Gujarat’s ‘New’ Big Bang


With a bang, Tehelka came up with its sting on Gujarat riots and with a bigger bang two news channels gave it a prime time slot. Well the banging did not stop here, in fact it was just the beginning, and what followed was banging of every ones head, in order to get something out of this new big bang.

The new sting exposed the alleged involvement of the Government and the people belonging to the saffron brigade in planning and execution of the post Godhra riots. The assembly elections which followed the riots saw BJP getting a thumping majority. And now 5 years down the line when the state is again gearing up for another elections we have this big bang explosion.

As far as investing journalism is concerned Tehelka has done its job, and now the ball is in the other court. This other court mainly has two groups of people. One who will be benefiting from all this and the other who will be at a loss. Now, being the alleged mastermind of the whole riot scene, Modi appears to be the most severely affected person, but he is literally unmoved. Others are the opposition parties, which are trying to gain some of the desperately required political mileage, for putting up a show in the forthcoming Gujarat elections.

But right now the question in front of us is not whether the so called ‘mind boggling’ findings of Tehelka will adversely affect BJP or not? Because 5 years ago also everyone knew about all this and this ain’t something completely out of the blue. People have being crying a hoarse about the role of saffron brigade for the past half a decade and the credit for Modi’s spectacular win of 2002 goes to these ‘newely’ found facts only. The question right now in front of us is, will the opposition be able to gain from them or not?

5 years ago, the elections which held after the riots proved to be more than satisfactory for BJP, as from 117 seats in 1998, it moved to 125. It was owing to these riots only that BJP managed to perform above average. Modi was crowned and he became the new Hindutva poster boy. Came the year 2007 when Modi has completely undergone an image makeover. He is no longer the Hindutva poster boy and he hardly talks about the Hindutva agenda. The Modi of the year 2007 is politically more mature and has a completely new agenda of all round state development. Modi’s game plan is very clear, talk only about the achievements of the state, which are undoubtedly very magnificent. It is on this scheme that he plans to contest the forthcoming assembly polls, and going by what the exit polls says Modi is heading for a comfortable victory and another five years in the Gujarat’s chief minister’s chair.

A few years back a similar scenario was there which we all witnessed. It was during the last general elections, in which BJP and its allies lost against the popular perception and the exit polls prediction. That case was more or less very similar. BJP which gained power on a Hindutva agenda took Bharat to new heights. Except a few glitches, for 5 years their government ran smoothly. And then came the election time at which the then poster boy of Hindutva- Advani, underwent an image makeover, abandoned the Hindutva agenda, and came up with ‘India Shining’. All the exit polls at that time showed another NDA term at the centre, but against all odds Congress had the last laugh.

If the history is to be taken in view then anything is possible. But now with this new big bang, things have certainly changed. What remains to be speculated is who will be the gaining party? And going by my perception of Gujarat, if this sting gained any momentum then it will end up benefiting Modi only, and the opposition will be the only one bearing all the burnt.

There are a few things which points towards my inference. For one, Modi is a spectacular politician who knows how to swim against the tide. From past 5 years everyone is like after his life. The media is completely against him, opposition have not missed any chance of gunning him down and even many of the BJP leaders and people of saffron brigade are against him. But against all odds he continues to reign and with his arrogant attitude and shrewd intelligence he knows how to and can definitely turn things around, which he has done on numerous occasions in the past.

Secondly, what happened in Gujarat in 2002 was a dark phase in the history of Bharat. Everyone realized it and somewhere or the other everyone knew about the major role which the saffron brigade played in it. But still the Hindu voters unbiasedly voted for BJP. The same knowledge of the truth prevented Muslims, out of fear, from voting against BJP. If again the memories of 2002 haunts people, then that same fear will come into play and prevent Muslims from voting. And that same 5 year old feeling of Hindus can help BJP achieve its 150 seats target in Gujarat.

Congress has realized that defeating Modi on this ground is very unlikely, even in year 2007 and hence they do not want him to return to Hindutva agenda. This is the reason why they are not making that much amount of fuss about the sting, which is expected from a good opposition as they don’t want to be harmed from this (un)timely big bang explosion.

At the end just one thing remains to be answered, why is it that the Hindutva agenda will help BJP in some way or the other in Gujarat? Even in the year 2007, when talking rightist is considered to be very shallow and hollow in the new age Bharat.

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