Tuesday, April 9, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Modiís removal an uphill task
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

Ahmedabad, April 8
The recent communal violence has torn apart the fabric of trust and love so much so that people of one community are closing their doors to the people of the other community.

There is a sharp communal divide in every walk of life and ironically, even rehabilitation and relief work for the riot-victims, has assumed communal overtones. A demographic map on communal lines is already in place in this city with enclaves of minorities and majority community dotting the city.

As the anti-Modi refrain grows day by day, the communal divide widens in Gujarat, a pertinent question that arises is whether the Gujarat Chief Minister will be removed.

Although there is some indication to this effect from the Centre, BJP and RSS sources here feel that it would be an uphill task and political suicide for the party in Gujarat if it dares to take such a step.

Violence cannot be justified but the fact remains that the majority community here are solidly behind Mr Modi, a BJP leader asserted.

The sagging image of the BJP after the devastating earthquake has now been wiped out and people belonging to the majority community, and obviously the vote bank of the party, are now once again backing the saffron brigade.

Any move to remove or replace him under these circumstances would prove to be counter-productive for the party, which received a drubbing recently in Assembly elections in four states and municipal elections in Delhi, he said.

Though a final decision in this regard will be made by the BJP central leadership, it should be prepared for public upheaval in case Mr Modi is sent packing, the BJP leader said. If Mr Modiís removal had been such a easy decision, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee would have visited Gujarat with a new Chief Minister.

Another BJP leader conceded that Mr Modiís continuation as Chief Minister has made it difficult for Mr Vajpayee to run the coalition government at the Centre due to the open criticism of some alliance partners. But it is also a fact that the party cannot afford to lose Gujarat as well after losing four states recently.Back


Probe ordered into lathi charge

New Delhi, April 8
The Gujarat Government today constituted a judicial commission to probe the police lathi charge at Sabarmati Ashram in which several mediapersons were injured.

Political parties and media organisations reacted with shock and anger to the assault which followed an argument over the presence of Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar at a peace meeting in the ashram. An Inspector was suspended and a Deputy Commissioner and an Assistant Commissioner were transferred by the state government in an immediate reaction to the incident.

Justice S.D. Dave, a retired High Court judge, has been requested to submit his inquiry report within three weeks, according to a press note issued in Gandhinagar. UNIBack

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