In my (Daya Varma) opinion, political honesty and personal integrity demands that Medha Patkar, Sumit Sarkar and others in the company mount a fiercer resistance against Tata’s Nano venture in Gujarat than they did in Singur. Will they remain content criticizing Tata? This query is the substance of the following letter in Frontline by Ramakumar. The author of the letter Ramkumar argues that “Praful Bidwai’s column (“The Road to Gujarat”, November 7) is intriguing since he along with Medha Patkar and others opposed tooth and nail Tata’s nano car factory venture in Singur, West Bengal, ruled by the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led left front.


Text of the letter: 


 “Praful Bidwai’s column (“The Road to Gujarat”, November 7) is intriguing. He criticises Ratan Tata’s decision to move the Nano plant to Gujarat as an “implicit endorsement of Narendra Modi as a dynamic and efficient, no-nonsense, pro-business leader, a validation of what the Bharatiya Janata Party celebrates as the ‘Gujarat model’ of development”. He also takes on the industrialists’ class (the Confederation of Indian Industry) for “helping erase the memory of the Gujarat pogrom”.


This is much like the original sinner blaming those who followed him. The leaders of the Singur movement were the first persons to endorse Modi’s developmental record and help erase memories of the Gujarat pogrom. Bidwai’s colleague in the Singur movement, Mahasweta Devi, has said: “It’s very bad what he [Modi] did. But when I went there after the riots, I saw that from Ahmedabad to Baroda and Surat, there were good motorable roads to the villages. And even the humblest mud hut had electricity” (see Opinion/Sunday_Specials/Review/ Buddhadeb_is_worse_than_ Modi/ articleshow/3176123.cms). She also said: “Bhattacharjee has said his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi is a fundamentalist… [In fact] Bhattacharjee is a greater fundamentalist. He hatched a conspiracy to hound her [Taslima] out of the State” (see  jan/31taslima.htm).


Mahasweta Devi was not alone in this whitewash job. Other colleagues of Bidwai in the Singur movement, such as Medha Patkar and Sumit Sarkar, as well as the National Human Rights Commission, outrageously equated Modi and Buddhadeb. They drew, for the first time, a moral equivalence between Gujarat and West Bengal.


In this process, they successfully trivialised the Gujarat pogrom and tried to discredit West Bengal’s record in sustaining communal harmony. It would appear that Ratan Tata has religiously followed the diagnosis of Bidwai and his colleagues.


Blinded by an anti-CPI(M) passion, it was Bidwai and his colleagues who irresponsibly whitewashed Modi, stamped an imprimatur on him, and transformed him into a presentable bride for the Tata groom. The CII was probably watching gleefully.” 

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