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Give Gujarat a long spell of president's rule

The three-member team of the Election Commission virtually was hijacked by Narendra Modi government, which indirectly forced them not to reach the most affected areas of Gujarat to assess the situation for holding election in the state, which is not possible at all in the present situation as terror is not yet over.

The memory of rampaging mobs has not faded for thousands of Muslims who survived a three-month attack.

What happened in Gujarat will have consequences beyond its borders. If Modi gets his mandate one can be sure that anti-Muslim pogroms will be an inherent part of the BJP strategy for the next general election.

It is the exceptional situation prevailing in the state that has forced many public-spirited individuals, and not just political parties to warn that an early election in Gujarat would be a travesty of constitutional principles and universal values. It would only divide the people further. The best thing that can happen to Gujarat is a long spell of president’s rule, so that the victims of violence can spend some time putting their shattered lives back together. 

How far the ground situation justifies Modi’s enthusiasm for election is a matter of conjecture. As far as the situation on the ground is concerned, things are still not normal in any sense of the term. There have been curfews in and around Ahmedabad where people have been killed. Some 13,000 people are still languishing in camps. Amid all this, the VHP has stated that it will continue with its divisive programmes. 

Since the state assembly was dissolved, the Modi government has been systematically delisting camps and cutting down on supplies to them. Many have been literally forced out of their last refuge, after having lost their homes, their sources of livelihood, and their very place in the web of life, with former neighbours threatening to boycott them socially and economically.

It is difficult to understand the government's policy not to help Muslims. Things would have been less difficult if there were other political parties to turn to. But there is no sign of Congress presence.

It is a cruel joke to ask those still homeless and jobless after the carnage to exercise their voting rights. The Sangh Parivar sees election to the state assembly as an exercise in riding back to power on the crest of hatred of the minorities.

¯ Abdul Hafiz Lakhani, Ahmedabad

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