- Title: INDIA: Telecom Minister says the Modi bubble will burst before the elections
- Date: 16th October 2013
- Summary: NEW DELHI, INDIA (OCTOBER 15, 2013) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) INDIA'S TELECOM MINISTER, KAPIL SIBAL, SAYING: "I think that the system has been manipulated in Gujarat by the Chief Minister and the fact the he has not allowed a Lokpal (sic) (Lokayukta, state-level ombudsman) to be appointed for 11 years, or maybe not 11 and a little less, is indicative of the mindset of the person who has aspirations to be something in India. And that worries me, that worries me not as a minister, not as government, but it worries me as a citizen of this country."
- Embargoed: 5th November 2013 19:47
- Location: India
- Country: India
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA62PP4FIMGBTT443705445JK86
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: India's Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal cited the laws of nature while describing the rising popularity of main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi.
He stated this in New Delhi on Tuesday (October 15) and also added to say that Modi would soon fall flat on the ground once his bubble of fame bursts prior to the polls.
India is due to hold its largest-ever general election within eight months. Modi's elevation means the poll will pit the business-friendly chief minister of Gujarat state against the centre-left Congress party, which critics say looks jaded after a decade at the head of a fractious ruling coalition.
Modi themed free mobile games, offering entertainment and spreading awareness about politics, have become increasingly popular among the people of India.
His active participation on social networking sites has also made the Gujarat strongman popular amongst youngsters.
Sibal, however, taunted the credit given to Modi's massive public relations outreach that sends out waves in the social media every time the self confessed 'Hindu Nationalist' comes under limelight.
"Normally the law of nature is that he who rises, falls and the quicker he rises, the quicker he falls. So, I don't know how the laws of nature are going to work, as far as, Narendra Modi is concerned. I do believe that a lot of this, a lot of this is hype and its based on a private army being employed by Narendra Modi to disturb the cyberspace in his favour and we will see if he moves forward at all, or not. As you know all bubbles burst, that's again the law of nature, this bubble too will burst," said Sibal.
The son of a tea-stall owner, Modi's journey into politics started young. As a teenager he joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a voluntary right-wing group that serves both as the ideological incubator for 'Hinduttva', a hardliner brand of Hindu nationalism, and as the philosophical parent of the BJP.
Modi joined the BJP in 1987. With a reputation as an efficient organiser he rose through the ranks, although his self-promotion and ambition earned him enemies along the way, according to various biographies.
Modi's success at chaperoning Gujarat's economic growth was for years overshadowed by religious riots just months after he took office in 2002. At least 1,000 people died in the violence, most of them Muslims at the hands of Hindu mobs.
Human rights groups and political rivals have long alleged that Modi, a Hindu and a dominant force in the BJP, allowed or even actively encouraged the attacks. He has always vehemently denied the charge, and a Supreme Court inquiry found no evidence to prosecute him.
Sibal, who is also the federal Law Minister of the country, said it worries him that a person like Modi was having ambitions to become Prime Minister.
"I think that the system has been manipulated in Gujarat by the Chief Minister and the fact the he has not allowed a Lokpal (sic) (Lokayukta, state-level ombudsman) to be appointed for 11 years, or maybe not 11 and a little less, is indicative of the mindset of the person who has aspirations to be something in India. And that worries me, that worries me not as a minister, not as government, but it worries me as a citizen of this country," Sibal added.
Modi's main opponent may be Rahul Gandhi, an establishment insider who represents the fourth generation of a dynasty that has governed India for more than two-thirds of the 66 years since independence from Britain in 1947.
Gandhi's late father, grandmother and great-grandfather were all prime ministers.
Further, shifting his focus on the assembly elections in New Delhi that is scheduled on December 04, Sibal acknowledged the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), with Right to Information and anti-graft activist, Arvind Kejriwal at its helm.
"You must understand that any party that comes into the fray cannot be disregarded. No matter what we think about any political party, there are independents who win an election, do we give then credence at the time of the election, but they do win an election. There are several factors that come into play when people win elections, so it is not as if we should brush aside the Aam Aadmi Party, but it is also not as if the Aam Aadmi Party is the future of Delhi," Sibal said.
Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party have been targeting the Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government, which has been ruling Delhi for the past three terms.
Earlier on Friday (October 04), the Election Commission announced that polls to five state assemblies would be held in November and December.
Political observers have reckoned these polls as a final trial of strength between the ruling Congress party and its Hindu nationalist rival before the general elections due by next May.
The elections will be held in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan as well as the federal capital state of Delhi, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram, beginning on November 11 and ending on December 04.
The ruling Congress is battling allegations of widespread corruption in government and the latest reports in various scams offers further ammunition to its opponents in the run-up to general elections next year.
India is ranked 84th or near the middle of 180 countries in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, based on an integrity rating of 3.2-3.6 (0 being the most corrupt and 10 the least), indicating that experts perceive the country to be highly corrupt.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None