The Modi behind mask
Prashant Mukherjee | 26 Mar 2008

Vox Populi is Latin for the Voice of the People. It is followed by two other words in Latin Vox Dei—the Voice of God. It has become a basic creed of democracy giving the will of the people the status of divine authority. We exercise our will at election time and accept the verdict as divinely ordained. In fact it is not so. People are swayed by caste and communal affiliations.
There is plenty of evidence that these factors play an important part in our elections. They condone crimes committed by their favourite candidates and vote for them; a few years ago there was widespread violence against Muslims. Some admitted to having committed ghastly crimes in sting operation carried out by Tehelka and explicitly stated that they had the tacit approval of Narendra Modi. Nevertheless, Modi won Gujarat elections single-handedly. Does he echo the voice of God? To me who is a non-believer in divinity the answer is no. To me Gujarat is Bapu Gandhi's home state and I regard the verdict as repudiation for what Gandhi (and Nehru) stood for.
I hold no grief for the Congress Party because of what many of its leaders did in November 1984, when over 3,000 innocent Sikhs were butchered in cold blood. Some of them were re-elected to Parliament and given ministerial positions, not one was expelled from the party. The turn round came with Sonia Gandhi taking over leadership of the party. She distanced herself from these elements and is doing her best to bring the party back on the path shown by Gandhi and Nehru. Her nominee-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh apologised to the nation for what had happened to the Sikhs. The confession purged the party of sins committed in 1984. It is something Bapu Gandhi would have approved of. The BJP comprising L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharati, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal etc. have yet to apologise to the nation for knocking down Babri Masjid. Nor has Narendra Modi for what his supporters did to innocent Muslims following the burning down a train compartment at Godhra Railway station. Far from asking forgiveness they are again sponsoring Hindutva and repeating their plans to build a Ram Mandir on the exact spot where the Masjid stood. Is this patriotic? Will it not be a set back to our dream of making India a truly secular state?