Middle Class Indians Ready to Elect Man Who Killed Only a Few Thousand People
NEW DELHI – It is no secret that the front-runner for next Prime Minister in the upcoming Indian parliamentary elections is the right-wing, Hindu-fundamentalist Bharatiya Janata Party’s Narendra Modi, currently Chief Minister of Gujarat state.
Well-off urban voters around the country are excited at the prospect of greater development and strong, no-nonsense leadership under Modi’s neo-liberal “Gujarat Model” for economic growth.
Meranam Chinchu, founder of the immensely popular marriage website MarryYourCaste.com, expressed the mood succinctly. “This country needs a new, clean government, and it will come from a man whose police stood idle while two thousand people were massacred.”
Referring to the 2002 Gujarat pogroms in which an estimated two thousand impoverished Muslims were brutally murdered, Chinchu dismisses Modi’s detractors, saying “Look, he has been given a clean chit (record) from the Indian Courts, which are renowned the world over for their promptness and impartiality. And besides, Modi never talks about the 2002 riots on campaign, so why should we? He is a very trustworthy man.”
Ram Janmabhumi, a prominent family physician who specializes in aborting girl foetuses, says further liberalizing India’s markets will usher in a new era of prosperity. “Many statistics and studies claim that inequality has increased since market reforms in the 1990s. But that’s only because there weren’t enough reforms. Given a chance this century India will pass even China in suppressing democracy in the name of economic growth.”
Asked whether the 2002 pogroms shed light on Modi’s governing style, Mr. Janmabhumi said “Absolutely not. His incendiary anti-Muslim rhetoric beforehand did nothing whatsoever to incite the riots. And why are we still harping on that incident anyway? It was practically last century. India must look to the future, not the past.”
Not all of India’s middle class shares these opinions, however. Social activist Panchali Das is one of the Gujarat Chief Minister’s shrillest critics. Launching into a baseless and naive tirade against Modi, she babbled something about rape and women’s rights before her microphone was accidentally cut off and a crowd of men swarmed her chanting suggestive Bollywood lyrics and trying to unravel her sari.
With Modi’s firm grasp of Western economics and spotless record in government, India under his regime would clearly be on the path to a new birth of freedom.
The Lapine’s South Asia correspondent,