Facing criticism over his polarising personality causing the NDA split, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi used the 38th anniversary of the Emergency on Wednesday to recall his days as a foot-soldier of a broad anti-Congress coalition from 1975 to 1977, hinting ideological differences shouldn’t matter when national interest demanded convergence of efforts.
The veiled message: none should be considered a political untouchable. Modi’s blog post also sought to appropriate the legacy of the JP movement – the first socialist-Hindutva alliance to beat Indira Gandhi – at a time when the JD(U) has quit the NDA.
“The Emergency gave a wonderful opportunity to work with a wide spectrum of leaders and organisations fighting for the same goal. It enabled us to work beyond institutions we had been brought up with,” Modi wrote in his blog on Wednesday. “From stalwarts of our family, Atal ji, Advani ji.... to socialists like Shri George Fernandes...., we got inspired by leaders who belonged to different schools of thought.”
Considered a hated figure among Muslims due to the Gujarat riots of 2002, Modi recalled of working with “prominent Muslim leader the late Shri Habib-ur-Rahman”.
“It was as if a vibrant confluence of thoughts and ideologies had taken place for a larger good. Rising over differences of caste, creed, community or religion we were working with our common objective -- to uphold the democratic ethos of the country,” he said.