Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Modi Operandi

Today, I watched an interesting news clip about Narendra Modi's government in Gujurat. The news clip basically described public anger towards Modi. Why were the people angry towards Modi - the person whom they had elected with thumping majority just a year ago? People were upset because Modi had initiated the demolition of over 200 temples in Gujurat that were illegal encroachments. Narendra Modi, as you all know, is a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party - a party that is associated with Hindu nationalism. He was also the person whom the media had criticized severely for its alleged tacit involvement in the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujurat against the Muslims. Thus, I was surprised when I came across the news of Modi leading a drive to demolish illegally constructed temples. I wondered, "How can a leader who is supposedly a fundamentalist Hindu, order a drive to demolish temples?" "The temples may have been illegal constructions, but don't political leaders in India just cater to their vote banks?" I realize Hindus in Gujurat are very upset about the demolitions, but I am happy that a leader who identifies himself as a Hindu nationalist, did not hesitate to tear down Hindu temples that were encroaching upon public property.

I often hear politicians blaming each other for playing petty partisan politics; yet, rarely do we see any of them taking any strong action against their own supporters that are violating rules and regulations. Instead, we always see them protecting and justifying the actions of their constituents. I hope more leaders go beyond trying to appease their vote banks, and start focusing on maintaining the law of the land. Instead of acting based on how well their actions help in the acquisition and sustenance of power, I hope leaders do not hesitate to take the 'right' actions that even alienates them from their voters. I guess leaders feel insecured taking unpopular actions, however, focusing on doing the 'right' thing always pays back in the long run.

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