Edits In Short: December 21
Didn’t get time to read the edit pages in today’s papers? Don’t worry. We’ve read them for you!
The Hindu, December 21, 2012
King of his jungle – Editorial
This editorial, though acknowledging Modi’s third-time victory in Gujarat, barely manages to hide its glee that Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party didn’t cross the 117 seat mark from the 2007 assembly election.
“…by themselves raising the bar in the run up to the election, his supporters have weakened their hero’s claim to a leading role on the national stage.”
It also says that many rural Gujaratis haven’t seen the “the development narrative that has become the stuff of folklore among Mr. Modi’s admirers”, and a lack of an able Congress candidate in Gujarat helped Modi to win. The edit also wonders whether second-rung BJP leaders and BJP allies will accept Modi on the national stage.
Mandate for change – Editorial
Sometimes, the edit observes, your opponents help you win, as is the case in Himachal Pradesh where a non-performing BJP government helped Congress come to power. This, despite the fact that the Congress campaign was led by Virbhadra Singh, who is caught in a web of corruption charges.
“…the overriding concern of the people seems to have been to vote out the Dhumal government. After a full term in power, the BJP carried out a negative campaign trying to blame the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre for all the miseries of the commoners.”
It ends by suggesting that notwithstanding the win, Congress needs to get rid of the tainted Virbhadra Singh before he becomes a liability.
The Hindustan Times, December 21, 2012
The next stop could be Delhi – Editorial
Unlike The Hindu edit, this HT edit on Modi is of the view that “After his third win, Modi can’t be described as just another regional leader anymore”. The BJP leaders who are downplaying his achievement should see the writing on the wall.
The victory, it states, belongs solely to Mr Modi who worked with super-human energy. His victory focused on his development record, had no divisive issues in this election and inspired investor confidence. Contrast this to the Congress that was direction-less and agenda-less.
Despite certain opposition from within the BJP and RSS, “it will be hard to ignore Mr. Modi’s claim, were he to make one, for the top post”.
Think local, act local – Editorial
On the Himachal victory, the HT edit feels that “by giving Virbhadra Singh a free hand, the Congress notched up a comprehensive win in Himachal”. Giving autonomy to the 80-year old Congress veteran who is a strong local leader was the winning formula – something the Congress needs to do more of. Also, the corruption charges against Singh didn’t make a dent in the Congress vote share.
Onto the next campaign – Main Article
Vir Sanghvi feels that Modi’s win (which is more his, than BJP’s) will spur him on to conquer the rest of India. The reasons for Narendra Modi’s win in Gujarat go beyond development issues or lack of Congress leadership. “Why is it, as Gujarati voters, that the state has virtually no representation on either the Congress or BJP front benches in Delhi?…Neglected for decades, the state is now sending its favourite son to do battle with the Delhi Sultanate.”
But Modi’s challenge in Delhi is not up to just the BJP or even the RSS (who prefers to have a PM who defers to them). BJP’s allies will also have a big role in picking the PM candidate in 2014.
So will young voters and the urban middle-class gravitate towards Modi? Hard to predict, but Sanghvi writes, “Modi is in no mood to wait for the answers to these questions. His campaign to first conquer his own party and then, all of India is ready. And in the next few months, he will roll it out”.
The Indian Express, December 21, 2012
Gujarat’s Choice – Editorial
The edit comments on Modi’s win in Gujarat elections and the future path for him. It insists that if Modi really wants to take over the national stage, he and the BJP will have to rethink their polity. The national landscape is “far untidier” and more heterogeneous than Gujarat and minority concerns cannot be ignored.
Also, has an interesting sentence – “an aspirational idiom combined with a language of regional assertion can be a compelling reason for a pro-incumbency vote in the state”. So he didn’t really do the work, it was only his pitch that worked?
No-name campaign – Editorial
The edit looks at the reasons for Congress’ failure in Gujarat. It states that the Congress campaign was faceless and could come up with “only a patchy and last-minute electoral strategy and tactic. It had no large story to match or counter his, and crucially, no storyteller.” It also insists that the Congress has been in denial of the regionalisation of politics and ends with saying that the party’s performance in Gujarat is made up of “very real political failures”.
Apocalypse now – Editorial
The edit explains how the Mayan calendar works and informs the reader that it says nothing about doomsday, but is simply an important moment of transition. It also lists out the responses various countries have had to the “world is going to end today” theory – ranging from hilarious to practical.
“Indians, however, have remained largely unconcerned – perhaps because like the Mayans, we trust the cycle of time”.
A Modi-fied politics – Editorial
Columnist Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes that “those worried about Modi will have to first set their own house in order”. According to Mehta, the communalism we accuse him of is not so much different from the ones other parties have practiced. He writes that Indian voters are “deeply aspirational” and that is something that Modi caters to. If other parties have to compete with him they need to take a re-look at their policies and politics.
The Times Of India, December 21, 2012
NaMo’s Hat-Trick – Editorial
This TOI edit raises the same crucial question that’s on everyone’s mind – “Is it now ‘Dilli chalo’ for Modi?” It points out that Modi’s win was a result of focus on development, there being no Congress leader to counter him and Keshubhai Patel being unable to live up to his own hype.
But the move to Delhi will depend on whether there is a leader to take over from him in Gujarat, Modi improving his image as a deeply polarising figure, and the division within the RSS and the BJP on handing him a national role. Not to mention BJP’s allies who won’t accept Modi.
“His hat-trick is no mean feat. But taking strike beyond Gujarat will be a tougher challenge.”
Chronic Rape – Editorial
Rape is not an outcome of eroticism even in its most deviant form writes Jug Suraiya. “It is a deep-seated hostility against the female gender that is ingrained in our society…Rape is not a sex crime. It’s a gender crime.”
Apart from the necessary and obvious measures to prevent rape, one has to understand the “psychology of rape, getting to the root of the cancer, which is not about sex but about the complete domination of the female by the male”.
Rape is a chronic condition. “It begins in the breeding in the womb when the female foetus is formed.”
The Rise of Modi 2.0 – Main Article
Expressing his views on Narendra Modi’s recent victory in Gujarat, political commentator Ashok Malik says that this victory is different. “He sought votes on the strength of his record in office, his governance, economic growth model and, generally speaking, the politics of aspiration.”
The edit is all praise for Modi and his popularity saying that Modi is more popular in Gujarat than the BJP itself. His success is inspirational as it’s acquired and not a result of family inheritance. He made Gujarat India’s Shenzen by converting a trading society into a manufacturing economy, and has sold his voters a dream of becoming India’s first middle-class state.
“It is this Modi who has now become an undeniable power center in the party and probably holds a veto as to the choice of its next President.” Is he the man India awaits in 2014?