishnav
    In my opinion ,the analysis of election scenario vis a vis Narendra Modi done is very apt. Further, 2002 riots are pursued more as a issue by Modi's opponents , in absence of real positive agenda points to counter Modi. Also whenever 2002 episode is brought out , by Modi' s opponents or media, the death of 56 persons in rail coach S-6 near Godhara is ignored ! Whether one agrees or not, Gujarat is peaceful state and many non- Gujaratis serving a tenure in govt/ private establishments have acquired homes in various cities/ towns of Gujarat with a plan to settle down peacefully after retirement ! They also consider that school / college studies are satisfactory for their chidden and grand children ! Some families are even keen to get a Gujarati dulha/ wife for their kins ! Thus no more proof is necessary to prove that Gujarat under Modi is livable for all !
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  • PBS
    Good read. Few issues though:
    1. It is not clear that how much author is aware of Gujarat's history. It is important because it has a huge influence on communal disharmony(?) within the state.
    2.Calling 'riots' a 'pogrom' exposures author's lack of research. Your perspective dilutes facts.
    3. As someone already mentioned earlier, author did not touch upon cast equation, or rather,Modi's zealous effort to get rid of that equation in favor of working for 60 M Gujaratis. "growth for all and appeasement to none" is not mere a slogan but says much more about India in general and divisive politics in particular.
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  • Anjaan
    I hope to live, to see the day, when the American lawmakers would eat humble pie and roll out red carpet for Narendra Modi ..... Jai Hind ..... !
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  • Bharat Ghodadra-GUJARAT--INDIA
    Gujarat voter has prooved maturity again.He has prooved that he is above politics,caste & creed divisive tactics,Religious bias or short term lolipops!!!!!
    22 out of 33 Muslim dominated seats have been won by BJP.
    Saushrastra has not succoumbed to caste or regional bias.
    Original congress leaders have not been able to retain their own seat-How can they support & strengthen the party???It is left in hands of ex BJP-RSS strongman!!!!!!
    GPP is almost non existent.Only nuisance value of spoiling votes of both major parties!!!!!!
    Peace,social security & progress are key words.If U sincerely try to work,people are ready to forgive & forget.Gujarati voter whetherRrich businessmen ,Govt servant or retired pensioner, or poor worker,rural or urban,Hindu or MuslimPatel-Brahmin or Bania,SC-ST or OBC .Senior Citizen,Youth ,Male or Female-is very mature & will be influenced by only one thing-Live,do ur business & let others live peacefully.
    Forget bad dreams of past & try to build modern Gujarat-India of our dreams for next generations to come.Winning an election or forming a government will be remembered for sometime only.When history will be written,we must be proud .we have inherited wonderful land with sacrifice of our forefathers.We should do value addition & hand over to future generations for which they can be proud of
    Jai Jai Garvi Gujarat.Jai Bharat.
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  • Swami Vivekananda
    This article: Muslims were simply not eligible for flats in most housing societies across the city.

    Nida Yamin and Shwetambera found an apartment near the Vastrapur Lake in Ahmedabad. When Nida negotiated the rent, the apartment owner found her voice so sweet that she gave her a discount.

    They were ready to move in. A few hours later Nida received a call.

    The owner's tone had completely changed. She asked Nida about non-veg; they had already discussed that and Nida agreed not to eat/cook non-veg in the apartment.

    But then she said, 'What is your caste?' I was a bit taken back. I said I am a Muslim. That is when she said 'I wont be able to give you the flat because building people will make a problem.'

    Asking a stranger her caste and religion in the first meeting is acceptable in Gujarat. ‘Tame keva? (what are you?)’ rarely evokes embarrassment.

    In earlier times, if the recipient of this question was discovered to be a Muslim, the conversation would either reach an impasse or take on a more formal tone. Prejudice was profound but latent; a semblance of guilt in expressing anti-Muslim prejudice existed.

    The difference then and now is the expression of this prejudice. In these 10 years of peace the guilt has disappeared.

    Muslim hatred is completely acceptable today, for many continue their rant against Muslims even when they are talking to one.

    The residential divide in Ahmedabad is religious and has little to do with food habits; non-veg non-Muslims are not refused housing in the city's upmarket Hindu-dominated western areas.

    I am a Muslim living in a posh 'Hindu-only' area of western Ahmedabad; I am married to an Indian Jew. I hide my identity as long as I can help it, even from my domestic help. What if she spreads the word. My parents having been refused houses in western Ahmedabad in the past, this fear is not completely irrational.
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  • Swami Vivekananda
    Fathers and brothers, farmers and traders, who were normally law abiding citizens had turned overnight rapists and molesters with impunity.

    The act was largely supported by Hindu women and elders who believed there was nothing amiss for Muslim women to be raped/molested/murdered, as it was rightly done to avenge the crimes against Hindu women in 14th, 15th and god knows how many centuries, as a skewed historical narrative became popular narrative.

    Though they are 90% of the population, the Gujarati Hindus believe they are under siege from Muslims. This is an old theme and any debate on communal violence in Gujarat will begin with the sack of Somnath in 1000 AD.

    Muslims have the image of being perpetually aggressive and Hindus are given the image of perpetual victims.

    Gujarati Hindus have a deep sense of grievance against Muslims for historical reasons, back to Mahmud of Ghazni’s attacks on Somnath. Over the decades, Gujarati Hindu’s distrust of Muslims grew.

    Modi played on this to consolidate his political hold on Gujarat and enhance his personal appeal as a ‘Hindu’ leader.

    When it comes to their own social proclivities, the Gujarati Hindu is anti-Muslim.

    The Hindu has “outsourced” the handling of this sentiment to Modi. And Modi is smart enough to build on this.

    The Gujarati Hindu was seduced by Hindutva long before Modi. He has ruled a state whose population shares his party’s dislike of Muslims.

    Demagoguery comes with a natural ease in such circumstances.

    Hinudtva is always present in Gujarati society and one has to do little to keep it alive.

    Polarization is so deep in Gujarat that a secular and middle-of-the-road party stands no chance.
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  • Swami Vivekananda
    Narendra Modi’s official biography claims that it was his administrative acumen, clear vision and integrity of character that won him the elections in Dec 2002.

    What happened in 1990 to turn what was a Congress state into a solid BJP one? Ayodhya.

    Muslims are 10% of the population. For 20 years, Gujarati Hindus have voted against a 10% minority.

    Shameful, but true.

    Before Modi was para-dropped from Delhi in Oct 2001, BJP was staring at defeat.

    All that changed on this day 10 years ago. The BJP rode back to power, high on the saffron wave that swept the state through Muslim genocide.

    It has never looked back since.

    Before 2002 BJP was badly losing all elections from Zilla Panchayat to Assembly by-elections and it was feared BJP would certainly loose 2002 assembly elections.

    It was this unprecedented genocide that enabled BJP to win elections by forgetting all the frauds and scandals which had rocked Gujarat in previous years.

    A study of pattern of voting showed that wherever genocide took place on large scale BJP won with great margins and wherever genocide did not take place either BJP lost or won with very narrow margin.

    It clearly shows why and by whom genocide was organized.

    True to the spirit of Saffronism, and the avowed political ideology of BJP, vast majority of its elected leaders had abetted and remote controlled the genocide.

    Most of the ruling party legislators, who associated and aided the rioters, were reelected in the subsequent election to the Assembly and Lok Sabha, thanks to the magic of Saffronization, inadequacy of vision and political maturity of Gujarati Hindus.

    Gujarat police stood by as Saffrons slaughtered Muslims, in massacres that were an election-year ploy by Gujarat State officials to garner votes. Mothers were skewered, children set afire and fathers hacked to pieces.

    Modi let his streets be choked with blood and won election overwhelmingly.

    Mayors in the United States are thrown out when too much snow clogs streets.
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    • Swami Vivekananda replies...
      Gujarati Hindus ran genocide for weeks and the Gujarat State, at the very least, allowed this brutal “majority principle” to play out.

      And yet, the administration that oversaw the genocide is still in office, democratically re-elected.

      What transpires in the Failed Hindu State of Gujarat severely tests the universalistic idea of Indian nationhood.

      The genocide, which triggered off the ghastly memories of Nazi concentration camps, was translated into a mandate for Modi to rule the Hindu state for yet another five years.

      In elections Modi ran an inflammatory campaign - littered with anti-Muslim innuendo - that won a clear mandate from Gujararti Hindus, even as thousands of Muslims displaced by the violence continued to suffer in ghettos in the state.

      Religious polarization following the genocide was central to Modi’s electoral fortunes a few months later.

      Modi came to power in Oct 2001 and soon thereafter thanked Gujarati Hindus by playing the role he did during the genocide.

      This was good political strategy and he got the desired results.

      Three consecutive terms as Crime Manager [CM] (not Chief Minister) of Failed Hindu State of Gujarat.
  • Swami Vivekananda
    The verdicts - convicting Maya Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi PATEL and 30 others - could not be a more timely reminder that Gujarat’s government has a genocidal communal face.

    Will they undermine the career of Narendra Modi as he tries for national leadership?

    Narendra Modi, 8 Oct 2012: I warn Congress, I warn Delhi 'sultanate' that those days are gone when you would take Gujarat for a ride.

    I dare Manmohan Singh to come and have competition with me.

    Narendra Modi, 9 Oct 2012: No chief minister in Gujarat has faced the attacks, that I am facing for the past 11 years.

    Let them harass me more, Gujarati Hindus will reciprocate with their love.

    Narendra Modi, 11 Oct 2012: In 2012 election BJP will register a spectacular win in Gujarat.

    Narendra Modi, 29 Sep 2012: I have faced ten elections of various kinds in my state. 

    My local popularity proves genocide to be politically irrelevant.

    The depraved Gujarati Hindus always supported genocide. This question has no use.

    When asked about the genocide, Modi batted away the question and spoke about his popularity and gains to Gujarati Hindus.

    The only problem with Modi is he is marketing himself too hard, making his ambitions too obvious.

    It raises the obvious question: is he desperate to conceal something uncomfortable? Perhaps yes.

    No one believes that the accusations against Modi are unfounded.

    That’s why the savages repeatedly vote for Modi.

    That’s also why Modi is trying so hard to distract the attention of the country to his state’s economic progress – a claim that is completely unfounded. 
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    • Swami Vivekananda replies...
      Developmental Amnesia

      Top US-based scholar says, present Gujarat’s “economic successes” were conceived well before Modi

      The development story is an insidious cover: the credibility that Modi has acquired among Gujarati Hindus is for executing the genocide and in extra-judicial killings of Muslims, not for engineering a spectacular model of economic development.

      The butcher's minister for women and child development is in jail for murdering women and children. His minister for home is forbidden from returning home because he might influence the police. His anti-terrorism chief is in jail for murder and blackmail.

      Does this bother the depraved Gujarati Hindus? Not really, and this will not be an issue in the elections.

      Being exposed so thoroughly would have meant shame and flight for the crime manager in another state. Here, it is a demonstration of his credentials. In no other state of India is this possible.

      He is the lion of BARBARIC Gujarati Hindus because the state participated in the genocide. Mohandas would have gone on a fast in the center of the city and shamed it into stopping the genocide.

      The mass murderer sits on top of an anti-Muslim consensus. He is popular for showing Muslims their place. 

      The depraved Gujarati Hindus subscribes to the BJP’s anti-Muslim message in full. 

      In Saffron Gujarat, “secular” means “pro-minority” and “anti-Hindu”.

      Those who think Modi is popular because he has brought great economic change to Gujarat know little about Gujarat and nothing about subhuman Gujarati Hindus.

      Those who call Gujarat the RSS’s “laboratory for Hindutva” don’t understand who the teacher is and who the student is.
    • Swami Vivekananda replies...
      In 2007, Sonia Gandhi made the tactical mistake of describing Modi as a 'Merchant of Death', a statement the barbarian turned on its head  as a compliment to the barbaric Gujarati Hindus.

      In 2007 Congress tried to play the mass murderer card with the slogan ‘Merchant of death’.

      It did not work. 

      It won’t work in 2012 either.

      A minister in the butcher’s cabinet has been convicted of the slaughter of over 90 Muslims. Another minister has just come out of jail and is again contesting, despite serious criminal charges.

      Remarkably, Sonia Gandhi has not raised any of this in her two campaign rallies in Gujarat, though these are very recent developments.

      The reason for her reticence in bringing up such things is that she is being advised that Gujarati Hindus are communal by nature and talk of such activity will only send them further towards the butcher.

      Aseem Shukla, co-founder of the Hindu American Foundation: It is telling that at Ground Zero in Gujarat, Modi's culpability in the aftermath of the Godhra train arson is a non sequitur during election season.

      Sonia Gandhi nor any Gujarat Congress party worker, even in the heat of the campaign, ever once recalled 2002, as the issue is dormant for Gujaratis.

      http://www.outlookindia.com/taghome2.aspx?tag=103279&name=Gujarat: Godhra 2002
  • Swami Vivekananda
    After 58 Hindu pilgrims were killed in a train fire set by Muslims, mobs butchered nearly 1,000 people, most of them Muslims and among them many women and children.

    The 2002 Gujarat genocide was caused when a mob of Muslims burned a traincar full of Hindu pilgrims - which could have frankly happened in any other state in India with exactly the same results.

    Arson And Murder

    Sabarmati Express left Godhra railway station on 27 Feb 2002 at 7.48 am.

    It was soon stopped by chain-pulling to enable some young men on the platform to get into the train, which was again stopped a kilometer ahead at Singal Falia.

    The cause of the fire in coach S-6 was inside the coach, before the second stop.

    A slew of contemporaneous records should suffice to dispel any theory of the fire starting after the second stop.

    The Ahmedabad based Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) proved that coach S-6 was set afire from inside.

    The FSL report has ruled out the possibility that coach S-6 was set on fire from outside by a mob.

    The report states that, "no inflammable fluid had been thrown inside from outside the coach". It also rejects the possibility that any inflammable liquid was thrown through the door of the bogie.

    The report concludes that around 60 liters of inflammable liquid was thrown by someone standing between the coach and the northern side door of the coach.

    The fire in coach S-6 originated in the coach itself without any external input.

    The coach was set afire by someone standing in the passage of the compartment near seat number 72, using a container with a wide opening about 60 liters of inflammable liquid has been poured and then a fire has been started in the coach.

    Saffrons had been cooking in coach S-6 at the time it caught fire.

    The fire in coach S-6 originated in the coach itself without any external input.
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    • Swami Vivekananda replies...
      The fire broke out either because of short circuit or burst of a stow or gas cylinder which probably some saffron was carrying.

      It was probably the rubber vestibule between the two coaches that caught fire and caused the smoke. Since the doors and windows were shut, this may have led to a sharp depletion in oxygen levels.

      What caused this fire is still a mystery.

      What is clear is that in all likelihood Muslim mobs outside Godhra station did not rush to the train and torch it as the police chargesheet would have us believe.

      The fire in the coach that killed 59 in Godhra was accidental and not premeditated.

      How Did The Wagon Burn?

      The fire inside the train was an accident.

      The Coach, The Bogey

      The Bogey Fires

      Godhra: Feb 27, 2002

      Fuel For The Lantern

      How It Happened

      The attack was blamed on a Muslim mob.

      Two government inquiries failed to confirm this allegation, and last year those accused of committing the atrocity were acquitted for lack of evidence.

      Four official reports and at least three non-official reports have rejected the thesis of a conspiracy behind the fire incident.

      Only the Nanavati Commission and the recent special court judgement have intriguingly opted for the theory.

      Two years on, the police cannot offer a credible account of how coach S-6 caught fire. They are clueless about what flammable substance caused the death and destruction that morning.

      And their description of the events simply does not square with the evidence that is accumulating before the Nanavati Commission of Inquiry.
Source http://carnegieendowment.org/2012/12/17/pivotal-elections-in-gujarat/hvd1

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