19 June, 2021

The Modified Mood Swing

His rousing rhetoric and histrionic skills leave the crowds impressed but will they see Narendra Modi and the BJP through December 12? More Coverage

T. Narayan
The Modified Mood Swing
Perhaps Narendra Modi can protect us from terrorism," Ramjibhai shrugs as he brews tea at his stall in Wagdam, north Gujarat. Across the street are the election offices of the BJP and the Congress. Wagdam is still fresh from Modi's gaurav yatra the previous day. "Narendrabhai is a tough man," Ramjibhai concedes, but adds for good measure, "What protection? Godhra and Akshardham happened under his rule. It is all politics, nothing else." Wagdam voted the Congress in the last three elections.

Cut to Gandhinagar, a BJP seat, where Modi pauses before cheering crowds and dares Mian Musharraf to send "rented goons to Akshardham". His is a rhetoric that would do any Bollywood scriptwriter proud. "Don't give me votes in the name of Godhra. But friends, don't tell me to forget Godhra. I have heard the cries of women and children. Friends, don't tell me to forget Godhra..."

But, after Modi finishes his speech, there is no dearth of sceptics in the audience. Kashmira Chauhan is one of them. Says she, "He (Modi) has no business forgetting Godhra. He should remember it forever. It...

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