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Showing posts from May, 2011

Of Gujarat riots, Modi and the babus

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By Rajiv Shah
Early days of Gujarat riots are again back in focus. Gujarat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt recently named officials who were present in the controversial meeting on February 27, 2002, where, according to Bhatt, chief minister Narendra Modi asked those present to allow the Hindus to vent their anger. Bhatt named some IPS officers, and also a few IAS officials who were present in the meeting. The IAS officials are acting chief secretary Swarnakanta Verma, additional chief secretary (home) Ashok Narayan, Modi’s principal secretary PK Misra and Modi’s secretary Anil Mukim.
While two of these IAS officials – Verma and Narayan – live a retired life, Misra is an important person in the powerdom, serving the post-retirement assignment as chairman of the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC). The fourth one, Mukim, is on deputation to Delhi, working as chief vigilance officer with Hudco. Of all three, one official whose behaviour disturbed me most during those days was Misr…

The personality cult

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By Rajiv Shah
Gujarat has just finished its celebrating 50 years of its foundation. The last event was the Golden Jubilee Exhibition, which began on April 29, extended beyond May 1, the Foundation Day, and ended on May 9. Formally, the babus who organized it were asked to showcase Gujarat’s history of the last 50 years. But one of the organizers revealed, “We were discreetly told to concentrate on three things – Gujarat’s development since 2001 when chief minister Narendra Modi came to power, achievements of the Golden Jubilee year, and put up a contrast between what Gujarat was between 1960 and 2000 and what it became post-2001.”
Modi’s babus got the message loud of clear. Organized just outside what the new Mahatma Mandir – the government’s own convention hall for elite gatherings – the Golden Gujarat exhibition showcased all three rather meticulously. There were huge Modi photographs and cutouts dotted all over the 2.5 lakh sq ft area in which the exhibition was spread. One could s…