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Spirited Modi scores with Nano

Year 2008 was a happy hunt for Narendra Modi who purged his negative image from the Godhra carnage and convinced the Tatas to roll out their Nano from the state.

india Updated: Dec 29, 2008 11:45 IST

Year 2008 was more or less a happy hunt for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi who purged his negative image from the Godhra carnage and successfully convinced the Tatas to roll out their Nano from the state, which was marred by serial blasts.

The coming of Nano to Gujarat in the midst of global meltdown became a scoring point for Modi, who completed seven years of his rule in the state this year.

In developments related to 2002 Godhra riots, Supreme Court constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for re-investigation of important cases, while Nanavati-Shah Commission, probing the carnage, in its initial report gave Modi a clean chit.

Despite high alert sounded in the state due to explosions in Bangalore the previous day, July 26 saw 21 blasts across the city in which 55 people were killed and nearly 200 injured.

Over 20 unexploded bombs were also recovered from the diamond capital of Surat in July along with two explosive laden cars as people of the city only have their stars to thank.

One blast in Modasa town of Sabarkantha district on September 29 took place simultaneously with the explosion in Malegaon of Maharashtra and a boy was killed in it.

Security establishments next worry came from the sea after the revelation that a Porbandar-based fishing trawler 'Kuber' was used in terror attacks in Mumbai.

But there was good news for the state in the form of arrival of the Nano car project to Sanand in spite of stiff competition from other states who tried to woo the Tatas after they decided to exit from Singur in West Bengal.

The global meltdown, however, severely affected the premier diamond industry, largely based in Surat as most of the units had not opened their outlets till December 22 due to significant drop in demand from the US and Europe.

The SIT headed by former CBI director R Raghavan, made fresh arrests and filed supplementary charge-sheets in some of the 11 post-Godhra riots cases it was told to re-investigate.

The Nanavati commission probing 2002 riots submitted the first part of their report on Godhra carnage on September 18 saying the torching of 59 kar sevaks on board S6 coach of Sabarmati Express on February 27, 2002 was a pre-planned conspiracy.

The Commission report also absolved Modi, his ministers and the state executive wing. The term of the commission has been extended for a year and it will submit its second report dealing with post-Godhra riots next year.

Tragedy struck the state on 16 April when 41 school children between the age of 13 and 14 going for their final exams and three adults died when a bus carrying them plunged into Narmada canal near Bodeli town of Vadodara district.

In his third stint as the Chief Minister, Modi took over power in December last year. But he expanded his Cabinet on January 4 at the beginning of the year and kept it small by inducting just 19 ministers.

Congress changed its guard as a fallout of 2007 state Assembly elections, which it lost badly, and Bharat Solanki was replaced by Siddarth Patel as state party president.

First Published: Dec 29, 2008 11:29 IST