Friday, March 18, 2005

Narendra Modi's press conference

I was a little bit surprised to see Narendra Modi looking pretty upset while speaking to the press today afternoon. Shouldn't he have been happy about these developments -- not getting the US visa and all that? There's a dearth of good issues for the BJP, and here's a chance to equate an "insult" to Modi and his party with "an insult to India". You shouldn't be very worried about antagonising your right wing friends in Washington. Right now you don't rule Delhi, so you can afford to do that! Initial sad faces apart, I'm sure, Modi and his compatritots will tread this path; nobody needs to teach them how to squeeze political mileage out of virtually anything.

The process regarding Modi's US visit had started at least two months ago. Why should the US embassy come to this decision at the last moment? He's an elected representative of the state of Gujarat. And remember, this was not the government at the time of the Gujarat riots; this one came to power later. There wasn't any major communal tension during the present regime. There was no backlash even after the Akshardham siege, in which Pakistani militants had intruded into a temple. Modi said all this in his press conference. So even Modi can provide governance without instigating riots. So it's not like a government, even his government, cannot controll large scale violence. Are you admitting, at least indirectly, that you are the main culprit in the 2002 pogrom?

Modi said that the US is adopting double standards in denying him entry. Leaders of Pakistan and Bangladesh have no problems in visiting the US, though "they have almost wiped out their minorities". "Why single out me?", Modi asks. Now that's more like a direct admission of the crimes committed. Modi went on and asked whether it's justifiable if India denies entry to the US chief of staff because of the US war crimes in Iraq. Brilliant! Not only that you realise your crimes, you even know the right parallels!

Modi also said that Washington was succumbing to the pressure put by "terrorist sponsored NGOs"! That's sad. Frankly, I didn't expect Abhi, Saurav and all to have "terrorist" connections!


At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome post !! Came across this only today.

At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, now that Navavati report is out, any ideas on Jagdish Tyler's visa? After all how long can a NRI minister stay away from NRIs?

At 6:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any chance you could provide the source for the two quotes - "they have almost wiped out their minorities" and "why single me out?"

At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anand said...

Anonymous -- Unfortunately I don't have access to the transcript of the press meet. If I remember right, Modi spoke mostly in Hindi, and I have mainly used the English subtitles on TV as well as the TV journalist's paraphrasing. In any case here are a few similar quotes:

1. "I would like to question the US government on their relations with Pakistan. There is Pakistan sponsored terrorism in Kashmir, lakhs of people have died, but the US welcomes the chief of their country with open arms and gives him a visa," Modi said. [NDTV]

2. Mr. Modi questioned the "double standards" on human rights and asked why the U.S. Government was maintaining friendly relations with Pakistan and Bangladesh despite "genocide and wanton killing of Hindus" in Jammu and Kashmir and in Bangladesh for the last so many years. [The Hindu]

3. Today, at his press conference, he
qualified them as 'terrorist-sponsored NGOs.' [Times of India]

4. Pointing to US military action in Iraq, Modi asked, "Would it be fair if a representative of the US government is denied Indian visa for the country’s role in that war?" ... ... "Or, what is the attitude of the American government towards the chief of Bangladesh where minorities have been butchered over the past 30 years?" [The Indian Express]


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