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Showing posts from September, 2012

Smell of suspicion

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By Rajiv Shah
Last week, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi hosted a sumptuous dinner for the state’s top officialdom based in Gandhinagar. I knew in advance that, ahead of the dinner, there was going to be some speechifying – at least two senior-most officials, Gujarat chief secretary AK Joti, and his No 2, additional chief secretary, planning, Varun Maira, were to be fielded to speak on the Modi miracle, on why other states should “replicate” Gujarat model. Modi was jittery. Officials say, the dinner was in retaliation of 2,025 Sachivalaya babus’ pre-assembly poll signature campaign demanding pay hike, warning him, they are not alone, they are backed by five in the family, and their “support” can multiply. As would happen with any newsperson, I curiously tried to phone up and dig out what exactly had happened at the dinner, which Modi termed Vikas Ni Suhas, or Fragrance of Development. Late in the evening, I got return phone call from one of the participants. “Good food, but speec…

The enigma called Amit Shah

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By Rajiv Shah
Those were turbulent days. It was, I remember, second half of March 2002. The post-Godhra riots in Ahmedabad, as elsewhere in Gujarat, may have lost their intensity, but rioting had still not stopped. It was my first meeting with Amit Shah, Gujarat’s former minister of state for home, who has shot into prominence after the CBI arrested him in 2010 allegedly for being an accomplice in a triple murder case, involving the fake encounter of a gangster, Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauserbi, and aide Tulsiram Prajapati. At that time, he was MLA from what then was one of the largest state assembly constituencies, Sarkhej, in Ahmedabad, with a voters’ strength of 10 lakh. All that I knew of him was, he was “very popular” in his constituency, almost invincible. He had just met chief minister Narendra Modi, and I had a very vague idea on his proximity to Modi, who had taken over reins in Gujarat.
Shah was coming out of the chief minister’s office (CMO), situated on the fifth floo…