Modi’s Fast, Advani’s Rath –

Whitewash Can’t Hide Blood And Dirt

odi, with his 3-day fast for ‘harmony,’ was quick to capitalise on the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Gulberg Society massacre case – a verdict that was certainly disappointing to secular forces and minorities, though it was by no stretch a clean chit for Modi. His audacious fast was also boosted by World Bank’s praise and a US Congressional report projecting him as the BJP’s next PM candidate. All of a sudden, the BJP was claiming that with the SC sword no longer hanging on his head, Modi had shaken off the Gujarat genocide taint and was now officially Prime Minister material.
But it was apparent to all that Modi’s fast was a case of the ‘cat going on pious pilgrimage after eating a hundred mice!’ With the Supreme Court leaving the Gujarat pogrom case to the trial court, the prospect of speedy justice being meted out to Modi is certainly more remote. But if anything, the allegations and evidence (of communal massacre, murder, fake encounter and criminal conspiracy and cover-up) against Modi have piled higher than ever before. 
In the wake of the acquittal of the accused in the former Minister Haren Pandya’s murder, Pandya’s family has reiterated their allegation that CM Narendra Modi had Pandya killed because the latter had given evidence of Modi’s green signal for the 2002 communal pogrom. Several police officers also have given evidence of the role of the Chief Minister and other BJP leaders in the 2002 pogrom and fake encounters. Although the recent Supreme Court order in the Special Leave Petition filed by Zakia Ehsan Jafri disappointingly leaves the case and investigations in the hands of the discredited Trial Court and the SIT respectively, the SC order is not an exoneration of Modi, as the BJP has been claiming. On the contrary, the SC order directs the SIT to chargesheet Narendra Modi and 61 other accused on the basis of Zakia Jafri’s petition, and submit the SIT report, report of the Amicus Curiae and affidavits containing evidence to the Trial Court.
Meanwhile Lal Krishna Advani has once again decided to trot out the tired horse of a ‘rath yatra’ – this time, for ‘good governance and clean politics.’ With the Gujarat genocide and fake encounters coming to national attention again, Advani’s rath yatra will only remind people of his Mandir rath yatra of the early 1990s, with its legacy of hate-mongering and communal violence. 
Advani’s rath yatra is an obvious attempt to capitalise on the prevailing anti-corruption climate. However, Advani’s anti-corruption chariot stands deeply mired in mud even before his yatra can take off. In quick succession, the BJP has had to replace two Chief Ministers in BJP-ruled states (Karnataka and Uttarakhand) desperate damage control attempts following corruption scandals.
In Karnataka, the possibility of arrest looms large over former CM Yeddyurappa, who was implicated in the Bellary mining scam by the Lokayukta report. Former Minister in the BJP’s State Government, G Janardana Reddy, has already been arrested in an illegal mining case filed by the Andhra Pradesh Government. Although the bulk of the Reddy brothers’ illegal mining empire lies in Karnataka, the Karnataka state government is yet to initiate any action against them. Instead, even as the BJP’s leadership tried to distance itself from Reddy’s mining interests, the Chief Minister Sadanand Gowda has defended Janardana Reddy and the BJP held protests in Karnataka against Reddy’s arrest.
In BJP-ruled Uttarakhand, former Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank was forced to step down, facing the heat from a series of scams. Meanwhile the NDA Government of Bihar too is implicated in the BIADA land allotment scam and the Indira Awas scam. In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP Government and BJP-RSS leaders are being questioned in the murder of a woman anti-corruption activist. Try as they might, the BJP and Advani cannot shrug off the taint of BJP-NDA Chief Ministers and leaders being involved in some of the most notorious scams of recent times. 
It is clear that wherever Advani’s ‘rath’ goes, its slogans of ‘clean politics’ and ‘good governance’ will be mocked by the embarrassing instances of rampant corruption, corporate plunder, communal violence and brutal repression in BJP-ruled states of Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, MP, Chhattisgarh. Advani’s is timing his rath yatra to coincide with the birth anniversary of JP, hoping to harness JP’s pro- democracy image for BJP’s politics. But with the BJP’s own credibility on corruption and democracy in tatters, Advani’s yatra is instead being widely seen as an attempt to outdo rivals within the BJP’s internal leadership tussle, and project himself as the BJP’s next prime ministerial candidate.  

Modi’s fast and Advani’s rath yatra cannot whitewash either the BJP’s blood-stained legacy of communal violence and hate-mongering or the memory of multiple scams that taint the many BJP-led State Governments.