Guest Post: Sanjeev Sabhlok – What do Indian elections mean for Australia?

Voting for India’s 16th parliament commenced on 7 April, with votes to be counted from 16 May. The process takes over a month because Indian security forces have to move from place to place to prevent any outbreaks of electoral violence.

Many people have now heard about Narendra Modi and many are concerned about the possibility of his becoming India’s Prime Minister. Modi, currently the Chief Minister of Gujarat state, is considered to have directly supported a massacre across Gujarat of hundreds of innocents (mostly Muslims) in 2002 by militant extremist Hindutva groups, of which he is a senior leader. 

Modi incited his followers by declaring within hours of a train coach being set on fire by a mob that the ‘attack’ was pre-planned by ISI, the Pakistani intelligence agency. He then authorised steps that aggravated passions and also enfeebled the police response. His ideological commitment is to India becoming a “Hindu” nation, a position inconsistent with India’s Constitution. A key party leader of his party, BJP, wants to disenfranchise Muslims.

The polls are pointing to the BJP coming to power. The ruling coalition led by Congress is certain to lose a large number of seats given its (well-deserved) reputation for corruption. A new party, the Aam Aadmi Party (common man’s party) led by Arvind Kejriwal, burst on to the scene in December 2013 in Delhi on the back of an anti-corruption movement, but has since lost its mojo through mindless protest and demonstrated inability to govern. So BJP faces very little opposition.

But while BJP (or a coalition it leads) will almost certainly form government, it is unlikely to muster the two-third majority required to change India’s Constitution to convert it into a Hindu nation or disenfranchise Muslims. The question, then, is whether the world will see any major policy change as a result of these elections. 

Policy change is highly unlikely. The election manifestos released by major competing parties display a firm belief that government knows best. A rights approach (creating a ‘right to food’ or ‘right to work’) is deemed sufficient by Congress to address chronic problems. BJP’s economic policy is seemingly more liberal (its claims of ‘minimum government, maximum governance’) but it continues India’s strong laws against free speech and believes in government-managed health and education as well as in socialist welfare programs and subsidies. Unlike the Congress, it also opposes FDI in retail. And no party intends to change India’s outdated colonial governance system or free the people from bondage to excessive government regulation.
 
India, which started with a liberal (Ambedkar) constitution, became a self-declared socialist republic in 1976. After consequent near-bankruptcy, a wave of liberalisation occurred in the 1990s, foisted by the IMF upon India. The world mistakenly thought that India had abandoned socialism. But neither major party has any intention of abandoning a government-led economy. Consequently, India’s economic performance continues to disappoint. Of global FDI of around $1.46 trillion in 2013, India received $28 billion – less than 2 per cent. While growth increased momentarily in the naughties, it has slid back. The risk of its currency collapsing remains high due to high fiscal deficits. 

Angus Maddison, an economic historian of repute, showed in a definitive study that India was the world’s wealthiest country in 12 of the past 20 centuries and the second-wealthiest in six of the remaining eight. So why does India continue to perform so poorly? 

First, India’s governance system is inconsistent with modern learnings on public policy. Despite having produced Arthashastra – the world’s oldest treatise on economics – 2500 years ago, India has no credible school of economics and public policy. As a result, Indian migrant workers are welcomed as some of the most honest and diligent across the world, but corruption remains rampant in India. The heavy hand of lowly paid politicians and bureaucrats seeks bribes at every step. Enterprise is choked.

Second, India’s social tensions pose an ongoing challenge. Urban dwellers want to keep rural migration at bay, instead of strengthening local government that can plan better cities. Caste and religious pressures tug in different directions. Hypocrisy prevents rational discussion about human trafficking, AIDS and prostitution. India remains a house divided against itself.

Finally, Indians have a continuing (although diminishing) cultural disdain for the entrepreneur. Deirdre McCloskey points out that innovation requires a high level of social regard for enterprise. But India’s Brahminical culture ranks manual labour lowly and ‘capitalists’ are objects of scorn. 

So should we care about India? More importantly, can we do anything about India’s performance?

We would care if we knew that making a few policy tweaks and increasing freedom in India can rapidly increase its GDP, boosting global demand. Demand from 1.2 billion Indians on a growth trajectory can sustain Australia’s economy for many decades to come, even as China’s growth inevitably slows as it matures. In that sense, Australia needs India to do well.

But how can anyone help? 

Small steps could help. One, Australia can help establish a world-class school of public policy and governance in India. Two, Australia can help Indian governments adopt a cost-benefit policy process used by the Productivity Commission to defeat bad policy. 

Mainly, of course, an endogenous demand for liberty and good governance will need to ultimately emerge from within India. India needs its own liberal party. Even as the challenges to reform India’s governance remain high, the dividends to the entire world of India abandoning socialism will be huge.

Sanjeev Sabhlok, a former senior Indian civil servant, now works in the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance. He is author of Breaking Free of Nehru (2008) and founder of Swarna Bharat Party, India’s national liberal party.

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30 Responses to Guest Post: Sanjeev Sabhlok – What do Indian elections mean for Australia?

  1. Andrew

    LOL

    One, Australia can help establish a world-class school of public policy and governance in India.

    On second thoughts, stories of our corruption, budget mismanagement and kleptocracy might scare them straight. They could study test cases of the Obeids, everything in the Stimulus Package, and the Senior Labor Figure.

  2. Alfonso

    “What do Indian elections mean for Australia?”
    Absolutely nothing.
    People used to spend their time procuring shelter, food and security. Too much free time means taxpayer funded dribblers have to fill it somehow.

  3. Robert Blair

    Angus Maddison, an economic historian of repute, showed in a definitive study that India was the world’s wealthiest country in 12 of the past 20 centuries

    Whatever Angus Maddison is doing, it not history. He creates models where the only inputs are heroic assumptions teased out of almost nothing in the way of actual historical fact.

    His conclusions appear to be astounding, marvellous, and seemingly counter-intuitive.

    They are not really, they’re just complete and utter.

    Might I suggest that Maddison’s methods could just as easily prove that “Western Europe was the world’s richest country in most of the last ten centuries” (Western Europe being about as accurate and slippery a term, historically, as “India”).

  4. sabrina

    If you believe the Transparency International, India is highly corrupt, 94th in rank. Despite economic development, corruption has risen from the top to the bottom since the emergency rule was lifted.
    If you open a public policy institute there, there will be no shortage of home-grown case studies. More western educated young Indians should return to change the ingrained culture of corruption in the country.

  5. Is the BJP’s preference for straight Hinduism (and removal of Islam) likely to be a benefit or a problem for India? More importantly from Australia’s perspective, how is the BJP likely to treat Christians?

    India retains its caste society. Is that even compatible with democracy; does it increase the tendency of democracy to induce cultural decay, or lessen them? Are there people looking into what post-democratic society will look like for India — what does good governance, given India’s people and culture, look like? Don’t make the assumption that it will look like good governance here. You may well be better looking to Singapore than Australia for external advice — the culture there has far more Indian influence.

    Was India’s economic growth higher as a colony?

  6. Nato

    “But neither major party has any intention of abandoning a government-led economy.”

    You make it sound like the people don’t, either. From what I’ve heard, even many of the lower castes support the system.
    It’s been a while since I read up on it, but didn’t even the tantrics start out with the self-empowerment of the lower varnas? Then they were assimilated into this Brahminical culture. I’m not too confident of democracy’s exceptionalism over other reforming forces.

  7. Combine_Dave

    I was under the understanding that India’s caste system and democracy-enabled NIMBY was what holding back India relative to her competitors (China, Brazil etc).

    Now I learn they are also intolerant against other religions (predumably Christians, Jews and Buddists along with the Muzzies).

    Hardly seems a reciepe for success especially when considering their society suffers from real mysoginy. As evidenced from their frequent gang rapes.

  8. Splatacrobat

    “What do Indian elections mean for Australia?”

    If there is political instability and civil unrest in India we will have more taxi drivers than you can poke a stick at.

  9. sabrina

    The role of caste systems has been overplayed. In some states, the ones with relatively higher levels of education such as Kerala, West Bengal, caste problem does not exist. Lots of intercaste marriages do take place these days.
    Intolerance against Christians or Jews or Buddists is not an issue.

    Whether Sanjeev likes or not, BJP will come to poswer, and they are the lesser evil than the other parties – our Labor equivalent. The current BJP are not as anti-muslim as they were before. They have several muslims among its second-tier leaders. Certainly, they are not not anti-Christians. And they are pro-private and foreign investment as the Singh government.

    My personal view is for a massively multi-ethnic/multi-lingual society, they need limited form of autocracy with strong/quick law enforcement to tame corruption in the interim. At present, right from the ministers to the rickshaw-wallh all are corrupt to varying degree. It will not go away while the current/older generation policymakers are in charge. Until they die and replaced wholesale by an educated younger generation, corruption will remain rampant.

  10. Splatacrobat

    India needs its own liberal party.

    India could draft some Aussie pollies like they do cricketers. Turnbull would be a rabid right winger compared to Indian conservatives. He also would have no problem wearing sandals.

  11. Combine_Dave

    The role of caste systems has been overplayed.

    Those that are beneficaries of such a system are bound to down play it. I’ve heard of at least two instances (from very reliable sources ) recently in Australia where a manager was unable to manage staff as he was of a lower caste than that of one of his team members. These two situations were only resolved where the offending higher caste but lower ranking employee was let go.

    If they are like this in Australia imagine how it must be like in India; if you had the misfortune of being born to the wrong caste.

  12. Splatacrobat

    More western educated young Indians should return to change the ingrained culture of corruption in the country.

    If we can topple a Premier over a bottle of wine it will be a doddle for them to change the culture.

  13. David

    we will have more taxi drivers than you can poke a stick at

    And they’d be just as hopeless in finding an address as the ones we already have. And that’s from bitter experience on a number of occasions.

  14. sabrina

    All capital and major city taxis have GPS these days.

  15. the BJP have been in power before

    they were more moderate once they became the government

  16. nerblnob

    The allegations of Modi’s responsibility for the anti-Muslim riots are vastly over-egged and the “evidence” against him is pathetic.

    Those who really fear him are the ones who are too comfortable with the shambles of Indian public life as it is and don’t want a “can-do” guy in charge.

  17. Notafan

    Caste does rear it’s ugly head in Australia, and I also watched an SBS program which demonstrated it is alive and kicking in India at the secondary student level but I still think bribery is the biggest thing that holds India back, as for cheating in universities, has that changed?
    Didn’t that spill over here too when there were protests over fails by one of the Queensland universities?
    India boasts one of the highest muslim populations in the world, how can anyone expect to disenfranchise them without starting a civil war? Not to mention Pakistan stepping in to support their brothers.
    India completely overegged the racist problems in Australia, they can fund their own school.

  18. nerblnob

    India boasts one of the highest muslim populations in the world, how can anyone expect to disenfranchise them without starting a civil war? Not to mention Pakistan stepping in to support their brothers.

    And who exactly is “expecting to disenfranchise” India’s muslims? Not any serious candidate that I’ve heard of.

    Your second sentence is remarkably similar to the statement that gets Modi tagged with the “inciting anti-Muslim riot” and “extremist” tags.

  19. Notafan

    Sorry, isn’t the blog author arguing that Modi and his party might attempt to disenfranchise Muslims? I was trying to say that seems extremely unlikely given that there are approximately 150 million muslims in India.

  20. Oh come on

    Oh, let’s stop fretting about the BJP. They’ve already been in power already, were moderately competent, and proved themselves to be paper tigers when it came to spruiking Hindu nationalism as a galvanizing force for the nation. If I recall correctly, the main reason why they were turfed out of government was down to a catastrophically tin-eared “hope and change” campaign highlighting India’s prosperity when very few people were feeling this. It’s the economy, stupid.

    Now, on to your Constitution. It’s awful. As in, rip-it-up-and-start-again awful. There’s a stereotype about the Indian love of bureaucracy, and your tabling of the most voluminous national Constitution on earth does nothing to pour water on that stereotype. Consequently, your Supreme Courts are disproportionately powerful, because the more points of interpretation a Supreme Court is able decide upon, the more powerful the Supreme Court becomes. This is an untenable situation. Your constitution was written by people who were very ambitious yet wrote something so convoluted that it was always going end up the Supreme Court’s bitch. And, several decades later, the Supreme Court is assuming executive and legislative powers due to the ambiguity of the so-called intricately drafted Indian constitution. It should be torn up and simplfied radically. It should be in simple, unambiguous language that common people can understand. And it should lay down a few of your core principles – again, in unambiguous language.

    Indians, have a look at the US Constitution. That’s a pretty bloody good start.

  21. sabrina

    Since independence, India had 13 presidents and 13 vice presidents; of them four were muslim presidents and four others were muslim vice presidents. The current vice president is a muslim. All of them were highly educated. The last muslim president was also the head of India’s Atomic Energy Commission and chief of their ballistic missile program. As I see from Google, one of the BJP MP is a muslim from the state of Bihar, a very impoverished state. Some of the past chiefs of the Election Commission and the supreme courts were and are muslims. There are many muslims at the highest levels of the universities. On those statistics alone, the suggestion that the BJP will try to disenfranchise the muslims is ludicrous. They can not and will not.

    This is not to say that India do not have racial problems. They have more hindu-muslim problems than caste problems. Again, these racial problems are more limited to certain states as are the caste problems.

    Making comments like Indians should fund their own school in Australia is childish to say the least. As far as I know, Indians are one of the most assimilated groups of migrants. Let’s not denigrate them. We have enough jewish, catholic, muslim schools, and do not need an Indian or Hindu school. I doubt that will ever happen here, nor should it happen.

    Coming to the original post by Sanjeev, the BJP is more moderate at present than they were in the past. The BJP is also pro-US and pro-western than others. They were in power before, and will be in power again as it seems the general population is fed-up with the other main parties which are splintered and more corrupt.

    As a past civil service employee and currently in Victorian civil service, Sanjeev will do better to put his effort in reducing corruptions there. Hindus and muslims have problems there in some states, not all; but the ugly head of corruption is common to all communities and officials of all races.
    A politically stable India is in Australia’s interest – for trade, education and security. A less corrupt system there will be even more beneficial for bilateral interest. Whoever comes in power will reflect the popular will. Let’s help to improve their practices with public and private level exchanges. From your current position in this country, you perhaps can do that Sanjeev. See if you can use the educated Indian diaspora here as agents of change there to start with. Some of the Australian cricketers, past and present, can be of help too.

  22. This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking piece by someone who clearly knows a lot more about the issues in India than those making dickhead comments above.

    As to his specific suggestion:

    Small steps could help. One, Australia can help establish a world-class school of public policy and governance in India. Two, Australia can help Indian governments adopt a cost-benefit policy process used by the Productivity Commission to defeat bad policy.

    Both ideas make sense to me and have the potential to yield decades of benefits to Australia. I wouldn’t want to see Australia’s taxpayers being asked to fund the school idea. If our tertiary education sector was deregulated, there would be plenty of private investment available for something like that. And the cost-benefit process could be a government to government initiative, like a FTA. It might even encourage our own government to apply it a bit more often.

  23. This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking piece by someone who clearly knows a lot more about the issues in India than those making dickhead comments above.

    As to his specific suggestion:

    Small steps could help. One, Australia can help establish a world-class school of public policy and governance in India. Two, Australia can help Indian governments adopt a cost-benefit policy process used by the Productivity Commission to defeat bad policy.

    Both ideas make sense to me and have the potential to yield decades of benefits to Australia. But I wouldn’t want to see Australia’s taxpayers being asked to fund the school idea. If our tertiary education sector was deregulated, there would be plenty of private investment available for something like that. And the cost-benefit process could be a government to government initiative, like a FTA. It might even encourage our own government to apply it a bit more often.

  24. Andrew

    Even if we wanted to do something, why would they trust us? For decades we refused them uranium while Pakistan built nukes. And they associate AUS with burning Indian students the way we associate them with rapey public transport. (Thanks to racist Indian meeja who forgot to mention that the murdered Indian was killed by another Indian over a money dispute.) We’re also trying to disband Pachauri’s carbon credit scam that once represented much of their GDP, and ingratiating ourselves with their other major threat: China.

    Why would India see AUS as a natural partner for anything?

  25. Thanks to Sinclair Davidson for kindly publishing this blog post. And thanks to the commentators for the extensive debate. I’d like to respond on a few points.
    1) Re: “Whether Sanjeev likes or not, BJP will come to poswer, and they are the lesser evil than the other parties – our Labor equivalent. The current BJP are not as anti-muslim as they were before. They have several muslims among its second-tier leaders. Certainly, they are not not anti-Christians. And they are pro-private and foreign investment as the Singh government.”
    Response: Of the 449 B.J.P. candidates now running for seats in the lower house of Parliament, all but eight are Hindu. That too, non-Hindus are fielded to pretend to be ‘secular’. BJP would definitely change India’s constitution and convert Indian into a Hindu nation if it could, but will not achieve such a super-majority. The immediate issue is mainly about the continuing sabotage of the police and justice system to ‘show Muslims their place’. This means greater ghettoization of the Muslims. Re: anti-Christian, the RSS is very strongly anti-Christian, as well, and missionaries have been killed. And no, BJP is not pro-investment. While Congress (which I do not support) allowed FDI in retail, BJP is against it. And BJP’s manifesto is 100 per cent socialist, with no pro-business policy change expected. BJP and Congress do practice crony capitalism. And both are committed enemies of free speech (book banks, movie bans, etc. are rampant).
    2. “I’ve heard of at least two instances (from very reliable sources ) recently in Australia where a manager was unable to manage staff as he was of a lower caste than that of one of his team members. These two situations were only resolved where the offending higher caste but lower ranking employee was let go. If they are like this in Australia imagine how it must be like in India; if you had the misfortune of being born to the wrong caste.”
    Response: Caste has received a significant boost through the policy of caste-based affirmative action. Instead of equal opportunity for all, both BJP and Congress actively promote affirmative action and caste-divisions. If it ever comes into being, a liberal party that refuses to distinguish between one Indian and another based on caste, would at least alleviate the situation.
    3. “More western educated young Indians should return to change the ingrained culture of corruption in the country. If we can topple a Premier over a bottle of wine it will be a doddle for them to change the culture.”
    Response: Corruption is NOT a cultural issue but a system issue. Very few Indian migrants – mostly technical experts – can help. They don’t even know how the governance of the country they live in (e.g. Australia) works. They don’t understand new public management, microeconomic competition reform, nor any other reforms that underpin integrity in the West. A vast number of such ill-equipped Indians have in fact gone back to support AAP (the new socialist party of India) and imagine that corruption is a culture issue that can be fixed by putting new “honest” politicians on the job. That is not how corruption is addressed. That’s why the pressing need for good public policy and economics education in India.
    4) “The allegations of Modi’s responsibility for the anti-Muslim riots are vastly over-egged and the “evidence” against him is pathetic.”
    Response: This is incorrect. There is overwhelming evidence of his personal incitement/connivance and – later – subversion. I’ve got two booklets on this on my blog, if you are interested in looking at the evidence. The corrupt Indian police and justice system has simply been bought out. Even the killers of the 1984 riots in Delhi (these were mostly from Congress party) have not been put behind bars. Try a recent book by Manoj Mitta: The Fiction of The Fact-finding. But that’s in a sense irrelevant. India is full of major criminals in senior positions in power. That’s nothing new for India.
    5) “India completely overegged the racist problems in Australia, they can fund their own school”
    Response: I was one of the (many) residents of Australia objecting to the ‘racist’ nonsense in the India media. The media has finally understood and no recurrence of that madness is likely to occur again. Further, I’m not asking Australia to fund such a school for India. India has more than enough money of its own. Nor do I like foreign aid of any sort. But there are many other ways to collaborate, even on profit-making basis.
    6) “And who exactly is “expecting to disenfranchise” India’s muslims? Not any serious candidate that I’ve heard of.”
    Response: Subramanian Swamy, head of BJP’s strategic action committee for the elections.
    7) “Now, on to your Constitution. It’s awful. As in, rip-it-up-and-start-again awful.”
    Response: Indeed, if you read my book, Breaking Free of Nehru, you’ll find chapter 3 discusses the miserable Indian Constitution in great detail. And the further subversion of any liberal principles it contained by socialist Nehru and his Godchildren (including BJP’s former leaders of the Janata Party). And I do propose (outline) a 10 page constitution that focuses only on liberty. But no one in India will ever do that except a liberal party – which is entirely missing from the Indian scene. Only variants of socialist parties.
    7) “Making comments like Indians should fund their own school in Australia is childish to say the least.”
    Response: You assume too much. I agree it would have been childish IF I had asked Australia to FUND such a school. I would NEVER ask Australia or anyone else to do that. Money is not the issue in India. Concepts of good public policy/ economics are the issue.
    8) “A politically stable India is in Australia’s interest – for trade, education and security. A less corrupt system there will be even more beneficial for bilateral interest. Whoever comes in power will reflect the popular will. Let’s help to improve their practices with public and private level exchanges. From your current position in this country, you perhaps can do that Sanjeev. See if you can use the educated Indian diaspora here as agents of change there to start with. Some of the Australian cricketers, past and present, can be of help too.”
    Response: Thanks, indeed, that’s precisely what I’m involved in doing. The Indian diaspora, however, is not of much use (most of the time) since they are technicians without any understanding of public policy/ economics/ governance. Indeed, most are more rabid religious fanatics (mostly “Hindu”) than you’d even get in India, and are the major source of funding for BJP and its group of rabid “Hindu” associations. They are illiberal and will not support liberalism even as they live in liberal countries.
    9) David Leyonhjelm’s comment (he’s a Senator, so I’m naming him): “I wouldn’t want to see Australia’s taxpayers being asked to fund the school idea. If our tertiary education sector was deregulated, there would be plenty of private investment available for something like that. And the cost-benefit process could be a government to government initiative, like a FTA. It might even encourage our own government to apply it a bit more often.”
    Response: Fully agree. I’d TOTALLY oppose use of Australian taxpayer funding (e.g. things like the India-Australia Institute) since that’s NOT what liberalism and freedom stands for. I’d want more profit-based and persuasive methods to be used.
    10) “Even if we wanted to do something, why would they trust us? Why would India see AUS as a natural partner for anything?”
    Response: That is not an issue, since Australia has become a major destination of out-migration from India and many very well-connected Indians now reside in Australia. The racism hype is over. If an Australian PM offers to share good policy practices and such things with India, they will listen. But it has to be a partnership, not a ‘lecturing’ relationship.

  26. Bons

    than those making dickhead comments above
    Sorry David, you have obviously never lived there. The article is bizarre and the “comments above” that so agitate you are realistic.
    India is a big ball of plasticine. Poking it just leaves a small dent that time erodes. It is a massive agglomeration of every contradiction that Western commentators can visualise, but it works for Indians in its own crazy, unfair, corrupt, pitiless, moralistic, unjust way.
    After a couple of years living there you come to terms with a number of realities – outsiders will never change this monolith; never do business with India, they are thousands of years ahead in the game of screwing people who exhibit morals, trust, or are seeking a fair profit; India has the World’s most highly developed entitlement culture, not the individuals but the whole Nation believes that the World owes them a living, and – never poke India in the eye, you will never understand what upsets them but the response can be volcanic.
    From the ‘Far Pavilions” – “The truth is far too precious to be used lightly, it must be employed only when a lie will no longer suffice”. Sums it up nicely.

  27. Notafan

    My apologies, I read ‘help establish a school’ as fund a school ( in India) was assumed, not in Australia, where did that come from?
    I was to defend Australia as being racist against Indians ( talking to Indian shopkeepers in Barcelona at the.time) and was pretty annoyed how overblown the sstory was without taking anything away from the fact that a young man was murdered in Footscray and a couple of others badly beaten.
    Australians were not accusing Indians after the Australian Christian minister and his two little boys were burnt alive in their van by Hindu extremists some years ago.

  28. Chris M

    This is the fruit of Hinduism – corruption, poverty and increasingly unrest and crime.

    The land of a million gods inherited a system free of corruption in 1947 and have continually debased it ever since. The frank reality is only capitalism based on Christian principles has been proven successful.

  29. Madhav Singh

    2002 Gujarat Riots were not the only riots in India. But due to convergence of many motives, objectives-political, ideological, commercial, professional, personal and group; an unholy industrious enterprise has been built around the sordid event, which was not unique.

    I agree with Sabrina, that BJP has changed substantially by lowering the rhetoric of acrid past and have persistently progressed towards the middle path.

    But many have emotionally and professionally gone ahead with congress funded, left-wing devised and articulated, longest running propaganda onslaught to politically exploit the sad riots of 2002, in which many congressmen and their affiliates have been convicted. It has become a pyramid of wide spread cottage enterprises, getting willing support, resources, including funding from Middle East Oil Rich despots.

    This indeed is a very biased and lope sided article, which deliberately perpetuates following craftily designed myths along with mischievous subterfuges and insinuations:

    “Modi is considered to have directly supported a massacre across Gujarat of hundreds of innocents (mostly Muslims) in 2002 by militant extremist Hindutva groups.”

    Godhra town where a train compartment full of Hindu pilgrims was torched, killing 59 men, women and kids, has a long sordid history of communal violence since independence, in 1947, 1952, 1959, 1961, 1965, 1967, 1972, 1974, 1980, 1983, 1989, 1990 and in 1992, when Congress party was ruling the state of Gujarat, all along.

    In Godhra case verdict, eleven people have been sentenced to death for their role in setting a compartment of the Sabarmati Express on fire in February, 2002. Another 20 people have been sentenced to life in prison.

    Those who planned and executed the Godhra fire include Razzak Kurkur, in whose guesthouse the conspiracy was allegedly birthed; Haji Bilal, who obstructed firefighters from reaching the burning coach, and Irfan Kalandar, who carried petrol into compartment S-6.The prime accused Haji Bilal, the municipal corporator and Congress supporter, Bilal along with President of Godhra municipality Mohd Hussain Kalota were arrested. Others arrested include corporator Abdul Razak and Shiraj Abdul Jamesha.

    But my friend Sanjeev Sablok ignores these facts to perpetuate the mythical canard, he has fallen deeply in love with.

    The fact is in spite of huge, more than decade long, multi-pronged efforts by Congress led Central Govt, its various investigating agencies and well funded-influential-resource rich foot soldiers, Modi has not been proved to the responsible of these crimes.
    Teeming bands of professional Modi haters have been changing goal posts by reviving dead cases again and again, on flimsy pretexts, due to helping hands available at Delhi.

    “BJP plans to change India’s Constitution to convert it into a Hindu nation or disenfranchise Muslims.”

    As far as widely known, they have never said that and nor its part of their election manifesto, though some lower rung minions do, some times make stupid statements.

    “India’s social tensions pose an ongoing challenge, as Indian Urban dwellers want to keep rural migration at bay.”

    These dramatized tensions are progressively tapering down, though some cases keep springing up in a large country like India.

    Indians have a continuing (although diminishing) cultural disdain for the entrepreneur.

    This opinion is also not right, as there have been a wide spread explosion of entrepreneurial energies after liberalization of 1991. Although, a lot is desired, but held back because of policy paralysis caused by negative influence of left-wing pamphleteers and professional agitators.

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