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Modi makes ripples in Kerala


M.Rajasekhara Panicker reports on the new Modi mania in the Kerala media
M.RAJASEKHARA PANICKER | New Delhi, May 21, 2013 15:42
Tags : Narendra Modi | Ashok Singhal | Kerala | Digvijay Singh |

With the headline, ``What’s wrong if Modi leads: Singhal,’’ The New Indian Express quoted VHP leader Ashok Singhal as saying, ``“Modi is the hero of Hindus and that’s why his name is being taken up by the Hindus. What’s wrong with him leading the country.” Speaking at a press conference in Kochi, Singhal added, ``“the country furiously supports him .People of the country support Narendra Modi and everywhere leaders are talking about him leading the country,” he said.

Media covered Singhal’s speech at the Kerala Hindu Aikya Sammelan at Thiruvananthapuram in which he said, ``Hindu swabhiman government should come to power in the next Parliament elections We need a Hindu Parliament.’’

Whether Singhal’s wish would be fulfilled or not is debatable, but the name of Gujarat Chief Minister Modi sells like hot cake in print as well as visual media. Except, pro-Hindu media, most of the mainstream media follow `hate Modi syndrome’ for obvious reasons. They don’t want to antagonize poitential politically vocal Muslim and Christian groups.

Hence, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh questioning Modi’s claims as the champion of development and his claims that Congress-ruled Kerala and Haryana states are far ahead of Gujarat in social indicators got wide media coverage in the state.

Carrying out this argument further to outwit Modi in the social media, Union Minister and Kerala MP Shashi Tharoor’s  tweet in Twitter invited wide comments. It was alleged that the statistics Tharoor quoted to prove that it was an ‘innings defeat for Modi,’ was based on a six-year old article.

Not only the media, but the very name  Modi brings caustic comments and reactions, whether it is Left or Right! Earlier, the CPM had expelled its two-time  MP A.P Abdullakutty for  exhorting the Kerala government (during Left Democratic Front  rule) to emulate Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for attracting investment. The Sunday Express. Quoted him as saying, “I am really pained at the unexpected decision. I love my party and also crave for development. I talked about development from my heart. Unfortunately, the party was not convinced by my sincere stand.” However,  he later joined Congress and now represents Kannur constituency in the Assembly.

Only recently, hell broke out when reports came in the media that Indian Union Muslim League MLA K.M. Shaji  absolved Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for the post-Godhra riots. “Narendra Modi had absolutely no hand in the Gujarat riots. There was no ‘Hindutva agenda’ in the riots either. The Chief Minister cannot be held responsible for the deaths, nor has he issued orders to attack or destroy a mosque,” media quoted Shaji. “It is only after a couple of meetings with Human Rights activists that I came to know this. The carnage was sponsored by traders. Just that religion was used as a convenient tool and cover,” Shaji  was reported to have said. However, he later retracted his statements.

Whatever related to Modi or Gujarat invites sharp criticism from Kerala  media. Former LDF government had to quickly revert from its move to make Amitabh Bachchan the brand ambassador for Kerala tourism. ambassador of CPM-ruled Kerala too.’’ 

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017