Narendra Modi’s work in Gujarat speaks for him, while Arvind Kejriwal just speaks for himself
I came across this article on Indian Exponent (read here) when a friend decided to tell me why I should not vote for Modi. However, just after reading first few lines, I decide that this needed a strong ‘factual’ rebuttal devoid of any bias. So I present to the readers a point-by-point rebuttal to the author Raghav Gakhar and why I WILL still vote for Narendra Modi in Loksabha 2014.
Before I even begin rebutting Raghav’s criticism point-by-point, I’d ask the reader to watch this video, where AAP’s key-leader speaks about Gujarat’s growth. This was before he joined AAP.
1. Tickets to Criminal Candidates
The figure of 57 criminal candidates is exaggerated. Most politicians (including His Holiness Shri Shri Kejriwal) has criminal cases against them. Most of the cases are political in nature. At no point am I defending fielding of criminal candidates, but we must not forget Indian Constitution/IPC which says “Innocent till proven Guilty”.
These media reports (ET Report, IndiaToday Report) highlight the criminal cases against Arvind Kejriwal himself. He had declared 9 cases against him in the affidavit with election commission. Clearly, these cases are of not serious nature, which is also the case with many “criminal” cases he quotes – without verifying the nature of them – which most times is political. Yes, there’re serious cases as well – but does he or his followers ever wait to check the difference?
2. The issue of “Riots”
Author needs to be well versed with history of Gujarat. Riots were a common practice every few years (and large scale at that). Since 2002, Gujarat has NOT witnessed large scale riots. There have been small skirmishes in some areas, with minimal damage to the public. The key point is that the state has seen a peaceful time over the past 12 years.
This HT Report may help in understanding that Gujarat were not the first riots to take place in India … or the last.
Table 1: Who ruled the state when more than 100 people died in riots -1967 onwards
Most intellectuals have failed to highlight the fact that Gujarat has a history of Hindu-Muslim riots. Of the 17 riots mentioned in Table 1, nine took place under Congress/Allies rule, three under President’s Rule, four under other parties and one under BJP rule. President’s rule includes Kanpur and Bhopal, which could be included under BJP rule because party state governments were dismissed in the aftermath of the events of 6 December 1992. But barring Modi, no Chief Minister has ever been demonised for the communal riots that happened during their watch. (FP Report)
3. The issue of “RTI”
Gujarat Govt trained more than 3550 people on RTI (for effective use) including NGO’s in 2011-12 (last annual report), a government which ‘hounds’ RTI activists will surely not create more of them!
– 5224 Applications recieved (3803 appeals and 1421 complaints)
– 2699 Applications disposed/resolved (1887 appeals and 812 complaints)
Overall RTI Rejection Rate: 2.56%
Reference: Gujarat Government RTI Annual Report 2012-13
We must remember that 49 days of ‘new age political rule’, the RTI applications bounced more than the Gabba pitch! So it is easier to preach than to practice. And regarding the killing of RTI activists, it is sad, and investigations are being done on full-scale. At the same time, we must not forget that the member-of-parliament in question is under arrest and case is being followed up by CBI, which is under central government.
At th same time, please look up the pending RTI numbers in other states and you will be able to put things in perspective (For example, 33ooo pending RTI requests in Uttar Pradesh)
4. Gujarat Lokayukta Act
Factually incorrect representation in the blog. Raghav is just repeating what Media has been ranting about without going into the merits of the case. Chief Minister CAN’T appoint Lokayukta without consultation.
5. Education Sector
Most Indian states do not introduce English in govt schools till as late as class 5, so expecting them to read / speak / write English language sentences within the first year of being introduced to language is wrong. He should instead look at School drop-out rates. Girl enrollment – and water and sanitation facilities in schools.
Even if the tourism growth is 13% and not 16%, it is still a commendable achievement and much higher than the national average growth.
7. Automobile / Industry Claim
One needs to look at the incremental and spin-off impact on local industry of having Automobile majors in vicinity. Auto Components, Logistics, Employee Cities, Construction Sector are just few of the spin-offs that such a step can provide to the local economy. The author shows his complete lack of economic understanding when he talks of benefits extended in form of tax sops, but forgets the greater impact it will have on the local economy.
8. Village Electrification
The author needs to look at the village electrification criteria in 1996. Even of a light bulb was present in a village, it was considered as ‘electrified’. However, 100% rural electrification now means, 100% households in a village receive electricity. Going by the annual report in question, most of India is almost 100% electrified in 1996 itself. One needs to ‘Apni akal lagaao’ for such stats.
As per one of the author’s stats, 85% of RURAL households in Gujarat have electricity, more than any other large state; and dependence on Kerosene has come down from 26% to 12%, thus saving huge subsidy expense of the govt. The ranking too has been used wrongly. Most rankings in India take Large and Small states separately specially because of the large urban belts in Small states.
9. Elections Voting Percentage
Since 1996, BJP has always managed more than 45% of votes in every election held. Getting this kind of vote share in a non-presidential form of democracy, is itself a miracle. Congress which has been ruling centre for the last 10 years has managed barely 26.5% of votes in 2004 and 28.6% in 2009. In fact never has a party in India (Centre) managed more than 50% votes, including 1984. This is how electoral system works.
10. Agricultural growth
Changing stating and end years can have a huge impact on the final stats. The author cleverly talks about the years when India faced a massive drought (2009-10) and entire country saw negative agri growth. However, Modi has always maintained that AVG growth in the last decade has been 10%. This article gives you the correct picture. And this is based on a study by ASSOCHAM and not Gujarat Govt. (ET Report)
Infact, Gujarat has become FOOD SURPLUS instead of FOOD DEFICIT within just 10 years
11. High Speed Wireless Broadband
Author would be well-served to think why the central government got such a prestigious project to their ENEMY NO.1 state? Does it have to do something with the plan / vision that the state has (Mind you, I say state and not CM). And comparing Gujarat with Goa is foolhardy (Goa is a really small state).
12. Solar Plant
Again something to do with the vision of the state. Why is Maharashtra /Haryana /Andhra Pradesh not on the solar map but Gujarat is. Simple, state governments get money allocated exclusively when they submit a plan for utilization. Money is released in several tranches which is utilization based. Gujarat has scored over any other state in the country regarding this.
Canal-Solar cell coverage: The author gets into such petty arguments that it’s idiocy is difficult to comprehend. Modi claims it is the world’s first such project over a canal, and even if one exists in California, over a pond, that does not take away from the engineering feat achieved by the government of Gujarat in replicating such a model, AT A MUCH LARGER SCALE.
13. Social Sector expenditure
Social sector expenditure as a percentage of GDP might be lower in Gujarat compared other large states, but the fact remains, that with leakages being plugged, that itself is causing more large-scale impact on the people in Gujarat. In addition, spending on Education, Health, Infrastructure, does a lot towards improving social strata of people than populist schemes. Uttar Pradesh for example, has a bigger social spending than Gujarat’s entire spending. However, we don’t even need to go in details to see the difference in lives of people in two states.
14. Poverty Line
It is not decided by State but by Planning commission. Rs 11 was the only criteria given by Centre to decide on the BPL families. However, Modi govt added several other criteria (such ownership of durables, educations, dependents etc.) to arrive at actual BPL numbers. This is just a media spin (as has been the case in the last 13 years) to make a mountain out of a molehill when it comes to Gujarat.
15. Twitter/Facebook Army
Abuse on twitter is something everyone has to live with. AAPtards is the new breed. AAptards are some of the most vile abusers I have come across on twitter. And does the author mean to say people like Kiran Bedi, VK Singh, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Gen Bakshi support/promote such abusers by being with BJP?? All these people on the very same social media have criticized BJP too when required.
16. Article 377
BJP has stated that it is against article 377 abolition. There is more to article 377 than just gay rights. Only those who have not read it properly can make such a claim. (It also comes into use in Male Rape cases and plays an important role in the criminal justice system).
17. Asaram Case
Gujarat was one of the first states which had taken action against illegal ashrams of Asaram. His son is in custody because of prompt action by Gujarat police. And whether author likes it or not, Asaram does have a huge following, and such cases need to be handled in a sensitive manner. “NO BJP LEADER” said that Asaram should not be arrested. Just that again, he should not be ‘declared a criminal before charges stick in court’ (Same law should be applied in the case of Tarun Tejpal also, for whom liberal heart cries because he is an ‘elite journalist’ in jail).
18. Criticism of Baba Ramdev and Subramanian Swamy
Author brings in his personal bias here rather than objective criticism.
19. Wikileaks / Juliane Assange
Those claims have never been made by Modi and it is some Modi fans who have attributed that statement to Julian Assange. Wikileaks did say that Modi is not corrupt. Communal – yes they said it, and so have many others. Does it make Modi non-corrupt or communal – NO. It is his actions over the past 13 years in power that make him non-corrupt or secular while dealing with his state. Who gives him that certificate – PUBLIC / SC / INVESTIGATION AGENCIES – It seems all three have done that (Atleast Gujarat public, Nation we will get to know in 2 months and 10 days time)
20. Other issues
Modi followers as Fake: It seems the author is unaware of how Internet works. ALL MAJOR ACCOUNTS – of political leaders, rock stars, celebrities – have active and real follower base of 45-50%. Rest all are spam accounts. 35% of Modi followers are fake; 28% of Tharoors followers are fake; So the numbers are evenly matched. Just as a reference, Justin Biebers ‘Beliebers’ form just 30% of ‘followers’ Rest all are fake.
21. BJP being transparent about funds
As per the current laws, it is transparent. If the laws change, they need to be more compliant. All parties will need to be compliant in the same way, else it will send out a wrong picture to the electorate. In addition, AAP, which claims to be the new age politics messiah, has itself been avoiding responding to Government and Court regarding its foreign funding (Including ford foundation funding for its core members). AAP too is open to corporate funding now, which it had been abusing till date. AAP till date doesn’t even have a PIO to attend to RTI requests. Have you even checked, how many RTI requests are pending with AAP till date? I shouldn’t even talk about the ridiculous and self-serving measures like internal-lokpal and convenience-based referendums.
22. Dow Chemicals
BJP did not let DOW escape, it was Congress. And this donation (of Rs 1 Lakh) being in public domain itself shows the authenticity of the donation …Transparency someone mentioned. Plus, had Raghav Gakhar bothered to check it wasn’t Dow Chemicals which was responsible for Bhopal Gas Tragedy, but Union Carbide. Bhopal Gas Tragedy occured in Dec 1984. And Union Carbide became a subsidy under Dow Chemicals in 2001. It’s like saying Tatas are responsible for the pollution caused by Jaguar cars a decade ago before the acquisition.
23. Historical References
Mohandas and Mohanlal was a slip of tongue. He never said Takshila was in Bihar. He said, during a speech in Bihar. “When we talk about education, two educational institutes come to mind, Takshila and Nalanda”. Never did he say that both are in Bihar. One was in Bihar and the other in present day Pakistan. Alexander coming upto Bihar was also not said by Modi, he read out a poem, which referred to ‘great sons of Ganga defeating Alexander…. resulting in his death’.
One has to stoop really low, to consider such petty facts to make judgment on somebody’s capabilities. I’m not against Arvind Kejriwal, but making a comparison between “baaton ka sher” Kejriwal and “Karm-veer” Modi is childish. Arvind Kejriwal talks louder that doesn’t make him right – in the end, it only shows, that all he knows is to point fingers. But till date hasn’t shown the commitment to get down and do the dirty work that is required to run a country. Had his intentions were really honorable, he would have given his full attention to Delhi and fulfilled his commitments there. Instead he chose to present some BS argument, which only full-fledged AAPtards can digest – and resigned. Now, he wants to run the country? At least Modi, continuously and dedicatedly worked in Gujarat for 15 years, before deciding to take bigger responsibilities.