Here’s more indication that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is shedding his Hindutva hawk image and trying to broadbase his appeal across communities. In the second letter issued to the people of Gujarat today, on the eve of his three-day fast, he said communalism and casteism never did any good to any society.
Modi, who has been accused of playing a dubious role in the Gujarat riots of 2002, finds the events of the year an impediment to his bigger political ambition. The negative perception around him makes him unacceptable even to the NDA allies despite his impressive achievements as an administrator and chief minister.
He is out to make amends. And he is in a hurry. In the first letter issued two days ago, he had stressed repeatedly on unity, harmony and brotherhood. This time he goes further. The tone of the second letter is still more sober.
"In the history of the country, it has been witnessed that poison of casteism and communal frenzy have never helped anybody. Gujarat has understood this. Rising above such perversions of social and national life, Gujarat has chosen the road of progress,’’ he wrote.
He said as the chief minister of the state "pain of anybody in the state is my pain. (Delivering) Justice to everyone is the duty of the state."
He even admitted to his possible failing as an individual. It is a clear climb down from his tough posturing on all issues.
"No state, society or individual can claim to be perfect. I am grateful to all those who pointed out my genuine mistakes during last 10 years. I seek your blessings to serve the people with devotion free from all human shortcomings," he said.
He also said that the earthquake of 2001 and the communal riots in 2002 were the worst days for the state.
"Gujarat has come out of those dark days and is progressing on the path of development. The later atmosphere of peace, unity, harmony and brotherhood has fuelled the growth of Gujarat," he added.
The letter from Modi
My dear Brothers and Sisters!
Today, I begin my 3-days fast of Sadbhavna Mission with your blessings and good wishes. This Mission is totally dedicated to the society and the Nation. It aims at Unity, Harmony and Brotherhood among all.
Twenty first century did not begin well for Gujarat. In 2001, the devastating earthquake on our Republic day, took a very heavy toll. In the subsequent year, Gujarat became the victim of communal violence. We lost innocent lives, suffered devastation of property and endured lot of pain. One can visualize what all we have gone through.
Those were very difficult and trying days. However, Gujarat has come out of these difficulties and leapfrogged on the path of development. Today, Gujarat is progressing fast. The atmosphere of peace, unity, social harmony and brotherhood has given further impetus to the process of development.
The Indian history is a witness that casteism and communalism have never done any good to society. This is also my own firm conviction. Gujarat has understood this and having overcome these evils, it has adopted the path of Inclusive Development. We are committed to work for a developed Gujarat for a developed India.
My dear Brothers and Sisters! no State, society or individual can claim to be perfect. I am grateful to all those who pointed out my genuine mistakes during last 10 years. I seek your blessings to serve the people with devotion free from all human shortcomings. As Chief Minister of the State, the pain of each and every citizen is my own pain. Ensuring Justice to all is the duty of the State.
The six crore people of Gujarat are working together for their own development and that of the State. The poorest of the poor is a partner in this process and is confident that he will get the fruits of development. Everyone has inculcated the State's ethos of 'Development of all with Cooperation of all' (Sabka Saath - Sabka Vikaas).
During my fast, I will continue to pray to the Almighty to give me strength so that I do not develop or retain any ill-feeling or bitterness towards those who defamed Gujarat or me by making false allegations.
Our country is a shining example of Unity in Diversity. I am confident that with your blessings, this Sadbhavna Mission will further strengthen our social fabric.
I will also pray to God to give the requisite strength to all of us to take this Sadbhavna Mission forward.
Always remains yours