Ahmedabad: The arrest of suspended Gujarat IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt has been just one of the controversial decisions in Chief Minister Narendra Modi's long 10-year rule in the state. A decade later, will Modi's dream of entering national politics always remain a dream? The road ahead for the Chief Minister may not be that easy.
When asked whether he will take moral responsibility for what happened in 2002, Modi replied with a question, "What is moral responsibility?"
For most politicians, such a reply would go down as defiance, but for Gujarat's Chief Minister, this is his characteristic style. Offence has always been the best form of defence for Narendra Modi. As he marks his tenth straight year in power in Gujarat, it's this trait which has given him the mantle of an unbeatable leader in the state.
But despite a landslide victory in last elections, Modi is still a long way off from realising his long cherished dream of being the BJP's face at the centre. His latest face-off with Sanjeev Bhatt has been symbolic of how tough Modi's road really is for the future. Even within the Sangh Parivaar, there are many who have been questioning whether Modi is simply a man in a hurry. His refusal to attend the BJP national executive meet and his former mentor LK Advani getting his latest rath yatra flagged off by Modi's arch rival, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, have added to his woes.
On his own home turf in Ahmedabad, those who suffered during the riots of 2002 are also not really buying the rhetoric of Modi, the CEO of Gujarat.
But criticism has not managed to curb the growing number of his supporters from the capitalist class. Lakhs of crores of rupees have been pledged by top industrialists from India and other parts of the world, from the Tatas to the Ambanis, everyone has been a part of a chorus of Modi for the Prime Minister's post. Though experts feel that the Modi story is still a well crafted illusion.
On the one hand, Modi's image evokes extreme adulation on the other it evokes an extremely negative sentiment. It is as if the state has remained divided between the pro vs anti-Modi lines, with Modi's image remaining as big a success as a failure.