Sir — Narendra Modi’s victory in the Gujarat assembly elections is a positive development (“Jolt to Cong, nuclear deal and Rajnath”, Dec 24). A few months ago, I went to Gujarat to make a presentation to the board of directors of a large public-sector company. The meeting lasted for nearly three hours and was very productive. The directors were a knowledgeable lot and asked intelligent questions. When I asked a senior company executive about the directors’ sustained interest in the discussions, I was told that Modi’s government allowed public-sector managements to function without political interference. The directors knew that their decisions would be final and could not be overruled by any minister in the government.
This perhaps explains Gujarat’s progress under Modi. His style of governance is in sharp contrast to the nepotism that characterizes public office elsewhere in India.
N.S. Venkataraman, Chennai
Sir — Narendra Modi should now remain true to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto and implement its plans and programmes. This should help Modi dispel doubts that he and his government have neglected rural and tribal areas, as well as those areas that are inhabited by the minority community. Above all, he must ensure that there is no enmity between Hindus and Muslims. With its potential, Gujarat could be an economic and social model for the country, a state in which everyone enjoys the benefits of development.
C.R. Bhattacharjee, Calcutta
Sir — It is heartening to know that the BJP succeeded in winning a poll by highlighting development as an issue. Henceforth, all political parties should talk only about governance and development. However, both the BJP and Narendra Modi need to tell the party cadre to rid the party in Gujarat of its sectarian agenda. If the BJP tempers its politics and becomes more centrist, the nation as a whole will benefit from a proper two-party system at the Centre.
Gazanfar Mirza, Nagpur
Sir — Narendra Modi’s electoral success is a watershed in Indian politics. By electing him as the chief minister for a third consecutive term, the voters in Gujarat have conveyed the message across India’s political spectrum that the distortion of secularism or designs to hurt people’s security and prosperity will no longer be tolerated. The land of Sardar Patel and Mahatma Gandhi has rejected the vote-bank politics of the Congress and the Left.
Shivaji K. Moitra, Kharagpur
Sir — Narendra Modi has won despite the odds that were stacked against him — dissidence within his own party, as well as the challenge thrown by the Congress, the Left, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. Even the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh refused to cooperate with Modi this time. The central leadership of the BJP was not very supportive of him either. Modi’s opponents downplayed the fantastic development of Gujarat under him and harped on either the riots of 2002 or the plight of the Dalits. However, his victory should now make Modi’s detrators abandon their policy of pursuing divisive politics. In fact, Modi triumphed because Muslim voters realized that the BJP has more to offer than the Congress which is only good at making hollow promises.
Danendra Jain, Ranchi
Sir — After Narendra Modi won in Gujarat, the Left reportedly issued a statement saying that communal forces in the country cannot be defeated under the present electoral process. Does that mean that the issue should now be settled in the only way known to the Left — violence? The Left’s suggestion is an insult to the Constitution and India’s democratic ethos. The fact that the BJP lost some traditional seats and gained new ones implies that the communal card had little to do with Modi’s victory this time.
Udita Agrawal, New Delhi
Sir — The Gujarat verdict has conveyed four important messages. For the Congress, the harsh reality is that Sonia and Rahul Gandhi cannot win elections for the party. This is because dynastic politics does not work any more in India, as was evident from the party’s defeat in many states since it came to power at the Centre. For the BJP, in Narendra Modi it has found a leader who is now bigger than the party. Today, the BJP’s need of Modi is greater than Modi’s need for the party. If the BJP wants to be seen as the party with a difference, it should give the reins of its central leadership to him. Perhaps India needs a Modi too, instead of leaders who, in the name of governance, squander taxpayers’ money.
The outcome in Gujarat has a message for the Indian polity too. Politicians should now understand that voters are not interested in sops and freebies anymore. Instead, they demand prompt service and a transparent administration. The final lesson is for Mayavati. She should be told that she cannot rule this country by coining opportunistic slogans and forging functional coalitions. She had better take care of her state alone, foregoing her ambition to rule India by striking alliances with the higher castes. In fact, Modi could teach Mayavati a thing or two about winning elections by banking on development as a political slogan.
Bhartendu Sood, Chandigarh
Sir — The Congress made a mistake by criticizing Narendra Modi for the killing of Sheikh Sohrabuddin. The only solution to the problem of terrorism is killing all terrorists instead of putting them in jail. After all, didn’t K.P.S. Gill succeed in putting an end to militancy in Punjab by using a similar tactic? It is also time political adversaries stopped making personal attacks at each other.
M. Kumar, New Delhi