“Modi will be good for India” | A Sikh waiter tells me why he will vote BJP

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December 4, 2013

Tarek Fatah
The Toronto Sun

While much of the world is focused on the 2014 withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, another major change is unfolding in the region.

By the time the Americans have jettisoned their allies in Afghanistan, Kabul’s closest friend in the region, India, will in all likelihood have a new government led by a new prime minister.

On May 31 next year, more than 700 million Indians will start voting at more than 800,000 polling stations.

When this mammoth task is completed, chances are we will be seeing the last of the mild-mannered Manmohan Singh, leader of the Congress party, who has headed a centre-left coalition in India for the last 10 years.

To the horror of many left wingers, Narendra Modi of the opposition right-wing BJP could well emerge as the head of the largest party in India’s Lok Sabha (House of the People).

Modi and the Muslims

If Modi becomes prime minister, the world will have to deal with a more assertive and hawkish New Delhi, one that will flex its muscles in dealing with the threats it faces from Afghanistan, China and Pakistan.

In the last decade of Congress party rule in Delhi, India’s reaction to provocations from both Pakistan and China, as well as Pakistani-funded and sponsored Islamic terrorists, has been timid, if not cowardly.

Whether it was the attack on Mumbai by Pakistani terrorists, the raid on India’s parliament in Delhi, or the beheading of its soldiers in Kashmir, India’s current leadership has behaved like an elephant responding to a mouse’s roar, ignoring the provocations as an irritant.

Standing in the way of Modi becoming prime minister is what is referred to as the “Muslim vote bank” (much like Canada’s ethnic vote banks).

Indian Muslims, it is argued, have not forgotten the 2002 pogroms in Gujarat when Modi was the chief minister.

It’s alleged by many on the political left as well as the Muslim leadership that Modi was implicated in the mass murder of Muslims.

His defenders claim the much-maligned politician was caught off guard in the incident and was at worst guilty of benign neglect, not direct complicity.

Muslim poverty line in Gujurat vs DelhiModi has responded to these charges by talking about what he has done for the Muslim community.

In one advertisement distributed through Twitter, the BJP has used official Indian statistics to show that Muslims living below the poverty line in Gujarat dropped from 35.5% in 2005 to 11.5% in 2012, while those below the poverty line in Congress-ruled Delhi increased from 21.3% to 31.6%.

In November, I travelled over 2,000 kms by road from Agra in the Uttar Pradesh to Srinagar in Kashmir, through the states of Haryana and Punjab, meeting ordinary villagers, cabbies, truck drivers and tea sellers at India’s ubiquitous “Dhabas” (road side cafes) as well as waiters and bellboys in five-star hotels.

I could barely count a handful of enthusiastic supporters of the ruling Congress party at the working class level.

A Sikh waiter tells me why he will be voting for the BJP

A Sikh waiter tells me why he will be voting for the BJP

Many Indians — Hindus, Sikhs and quite a few Muslims — are eagerly waiting to say goodbye to Sonia Gandhi, whom they accuse of being Manmohan Singh’s puppeteer.

I asked a waiter from Lucknow why, as a Muslim, he would support Modi.

“The Congress uses us Muslims while Modi will make sure there is no communal riot.” he said.

He cited the fact that since 2002, there has not been a single anti-Muslim riot in Modi-governed Gujarat.

His Sikh colleague nodded in agreement, “Modi will be good for India.”

7 comments for ““Modi will be good for India” | A Sikh waiter tells me why he will vote BJP

  1. pratiba koul
    December 4, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Sir, am impressed that you have travelled 2000km and taking feed back from ordinary indian citizens. Irony is our so called TV panelists will never do such excercise in order to oblige their political bosses. Having said so my opinion about 2014 is, its not battle for modi but common man, who has been crushed by inflation in food, power tarriff, security for women and above all corruption. We believe that sh.narendra modi might bring in some change to ease out life of a common man. Why not give him chance, gujrat is prosperous and roits free.

  2. Sam
    December 5, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    An excellent report, but Mr. Modi, unfortunately, has stiff odds against getting elected Prime Minister by a fractured electorate. India’s regional parties tend to look out for themselves rather than for the best interests of the nation, and they will be looking for a compromise candidate who will be more pliable to their narrow local needs. This will mean that India shuffles along lifting well beneath its potential in a neighborhood that will grow increasingly confrontational and territorial. The blame, as always, lies squarely on the Indian electorate who, like the Palestinians fondly embraced by India’s fashionably leftist elite, never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. It will be the common man who pays for this foolish inability to see what is in their best interests; the left-liberal elites will continue to milk the system and jet to international conferences about empowering the poor, while maintaining the disparity that nurtures their pathetic existence.

    • Karthik
      December 13, 2016 at 5:03 AM

      Maybe it is time to reconsider your words?

  3. May 3, 2016 at 3:02 AM

    You are just rock. I show man people just lie because they get some crapy money and then they sell their sole. But you are just too bold. Wish you write more bold article like this. Keep it up sir.

  4. Amit Choudhary
    July 16, 2016 at 4:30 AM

    Yes Narendra Modi is the best Prime Minister of India since Independence and the worst Prime Minister was Dr. Manmohan Singh because he was nothing to do for India. So I voted for Bhartiya Janta Party.

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  5. rajan ghone
    August 10, 2016 at 3:36 AM

    Dr. M. Singh is not a politition, but he’s an honest gentleman in politition. We all indian respect him.

    • Venugopalan Venkataraman
      November 1, 2016 at 7:51 AM

      I do not understand as to how anyone can describe Dr. Manmohan Singh as “an honest” person, leave alone a “gentleman”. Even people considered close to Mrs. Indira Gandhi – like – Devaraj Urs, Veerendra Patil, Dr. M. Chenna Reddy, all have quit Congress to start their own political outfit. It looks like Mr. Rajan Ghone had not read Indian history. Rahul Gandhi tears the papers containing Dr. M. Singh’s statement/policy/Bill in the Parliament, but it does not affect Dr. Singh. What kind of a person he is. To stick to the chair of power, he demonstrated that he would tolerate anything and anybody – including patting on the back of 2-G fame D. Raja of DMK who says that he did everything within the knowledge of Dr. Manmohan Singh..

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