For Immediate Release 22ndNovember, 2013
Modi’s political silence in Badwani, M. P.
Exposes fake claims of ‘free power’ and ‘full rehabilitation’
Mr. Narendra Modi, for the first time, in his political career, held a public meeting at Badwani, in the electoral campaign for the BJP in Madhya Pradesh. Badwani, being the centre of the Narmada Bachao Andolan since the last 28 years and Mr. Modi having taken up the issue of Sardar Sarovar Dam, as a campaign from Gujarat to Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, the entire country waited to watch what Mr. Modi would say or would not ! Thousands of adivasis, farmers, labourers, fish workers and others from the valley were also watching and waiting to know what statement he would make by raising a forum in the valley itself. They were also ready to stand up and react to anything that Modi was expected to state on Sardar Sarovar Dam, at the cost of their rights and life. Mr. Modi however did not give them this opportunity as he showed no courage to repeat the lies at the valley he uttered at Bhopal or at the Sardar Patel statue inauguration at Kevadia. Thus, all his lies of free power and full rehabilitation were proved to be as fake, since he did not display the guts to repeat his lies ! He was speechless on the issue on the issue of Narmada, he only vaguely referred to ‘development’ with no ideological content as usual and trying to blame ‘unknown forces’ for stalling the same.While the people certainly missed an opportunity to question him, as he flew away within half an hour, the situation brings forth that the real people’s power matters much more than the Modi-political power. The non-violent, non-electoral politics of social movements too can make a difference, we assert.
It was during his public meetings first in Pune and then at Bhopal that he had very confidently claimed that these two states would receive 400 MW and 800 MW of ‘free power’ from the Sardar Sarovar Dam. NBA had promptly challenged this falsehood and the claim that the UPA Government was not permitting the dam height to be raised, stalling the progress of the state of Madhya Pradesh and that the Chief Minister of Maharashtra is proving to be week by not giving consent to further construction, till rehabilitation. Modi also did not answer any questions that the NBA raised on the eve of his meeting. His false promise of lighting up the whole of Madhya Pradesh if the dam could be raised from 110 to 100 mts, voiced in 2005 from a similar public meeting at Anjad, a township adjacent to the submergence area obviously stood exposed.
Without any facts and figures, he was making such baseless claims only to promote his party with an eye on the vote bank, not only in Madhya Pradesh for the upcoming elections, but also the 2014 elections and his prime ministerial candidature. Even the congress as an opposition party in the state, with only Mr. Harish Rawat as an exception, could not exhibit its strength and courage to challenge Mr. Modi on the issue of Narmada, with huge scale of displacement of thousands of families due to not just Sardar Sarovar, but tens of other dams in the alley, affecting lakhs of adivasi, farmers and others, inspite of there being a solid vote bank, the task fell upon the NBA.
NBA, following its unique way of intervening into electoral politics adopted since 1990, in the Sardar Sarovar affected region of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, organized mass Lok Manch inviting the candidates at two places at Badwani and Dharampuri, covering 5 electoral constituencies. Most of the candidates belonging to the Congress, BJP (Kukshi) CPI, NCP, Independents had turned up in Badwani, while both the mainstream parties, BJP and Congress avoided the programme in Dharampuri. The voter-citizens and the long term agitators are obviously upset with those who did not turn up and are also knowledgeable of the push and pull applied to the Sardar Sarovar Dam without any sensitivity and concern for the displaced, for the nature. It was therefore, obviously known to the parties that their votes are going to affected and decided by their opposition or negligence to the people’s struggle on their rights. Will Modi ever be ready for an open debate on what is true development? NBA appeals to all political parties to come forward and hold an ideological debate with the people’s movements, rather than showing lollipops of smart phones to washing machines and laptops.
Saavabehan Devram Kanera Kailash Awasya Medha Patkar