This Week Gujarat: Blog versus blog

Keshubhai Patel,former chief minister,has gone to the Web in his battle against his successor Narendra Modi,who is already Net-savvy

Written by Tanvir Siddiqui | Published: July 2, 2012 12:43 am

Blog versus blog

Keshubhai Patel,former chief minister,has gone to the Web in his battle against his successor Narendra Modi,who is already Net-savvy. Patel’s first blog post called the Modi regime “worse than the Emergency” imposed by the Indira Gandhi government,a phase that Modi’s own blog had called the darkest in India’s history,and for which it had attacked the Nehru-Gandhi family. Having timed his blog with Modi’s on the same subject,Patel rubbed it in after returning from Delhi,where he had consulted the BJP leadership in Delhi. In an interview to a local tabloid,he said the party should take Modi away from Gujarat. They could even make him prime minister,he said,because “in Gujarat we are tired of him”.

Tweeters and followers

Narendra Modi’s followers on Twitter are a growing community that crossed seven lakh recently,with the last one lakh having joined in the past one month and a few days. That makes Modi one of the most active politicians on the social media. He has taken care to stay out of controversy at least on Twitter,sticking to “safe” issues such as the development of Gujarat,parts of his speeches,and lately quotes from Swami Vivekananda. This is in contrast with the tweets of many other politicians,some of which have led to major controverseis. Modi,who began tweeting from 2009,may have a wide following for his tweets but has limited the number of tweeters he himself follows — just 234.

Lesson for Cong

After a successful show of strength in Mehsana,where it had called a Patidar (Patel) convention,the Congress was nursing hopes of having gained the upper hand in local politics. The result of nagar palika elections has dashed those hopes,at least for the time being. Following the BJP’s success,the Congress seems to have learnt one key lesson — Modi-bashing alone will not do; it can only help the chief minister. So,when Home Minister P Chidambaram went to Gujarat,he told party members to concentrate on explaining to voters the benefits of voting for the Congress. The effect has been that maverick leader and election campaign committee chairman Shankarsinh Vaghela is now telling party colleagues not to indulge in Modi-bashing.

Where Joshi stands

Has RSS pracharak Sanjay Joshi,involved in a tussle with Modi,quit the BJP or has he only vacated the post he held in the party? Initial reports had indicated that he had quit his primary membership in the BJP but now a letter to party workers,signed by Joshi himself,has cleared the air. He has confirmed that he remains in the party as a primary member. In the letter,he has also urged his party colleagues not to put up any poster in his honour that attacks anyone else. As a result,such posters disappeared for some time,and when they resurfaced,it was in in Ujjain in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh. This possibly means Joshi has only shifted his base from Gujarat to MP and that he will continue to work on his mission against Modi from a distance but still from within the party.

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