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Mainstream, VOL LII, No 25, June 14, 2014

Modi’s Pronouncements and Ground Reality

Saturday 14 June 2014, by SC

EDITORIAL

Having won absolute majority in the Lok Sabha, PM Narendra Modi, while speaking on the President’s address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament, struck a non-partisan note in both Houses, promising in the Rajya Sabha to engage the States in “cooperative federalism” and assuring to take the Opposition alongwith him in this venture, whereas in the Lower House he went out of his way to embrace all groups and communities; he also said that “focused activity” for the welfare of Muslims was not “appeasement”.

These positive pronouncements notwithstanding, apprehensions continue to mount. Soon after Modi’s resounding electoral victory, the Hindu extremist elements imprisoned for their terrorist attacks on Muslims openly expressed their jubilation that “our government” had taken charge. Thereafter on June 2 Mohsin Mohammad Sadiq Shaikh, a 28-year-old Pune-based techie, was brutally bludgeoned to death in the city when he was returning home with a friend after dinner. The activists of the Hindu Rashtra Sena were reportedly enraged by derogatory postings on Facebook on Shivaji and Bal Thackeray by unknown people. As The Times of India informed,

It’s now learnt that Shaikh wasn’t attacked because he was taken to be the one who had uploaded the offensive posting, but simply because he sported a beard and was wearing a Pathan suit which marked him out as a Muslim.

Shaikh’s brother Mobin was quoted by the daily as having said that Shaikh’s friend was not attacked as “he had no beard”.

Not only that. The Times of India disclosed that the night Shaikh was killed another Muslim, Amin Harun Shaikh, had also been attacked by the same mob.

These are not isolated cases. For all the gestures to the Opposition on the part of the PM, the manner in which Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray attacked NCP leader Sharad Pawar exposed the real face of the Sangh Parivar. Pawar had, at a meeting of NCP workers, blamed the rising incidents of communal violence in Maharashtra to the ascent of Modi as the country’s PM.

Reacting to this statement Uddhav, in a signed editorial in the Sena mouthpiece Saamna, equated Pawar with Hafeez Saeed and said the NCP leader had “lost his sense of proportion” after the poll debacle.

Meanwhile the Congress-NCP Government in Maharashtra has arrested the Hindu Rashtra Sena’s “National President” Dhananjay Desai alias Bhai in connection with the techie’s murder. But the Centre is silent on the issue.

And now there is an IB report assailing foreign-funded NGOs, like Greenpeace, Cordaid, Amnesty and ActionAid, of “serving as tools for foreign policy interests of Western governments” and stalling development. Soon similar NGOs will be attacked for having firmly opposed Modi’s divisive policies in Gujarat.

Yes, “good days” have indeed come for some. But “bad days” have befallen the country at large. This is bound to become increasingly evident with the passage of time. And the yawning gulf separating Modi’s pronouncements from the ground reality will also become obvious in the days ahead.

June 12 S.C.