Modi should worry, but not because of Vanzara's letter

If the non-Gujarati Indian voter doesn’t care for the so-called Gujarat model, then his interest in the Sohrabuddin encounter, Vanzara and in Gujarat’s encounter killings is also presumably minimal.

FP Staff September 04, 2013 14:15:11 IST
Modi should worry, but not because of Vanzara's letter

It doesn’t matter so much whether one agrees with the BJP’s conspiracy theorists, since you can hardly deny that the timing of DG Vanzara’s litany of accusations against Narendra Modi - coming just when the clamour for the Gujarat CM to be anointed the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate got more urgent than ever - couldn’t have been better.

A Parliament session has shown the BJP to be clueless and missing even a single substantive idea, newspaper editorials and common citizens alike have pointed out that the “face of 2014’ appears to have no big ideas on issues critical to the average Indian such as the rupee, the economy, taxes, environmental concerns surrounding key infrastructure and development needs, or even food security.

Modi should worry but not because of Vanzaras letter

Vanzara's letter won't make much difference to Modi's political fortunes: AFP

But still, Vanzara’s letter, the latest among brickbats being flung in the general direction of Modi, will likely miss its mark, assumed or intended.

So what we know from Vanzara’s letter, if we were to believe it, is that the man who hopes to become prime minister was not just in the know of extra judicial killings in his state but in fact also engineered and championed them.

But the fact is, the large majority of Indian voters believe that extra-judicial killings are par for the course amid what is considered a long-drawn war on terror. Not so long ago, the Ishrat case was believed to cause Modi’s spin doctors deep agony, but it didn’t. Note that even Mumbai’s encounter specialists, some of them back in service, continue to enjoy hero status among the general public, within the police force and in Bollywood.

All through the past few weeks, Modi’s biggest detractors have pointed out that Modi does not have very much to say once his anti-UPA rhetoric and the hard sell of the Gujarat model both run out. But by that logic, if the non-Gujarati Indian voter doesn’t care for the so-called Gujarat model, then his interest in the Sohrabuddin encounter, Vanzara and in Gujarat’s encounter killings is also presumably minimal.

That brings us to the machinations underway among the factions in the BJP; at least some leaders are privately rejoicing at the discomfort Vanzara’s revelations must cause. But even Modi’s biggest detractors will admit that there is no reasonable alternative for the party – even the vocal anti-RSS members of the BJP have in fact been working to soften Modi’s image over the past months.

Does Modi have cause for worry as the electoral plans for 2014 change gear? More than ever before, it’s becoming apparent that he does. But not because of Vanzara.

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