Time to be politically incorrect again, yes; it’s become a pet peeve of sorts. So, Narendra Modi, NaMo, Voldemodi, Modi-vational, the much maligned, much championed CM of Gujarat, who at this rate will probably end up with more aliases than Lord Krishna. Now, I’m not a fan of the guy (he does give the impression of being an extremist, admittedly), although he seems to display pretty good administration and leadership skills, relatively speaking.
In all the brouhaha, past and present, two things I take issue with –
1. Genocide – I’m pretty clear on this one. The chain of events, the numbers, everything simply points to riots. Genocide is what the Nazis did, what happened in 1984 against Sikhs, what happened to Kashmiri Pandits. I’m still open to explanations though.
2. Government’s Complicity – Now, this one is a bit trickier, I admit. It may very well be true, I don’t know and no one else knows either, except Mr. Modi and those close to him. As it stands, all investigating committees and the Supreme Court have given him a clean chit. The Special Investigation Team led by Mr. Raghavan actually even mentions that Gujarat Police did everything to control the situation.
So, what does this mean? It means that people put more stock into anecdotes and journalistic media (which, by the way, is widely regarded as the most dishonest profession in the world) than the Supreme Court. I mean, sure, you have every right to do that. Believe whatever you want. The junta becomes the judge and jury on the basis of allegations. Sure, you have every right to do so, but it won’t be very wise if you act on it.
I am not trying to change anyone’s mind. I’m also confused. You have his supporters and you have his distracters. You have the journalists and local people with stories of Government’s complicity; you also have other people with rebuttals to those. What am I supposed to believe? As a rule, I never believe in anything people say unless supported by evidence, facts or at least something that hints towards a majority opinion, a la consensus (sometimes, even that’s not enough for me). We are primates after all, faulty by default, prone to lying, exaggeration and skulduggery.
On the other hand, we have our agencies and the Supreme Court that believe he is not guilty. Now, let’s not kid ourselves here – with India’s history (read non-existent) of conviction and incarceration of politicians, we can’t put our blind faith in these decisions either. This leads us to an impasse – and what I’m trying to say here, ladies and gentlemen, is that we maintain status quo.
Yes, please DO NOT vote. No, I’m not saying please do not vote for him, or do not vote against him. I’m saying do not vote at all. If you find yourself at an impasse (not sure if he’s guilty or not), stay at home when the day of voting arrives. Why? Let me explain –
1) If you vote FOR him (or the BJP), you run the risk of being party to the election of an extremist Prime Minister.
2) If you vote against him (or the BJP), you run the risk of being party to denying the country a Prime Minister with great administration and leadership qualities, again, relatively speaking.
3) If you vote for someone else (or some other party), you run the risk of giving one the advantage over another who could have made a great Prime Minister.
Let’s take Nitish Kumar (RJD) as an example. Sure, he’s also a very good administrator and a pretty affable fellow, to say the least. He still doesn’t have the charisma and the presence that Indian leaders have sorely lacked for quite a while. We need a Prime Minister who isn’t afraid of taking hard decisions, someone who doesn’t find solace in eternal cootchie-cooing with absolutely rogue neighbours. Yes, I am looking at you China, Pakistan, Bangladesh.
We need someone who speaks, speaks with heart, with conviction. Take our manifestation of a lullaby Prime Minister as an example – a koala getting up from a drunken stupor can motivate you more than Mr. Singh’s hour long speeches. Okay, that was mean, I quite like him as a person actually, but he's not a leader in any sense of the word. Now, I’m not saying Mr. Modi displays all these leadership traits in obscenely significant droves, but he does seem to have an upper hand vis-a-vis his adversaries.
Finally, both questions still loom large. What if he’s guilty, what if he’s not guilty? And that’s why it would be a disservice to the nation if you’re at an impasse and yet choose to act on it. So yeah, please do not vote at all. I realize it’s an irresponsible and cowardly thing to do, but I don’t see any other solution. Those who've made up their mind, well, you've made up your mind.