From Saroj Sharma in Gandhinagar
Once hailed as the poster boy of Hindutva, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has suddenly become a fallen angel even for many within the rank and file of the BJP itself. The change of government at the Centre has obviously whetted the appetite of those who have enviously been watching Shri Modi'sgrowing clout within the state of Gujarat.
Said a Modi loyalist, “It is amazing how there was an unrest of MLAs within the party itself. And that too for no major fault other than the fact that the CM is supposed to be arrogant and inaccessible even to his party workers.” Interestingly, for a supposedly inaccessible CM, Modi met over 4,600 people in the past 75 days alone and meets over 50 MLAs on a one-to-one basis every Tuesday to discuss their problems.
Notwithstanding this, the clamour for Modi'sremoval, orchestrated by the UPA government where even the likes of Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav, himself a “tainted minister”, are demanding to “see the Godhra files”, has reached such absurd proportions that a recent threat on Modi'slife is being painted as a fake encounter in which an “innocent” girl is among the four terrorists who have been shot down by the police.
Modi'sformidable track record in terms of performance and popularity is too difficult to tarnish which is forcing the desperate Opposition to “activate its dirty tricks department.” Can anyone dispute the success of the investment melas which have been held by Modi'sgovernment under the ‘Vibrant Gujarat? theme?
State Congress leader Amarsinh Chaudhury, who has been riding high ever since the ouster of the NDA government at the Centre, is demanding a CBI inquiry into the matter. “Shouldn'tsomebody be asking him how has the death of this supposedly innocent girl, who was accompanying three dreaded terrorists, become more important than the grave threat it posed to a CM'slife,” asked a BJP worker.
Party insiders here say all out efforts are being made by the Congress to topple the state government on any flimsy pretext. “From demanding imposition of President'srule in the state which has not seen any communal violence for the past two years to accusing Modi of staging a fake encounter to win the sympathy of the people, the Congress is trying every trick in the book to get rid of our CM,” said a party worker. He went on to add that possibly the Congress was behind the dissidence within the state BJP.
According to political observers, Modi'sformidable track record in terms of performance and popularity is too difficult to tarnish which is forcing the desperate Opposition to “activate its dirty tricks department.” “Can anyone dispute the success of the investment melas which have been held by Modi‘s government under the ‘Vibrant Gujarat? theme? The fact that investment proposals worth over Rs 66,000 crores were signed shows that investors are keen to come to Gujarat. And if the Opposition is criticising us today for inflating these figures, shouldn'tthey be aware of the fact that it normally takes considerable time to convert proposals into projects?” said a senior bureaucrat in the CMO.
Neither can the Opposition dispute the fact that it is the Modi government which has given shape to the Narmada water pipeline project and the mega Sardar Sarovar project. As far as popularity ratings go, Modi'scrowdpulling power was on full display during the election campaign when thousands braved the May heat in Gujarat to go and listen to Modi. “It isn'tsurprising that now with the Congress in a commanding position at the Centre, they would like to wrest control of a state which is still a citadel of Hindutva,” said a Modi supporter.
“What they should not, however, forget, is that Narendra Modi is a fighter and a hardcore nationalist. Getting rid of him is easier said than done.” That the CM himself is undeterred by the ‘Modi hatao? campaign being conducted against him is evident from the fact that during the past few days, at the peak of anti-Modi campaign, Modi was touring farflung parts of the state to ensure speedy implementation of education programmes launched for the girl child. Spearheaded by the CM, over 200 IAS, IPS and IFS officers travelled to over 2,100 villages in the state as part of the Kanya Kelavana Rathyatra promoting the Vidyadeep scheme and the Vidyalaxmi scheme. The first scheme provides an insurance cover ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 2 lakh for every student in the state from KG (kindergarden) to PG (post graduation), while the latter scheme provides each girl child who enrolls in first standard with a Vidyalaxmi bond of Rs 1,000 in villages, which have less than 20 per cent enrolment of girl children. The bonds are given back with interest to the girl child if she continues her education till Class 7.
Further, free medical checkups are being conducted for crores of children across the state and special emphasis is also being given to teachers? enrolment to make up for the shortfall of teachers in government schools. “Modiji is concentrating all his energies on such farsighted schemes which will pay rich dividends in the long run. He seems totally unperturbed by what is going on around him to pull him down,” said a state party leader.