Thiruvananthapuram, April 27 (IANS) For a week, the media eagerly lapped up the criticism hurled at Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi by Kerala’s rival fronts ahead of his visit to the abode of social reformer Sree Narayana Guru. In the end, it was Modi who had the last laugh.
“We should thank both the Left and the Congress-led front’s for their frequent outbursts against Modi. Due to that, he got the maximum publicity and his visit to the state was a grand success,” BJP leader George Kurian claimed.
He arrived at the airport here around 5 p.m, Wednesday and drove to the Sivagiri Mutt to participate in the silver jubilee celebrations. In his carefully worded speech, he accused both the rival fronts of political hypocrisy and won the hearts of his audience, that had turned out in huge numbers.
The rival front’s, long before Modi’s arrival, had sent word to their rank and file to keep away from the function and they did exactly that – but this didn’t dim the publicity Modi got.
And irrespective of what the two fronts had to say about “killer Modi”, people in their hundreds enthusiastically lined up on either side of the road for a glimpse of him as he drove 90 kms from and to the airport.
Modi, in his nearly hour-long speech, took on the rival fronts with ease and played to the gallery when he said that Gujarat owed its development status to the efforts of the huge Malayali population that was hard at work in his state.
Through this, he not only dismised Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s barb that this state had nothing to learn from the Gujarat model of development but also walked into the hearts of the huge Malyali population in Gujarat. Modi also heaped praise on the teachings of Sree Narayana Guru and their relevance to modern India.
“If only our country had fully imbibed what he taught us with regard to empowering women, our country would have made huge progress,” Modi remarked.
The final nail in the coffin of the rival fronts was when Modi welcomed the religious leaders from the Mutt to open centres in Gujarat to spread the message of the famed Guru.
Meanwhile, Mutt general secretary Swami Rithambarananda also had a point to make against the CPI-M, which termed Modi’s visit “saffronisation” of the institution.
“The decision to invite Modi was not a political one as we had also sought the presence of (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi, (Congress vice president) Rahul Gandhi and (Defence Minister) A.K.Antony, but it was only Modi who accepted the invitation,” Rithambarananda said.
Now, all eyes are on Modi to see how he reacts to Rithambarananda’s request to start a new universisty in Gujarat in Sree Narayana Guru’s name or rename an existing one. Should that happen, Modi will have upstaged many a Kerala politician as there isn’t a single university in this state in the name of the revered guru.
(Sanu George can be contacted at [email protected])