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Politics of cynicism

New Delhi TV (NDTV) exposed on 6 March that the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat had serious plans for a snap poll right after the recent riots in the state. Gujarat is scheduled to have elections in February next year. In fact, the BJP had done a survey to find out whether they would gain votes in the current situation. Till now Modi had been dismissing such reports as canards spread by his opponents. The document dated March 17 shows that the state BJP had gone through an elaborate exercise to gauge the public mood and plan for early elections with Chief Minister Narendra Modi personally supervising it. Three senior BJP leaders were sent to each district with a four-page questionnaire to assess whether the party workers felt the situation was ripe for an election. The questions were: will early elections benefit the BJP?; in which constituencies will they benefit?; will it be able to translate the current mood into votes in an election?; after the Godhra tragedy, what is the mood among our workers?; what impact are the riot-related arrests having on our workers, and how will it affect elections?.. A clear case of cynical exploitation of violence for political ends.

Top BJP sources in Gujarat said that the feedback was "positive," and at a meeting in Gandhinagar on March 18, Modi had stated that he was in favour of a snap poll. When Modi was asked about snap poll, he initially denied his role in this election exercise, and then threw the ball in Prime Minister Vajpayee's court. It appears that only after a meeting with the Prime Minister in Delhi two weeks ago, that Modi was made to abandon his election plan, with Vajpayee making it clear that rebuilding Gujarat should be the Chief Minister's top priority. 

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