|Date: 19 Mar 2005|
Source: Times of India
Author: Kingshuk Nag
AHMEDABAD: For once, Narendra Modi's fabled magic touch seems to be failing him. In the past, with his unique brand of rabble-rousing, he could instantly get Gujarat's urban middle class to buy his line of thinking. But this time seems different.
Even as the BJP dissident camp and the NGO circuit were in celebratory mode wearing an "I said so" attitude, more and more common people are refusing to accept that the US move is an affront to India and Gujarat. Whilst most people on Friday were indifferent to the matter, some have actually stated wondering whether the so-called Gujarat ka sher had become a liability for the state.
"If he can't even manage a visa for himself to the US, what good can he be to five crore Gujaratis?" asks Aasish Patel, a businessman who voted for BJP in the last elections. "In fact he has become an embarrassment for all Gujaratis. We have a chief who has to be rapped by the most powerful nation in the world; what a shame," Patel, who has got relatives in the US, adds.
"We are living in an interdependent world. Modi can't think that he will do anything in his backyard and nobody will ask him what he was doing," says the chief executive officer (CEO) of a top Gujarat company, which is staunchly pro-Modi, at least in public posturing. This CEO, one of whose company representatives was to accompany Modi on his now cancelled US trip says, "Thank God, the trip has been cancelled. It is not out of love that our man has accompanying Modi on his jaunts."
But there are some who have fallen for the Modi bait. "You may not agree with Modi's policies but have to accept that rejection of visa to an elected representative of Gujarat is an insult to the state," said Girish Dani, a businessman-cum-politician.