Modi ‘cooking kichadi' in Mumbai's mass pyre?
Natteri Adigal | 29 Nov 2008

ATS chief Karkare's wife flatly refused to meet Modi who has questioned its integrity before announcing Rs 1 crore ‘sanmaan rashi’ for cops. Advani too blamed its 'preoccupation' with saffron terror for its failure to detect the Mumbai attack plot

The brilliant election strategist that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is, he has found a great opportunity to turn the mayhem in Mumbai to his party's advantage. He was the first to rush with a pot to "cook kichadi" (a rice dish but means ‘to derive sinister advantage’ in Gujarati folklore) in the mass pyre set up for the terror victims. Modi viisted the attack sites even before Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and had a well-planned game plan, perhaps formulated long ago with deadly precision.

Modi has tasted the type of awe that could be inspired among Indian masses, most of whom would wet their pants at the sight of a real gun. It was by projecting his mastery over their use, even if illegal and immoral or through someone else, to annihilate perceived enemies. He was the first one to perfect fake encounters where supercops let their prize catch, usually small time criminals, into freedom and perforate them by raining bullets. Even the most complicated cases can be ‘solved’ with this tactic in a jiffy. He has the capacity to mock the country’s highest court, by buying up local officials to protect his 'encounter specialist' with the simple technique of getting rid of panelists of its inquiry committee.

The main purpose of Modi’s visit was predictably to strengthen his dubious reputation of Slayer of Enemies (read Muslims). According to an official statement issued in the evening on Nov 28, Modi visited the JJ Hospital to inquire about the health of the injured and he "also visited" the area near Oberoi Hotel. Actually, the 'also visited' place was the scene of his 'action' too. He used it to make an announcement that he came not just to visit the injured but to pay his last respects to senior police officers killed while fighting the terrorists. He said he was making a “sanmaan rashi” (reward in honour) of Rs 1 crore in honour of the heroes.

Interestingly, the babus of Gandhinagar had no clue as to where the Rs 1 crore was to come from. The state is confronted with the huge liability of redeeming bonds having horrific coupon rates issued for Narmada project. The white elephant is nowhere near fruition despite heavy overruns and may even force the 'rich' state go bankrupt. Obviously, it was only for the sake of getting some media attention. Was he planning to slash the cost of his own super Z class security? If yes, that would save the people of Ahmedabad the nightmare they have whenever the cavalcade of perhaps the most insecure and phobic leader ever passes through their way. Moreover, the cops spared from VIP duty could do some protection work for public also!

Most notable of the special people to get Modi's booty was Inspector Vijay Salaskar. He is celebrated as 'encounter specialist' having snuffed out at least 75 human lives like rats and was killed when faced with the real-life terrorists at Narman Point. To get full value for money, Modi explained: "I wanted to visit Mumbai yesterday itself. But, (Maharashtra chief minister) Vilasrao Deshmukh and his deputy denied me permission.” While there can be no takers for Deshmukh's assertion that he later allowed the wily Gujarat CM because "Marathi culture does not allow that,” it is true that his security agencies had put their foot down. Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was "advised" not to visit places “yet to be sanitised”. He had to go back after showing his turbaned face at JJ Hospital (as if it made any difference!). The 'cultured' Maharashtra CM later said, “Some people can’t resist using every occasion for political gains. Mr Modi is one such person.”

Modi's boss in Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), LKAdvani who is the party's Prime Ministerial candidate duly chipped in. He accused the intelligence agencies of failing to get a whiff of Mumbai terror attacks. According to his wisdom, the 'preoccupation' of Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) sleuths with probing the 'Hindu terror' angle of Malegaon blasts resulted in the deadliest ever terrorist plot go undetected! The Gujarat CM too has been echoing these sentiments and questioning the bona fides and integrity of ATS chief Hemant Karkare for daring to investigate the saffron connection.

No wonder, Karkare's wife did not want to have anything to do with the Modi booty, if at all it was to become real. She even flatly refused to meet the 'dignitary'. Ironically, accompanying the BJP chief in his visit to Mumbai was former senior minister in Vajpayee Cabinet, Jaswant Singh. His role at the Kandahar airport in a hijacking case is a much-talked-about secret. An unspecified part of the gigantic booty allocated by New Delhi in return for hostages is said to have lined his pockets.

Modi termed as “disappointing” the PM's address to the nation in the wake of attacks in Mumbai. He was conveniently forgetting how terrorism was treated by the Vajpayees and Jaswant Singhs, not putting the country's interests above a colleague’s. The hostages in Kandahar episode were not 'cheap' Jewish rabbis or foreign nationals but included the daughter of a honourable minister!

Everyone knows that communal strife in India, and perhaps the various terrorist acts, got exacerbated after Advani’s Ram temple movement that razed Babri masjid and the state-orchestrated anti-Muslim riots in 2002. They are yet to be called into account in the bizarre judicial system prevailing in India. Had they faced independent and transparent probes into their actions, inactions and reactions – maybe by judges of an impartial country – and accepted the verdict, this 'sacrifice' by the cops may not have been necessary!

Deshmukh was not entirely wrong to remark, "No one should do politics at such time" reacting to Modi’s “disappointing” assessment of the PM’s bakwaas. Manmohan Singh's senior collegue Kapil Sibal added: “Indian politics has never sunk to a lower, more debased level than this; such irresponsible statements and provocative ads in this hour of national crisis when security forces’ operations are still on, reflect the BJP’s anti-national posture and its lack of national commitment.”

Well, but the abyss which the celebrated Supreme Court lawyer himself has sunk in, after becoming a Congress leader and Union minister, is anyone’s knowledge! If BJP's tactic of cooking of electoral lunch over Mumbai's embers is anti-national and debased, does Congress’s game plan to retain power in the next year's Parliamentary election deserve to be defeated with all might?

Sadly enough, it was Sibal's party that pushed BJP leaders to sink to horrific levels. The custodians of the party that spearheaded the so-called freedom struggle are only eyeing in the dastardly attack a way to save the 'dynasty' from being forced out. It is clear that the party may not even cross the double digit mark in the next Parliament of 500-plus members, unless a miracle is engineered. The party is aware it may not be possible to organise a 'sympathy wave' again and again to avoid being wiped out.

(Next: Manmohan Singh eyes in Mumbai mayhem chance to save 'dynasty')