Why India needs Narendra Modi?

Oct 19 2008, 23:38 IST
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SummaryThe fact of the matter is that there is no better performer than Narendra Modi in Indiaís political structure. Three weeks ago, I had gone to Ahmedabad to address the YPO and I thought it would be a good opportunity to catch up with Modi.

Let me begin with a set of disclosures: I have perhaps written more articles against Modi and his handling of the post-Godhra scenario than most people have; I have called him a modern-day Hitler and have always said that Godhra shall remain an enduring blemish not just on him but on Indiaís political class. I still believe that what happened in Gujarat during the Godhra riots is something we as a nation will pay a heavy price for. But the fact is that time has moved on. As has Narendra Modi. He is not the only politician in India who has been accused of communalism. It is strange that the whole country venerates the Congress Party as the secular messiah but it was that party that presided over the riots in 1984 in which over 3,500 Sikhs died: thrice the number killed in Gujarat.

The fact of the matter is that there is no better performer than Narendra Modi in Indiaís political structure. Three weeks ago, I had gone to Ahmedabad to address the YPO and I thought it would be a good opportunity to catch up with Modi. I called him the evening before and I was given an appointment for the very day I was getting into Ahmedabad. And it was not some official meeting but instead one at his house. As frugal as the man Modi is.

And this is something that the Gandhis and Mayawatis need to learn from Modi. There were no fawning staff members; no secretaries running around; no hangers onÖjust the two of us with one servant who was there serving tea. And what was most impressive was the passion which Modi exuded. The passion for development; the passion for an invigorated Gujarat; the passion for the uplifting the living standards of the people in his state and the joy with which he recounted simple yet memorable data-points. For instance, almost all of the milk consumed in Singapore is supplied by Gujarat; or for that matter all the tomatoes that are eaten in Afghanistan are produced in Gujarat or the potatoes that Canadians gorge on are all farmed in Gujarat. But it was industry that was equally close to

his heart.

It was almost like a child, that he rushed and got a coffee table book on GIFT: the proposed Gujarat Industrial City that will come up on the banks of the Sabarmarti: something that will

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