Narendra Modi’s Fallacy! by Rajinder Puri SignUp

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Narendra Modi’s Fallacy!
by Dr. Rajinder Puri Bookmark and Share

Gujarat Chief Minister Mr. Narendra Modi gave recently an interview to an Urdu weekly edited by Mr. Shahid Siddiqui who is also the general secretary of the Samajvadi Party headed by Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav. Obviously Mr. Modi is attempting to reach out to the Muslim community to strengthen his prospects at the forthcoming Gujarat assembly elections. Choosing the Urdu weekly associated with a senior Muslim Samajvadi leader provides an obvious clue. However one need not dwell on what the hidden agenda of Mr. Modi and Mr. Mulayam Singh might be. Politicians play their games that do not concern us at the moment. Of greater concern are the remarks made by Mr. Modi in the interview that have created controversy. 

Mr. Modi would be well advised to frankly own up his responsibility for failing to control the riots. He may or may not apologize for having participated in riots. The final decision of that rests with the courts. He should certainly apologize for administrative misjudgment and incompetence for failing to curb the rioting. Of course he should not have been hanged. But should he not have accepted responsibility and voluntarily resigned?

Mr. Modi was asked: “Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh have apologized for the 1984 riots so why don't you apologize as well?"  He replied: “There is no question of apologizing because if I have committed this crime, then I should not be forgiven. I should be hanged. I should be hanged in such a way that people learn the lesson that nothing like this should happen.” Mr. Modi’s argument was that the government itself did not participate in the Gujarat riots. That has been disputed by some but that aspect does not concern us. Let the courts decide that. What does concern us is the flawed assumption that underlies Mr. Modi’s rejoinder. 

He seems to imply that if the government itself was not involved in the rioting it leaves him squeaky clean. This horrendous understanding of how democracy ought to function lies at the heart of our collapsed governance. No politician in India seems to be even faintly acquainted with the well established principle of constructive responsibility that imparts its distinctive feature to democracy. I had pointed out earlier how the top four cabinet ministers including the Prime Minister shared constructive responsibility for the 2G Spectrum scam. Indeed, official documents had revealed that all were aware of what was happening but did not act to stop the rot. I pointed out that beyond constructive responsibility all of them were vulnerable to prosecution for having abetted corruption according to the Prevention of Corruption Act. But in India a Minister is deemed guilty only if he is personally caught with his own hand in the till. He is allowed to remain oblivious of all the corruption that may occur in the departments under his jurisdiction.

By the same logic Mr. Modi’s defence rests upon his assertion that his government did not actively participate in the riots. That is why he claims innocence and says that had his government participated in the riots he “should be hanged”. One would like to gently inform Mr. Modi that he may not have been guilty of rioting. Was he not guilty of incompetence for failing to stop the riots? Did not the decision to parade the dead bodies of the Godhra train fire victims through the streets of Ahmedabad inflame passions and provoked rioting? If this did not display rank incompetence and lack of administrative judgment, what does? In his recent interview Mr. Modi said: "Those who say we brought the bodies (of those killed in the Godhra carnage) to Ahmedabad to provoke people are wrong. The bodies were taken to a hospital in Sola on the outskirts of Ahmedabad to avoid any tensions." We cannot at this juncture affirm where the bodies were actually taken. We can assert that with or without the bodies a parade across the streets of Ahmedabad perceived to be carrying the bodies was held. If the parade did not exist why did not Mr. Modi contradict the media reports of that time reporting that it did? 

Mr. Modi would be well advised to frankly own up his responsibility for failing to control the riots. He may or may not apologize for having participated in riots. The final decision of that rests with the courts. He should certainly apologize for administrative misjudgment and incompetence for failing to curb the rioting. Of course he should not have been hanged. But should he not have accepted responsibility and voluntarily resigned? He can of course point fingers at various Congress leaders including the late Rajiv Gandhi for behaving no differently.  That may console him and his apologists. It is no consolation for the public which is thirsting for genuine change and new politics. 

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Comments on this Article

Comment This villification of Modi should stop. Eight years have passed, the cognress has tried everything it can to nail Modi and there is no evidence. Still what does these Modi biaters want. Supreme Court is monitoring the cases and let it conclude whatever it is. Why are these people putting Modi on the Media trial.

A police commission, in lines with election commission, needs to be established. It should be completely independent and maintaining the Law and Order should be vested to this commission. This needs to be done urgently.

07/29/2012 00:57 AM

Comment May the protagonists of 'Modi-apology' see the need to prepare the 'Modi-biters' to gracefully react to 'it.'

BS Murthy
07/28/2012 04:17 AM

Comment But Sir, the media of all hues has so far been shouting from roof-tops that Modi and his followers were actively participating in the riots. Modi has replied to that question. Now you seem to be shifting your goal post, so to say. Has any politician in power since Lal Bahadur Shastri (he resigned voluntarily, he was not asked to resign) been punished for not passing the test set by people like you at an ideal standard of 100 % ? True it is good to set the standard so high, but not selectively like you seem to be doing. This clearly shows bias. And look what your favorites like Mulayam and Lalu have done to their respective states !

07/28/2012 04:03 AM

Comment Sir,
With constant vilification over 10 years, and with concerted court action and inquiry tribunals arranged against him, Mr. Modi has emerged clean on every issue including early action against the perpetrators in the riots.
Here's Nicole Elfie's take on Godhra ( and the Justice Tewatia Commission Report (
In a scenario where the govt. machinery is poor and response and feedback are slow, I feel that Mr. Modi did whatever he could. Just look at Assam now, with the GOI and CONg failing miserably, and you know that this is true.
If only that reply is the point, then my surmise is that Mr. Modi has answered the question in the manner that the question/ the questioner demanded. Just look at the CMs on display today: most are completely incapable. Look at the condition in Maharashtra: 15 years of criminality, contempt for the voter and a total failure of government. Nobody measures up, even remotely, to Mr. Modi.

07/28/2012 00:29 AM

Comment Genuine change and new politics came when Gandhiji gave a call 'Quit India",
when Stlealin joined allies, when Atlee declared independance for India inspite
of Churchil, when Hitler rose to power and UPA-1 came into power & BJP
lost. Has Puri analysed what type of Government action was necessary when
Godhara burning train news reached it? Who could have set fire to the train?
What urgent action was needed by the then government? Has Rajedra Puri understood
Musllim psyche and Hindu psyche? Muslim shouts alla ho akabar and Hindu
shouts har har mahadev...Does Puri sees the difference? I was then in
Ahmedabad, my family came running back home,the other side saw burining
of exposed clothes pandols in Navaranpura. Should the Godvernment give directions to shoot Muslims or Hindus? Should the Government give directions
to curb rioters? Police will act to curb rioters. Government gave directions as
it saw necessary What hindus and muslims should have wanted then?
Peace, nothing but peace. How the Government act to bring peace?. The
Government brought peace in a short time. Modi did it & no more riots even now. Is the Government/Modi guilty of what it did?

Pranlal Sheth
07/27/2012 17:48 PM

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