Part 1 of this post can be accessed here.
Why is Shourie targeting Modi
We’re highlighting the criticisms levelled by Arun Shourie in his interview to the Wire magazine and our response to these criticisms.
Criticism: “I remain the same person, but when I was supporting Modi they adored me but when I spoke of his actions and what they were creating, suddenly I became ‘frustrated’.”
Let’s flip this argument. When Arun Shourie was with Modi, till 2014, didn’t he adore him? Now that he’s not with Modi, why is he ultra-critical, even of pre-2014 events when he was with him? Though Shourie has said so much about Modi, Modi hasn’t uttered a word about Shourie. Modi has done nothing to suggest that he is vengeful against Shourie, just a conspiracy theory. Sure enough, Modi may not love him for being so caustic, but that’s only human.
Criticism: Many people in BJP indulge in speeches and actions that cause communal divide; e.g., that fellow, Mahesh Sharma, Minister for Culture. And Modi doesn’t address them immediately. He speaks about them when the need for it has subsided.
Fair criticism, even if a little uncouth. Though the number of such instances is small and media makes it appear that they happen across the country in large numbers every day, yet as PM he should speak about them as and when they happen and not allow them to happen, esp after media highlights them. It is true that the general belief is that Modi is unable to (or unwilling to) speak against his supporter base more frequently, and more forcefully. Modi needs to address this issue.
Criticism: Love jihad, beef killing, etc….in UP, Bihar, Kerala, etc: there’s a pattern. Once elections are over, they stop. It makes Kashmiris feel that “There is no place for us here”.
If BJP is benefitting from these, all that is required of opposition parties is not to let BJP milk them by not fanning these incidents to get bigger. It is competitive politics by all political parties, BJP inclusive. Not all incidents are concocted, though some are. Any party that acts responsibly will lose out politically, which no party is ready for. Why blame BJP alone for this? Why does Shourie not criticise other politicians and some media who are equally guilty? Other parties were gaining by their pseudo-secularism; now, BJP has defeated them at their own game in the last 3 years. I’m not defending BJP, just stating facts. I’m not happy about this either.
Criticism: “Mrs. Gandhi would talk of the foreign hand – this is not the foreign hand but I am the foreigner. I am not just the instrument of the foreigner; I am the one who should be out.”
We just had a former Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit calling Army chief ‘sadak ka goonda’. We’ve had the likes of Mani Shankar Iyer, Digvijay Singh, Partha Chatterjee, et al who have castigated the Government and the Army Chief. If these people have the right to call Modi and the Army Chief all kinds of names, what is wrong if these people are called anti-nationals, not by Modi but by others? Is name calling a one-way street? Again, I’m not defending name-calling; I’m just saying that if some people have this right, their opponents have the same right as well.
Criticism: Modi and Amit Shah create state leaders; then they are completely beholden to and completely available to the Centre.
If BJP decides to have an age limit for appointing Central Ministers and State CMs, how can you fault it? And if certain leaders are leaders of groups, BJP may want to have someone acceptable to all; what’s wrong? Within these constraints, BJP has leadership shortage. And so, new leaders have to be found, which is being done. Vasundhara Raje and Yogi Adityanath are leaders with their own base. In Bihar, Sushil Modi was promoted, but BJP lost.
Criticism: Have you or have you not made an ass of yourself over Pakistan? Have you or have you not made an ass of the country in regard to China, whether it’s on NSG or anything else?
Just by passing off an opinion as a fact, is Shourie trying to make this opinion stick? There are many (outside the liberal circles, of course) who believe India is managing Pakistan and China policies reasonably well, given they are both extremely unmanageable neighbours. What the previous PMs didn’t do in 70 years, can we expect Modi to do in 3 years, esp when these neighbours are getting worse? Have a heart!
Criticism: I personally feel, Raghuram Rajan was driven out because of corporate interests. Because of discipline that Rajan was imposing upon the banks. Rajan was forcing them one way or the other – that these fellows need to pay, their names were coming out in public.
Was Raghuram Rajan not part of the problem of NPAs during UPA? Is Shourie saying that the Government should not choose its own team, esp after giving Rajan time to complete his tenure?
Criticism: The so-called Gujarat model is exactly this. One man, nobody else. One man going to any extreme. The man not even realising that drama is not achievement.
Did Arun Shourie realise this only after Modi became the PM, not when he claims he was assisting him in the 2014 elections? If he did, why was he assisting such a person to become PM?
Criticism: As Advaniji said at that time, Modi is a good events manager.
Advani was given 2 chances to become the PM by the party, in 2004 and 2009, and he failed. Modi caught the imagination of the people even before the 2014 elections. If Advani was the PM candidate in 2014, it’s doubtful if NDA would have won even a simple majority, and the party would have grown as well as it has done. Advani played an important role in growing the party, alright, but he and his fans circles should have graciously accepted Modi in 2014, which they finally did only reluctantly. Advani didn’t own the party.
Criticism: Modi and Shah are every day espousing RSS values, these are their values. This is the RSS in power. These people were out of the institutions, prevented from coming in by, lets say, the Marxists, so their ambition is to be like the Marxists.
BJP wouldn’t have come to power without RSS support, not only in 2014 but even in 1999. Frankly, I think not allowing Marxists to dominate institutions should be part of nation building strategy. I see it as essential. Was Shourie hoping that RSS would win Modi the elections, and Shourie would backseat drive the Government? This is an idea of democracy?
Criticism: The important thing is not that Kejriwal has been led to conclude that Modi was out to kill him; it is that people are asking for his murder. And these persons are being encouraged by Modi, by telling them, ah, I am following you, very good, very good.
Modi will be foolish to let Arvind Kejriwal be killed, or even beaten. In fact, Modi’s political success will be better with the antics of Rahul and AK. AK can make such hilarious allegations, but how can Shourie respect it with an answer like this?
Criticism: These are now (social media) armies and that shows the debasement of discourse in India. It’s part of a well thought out strategy. I remember a comment on Mussolini’s black shirts – they were nothing without the state but with the state they were everything.
This is nothing but a conspiracy theory, like the many conspiracy theories of Shourie’s; most of his misperceptions are due to these. (I’m now going into each of these in detail, as the article is already getting very long.) And only people who know social media know how it works; Shourie admits he doesn’t know it.
There are all kinds of people who say all kinds of things on social media; you cannot believe they are all orchestrated. For example, I write articles in PGurus about Modi, but Modi doesn’t know I exist. Even if his team were to bring my articles to his notice, it will be just the essence of what I say. Social media is 1000 times more amorphous. True, political parties also manipulate social media, but private participants manipulate it 1000 times more.
Criticism: After Gujarat riots, Atalji wanted Advaniji to ask Modi to resign. But on his own, Modi pre-empted and resigned. After a silence of two three seconds, 10-15 people started shouting, “No”. Atalji was completely astonished. It was obviously a coup that had been staged against him.
A clear conspiracy theory again, like the many of Shourie’s. How is he sure that Modi’s offer was not genuine? And if Atalji had accepted, Modi would have been gone. And in any case, why did Shourie support Modi in 2014, if he thought so poorly of him?
From all the foregoing, though Modi has had his share of mistakes and failures (who is infallible?), there is no coherent articulation of what’s wrong with Modi. In fact, if anything, this only strengthens my belief that, if the worst critic of Modi has not much substance in his criticisms, perhaps Modi is even better than I had imagined!