A popular new government going through the motions after being voted to power; newly-elected MLAs and ministers still getting acquainted with the task ahead and the Opposition Congress smarting from a defeat that it did not expect — Gujarat is today passing through that phase where politics is not on top of peoples’ minds.
And that perhaps explains why Narendra Modi is no longer on television every day.
Yet, the past month has been disturbing enough in Gujarat. First, the bestial marks-for-sex scandal in Patan rocked the state. And soon afterwards, police bullets broke the silence in the forests of north Gujarat, killing three tribals.
And although an election win is a reflection of popular mandate, these two incidents have in a way exposed the two biggest failures of the ‘progressive’ Modi Government.
One, women – Modi’s biggest votebank – are not as safe as they should be. And two, the peace-loving tribals are now being driven to aim their arrows at the men in khaki.
As gory details of how lecturers exploited students of the PTC Girls College at Patan in North Gujarat emerge every day, former education minister Anandiben Patel — Modi’s closest aide — needs to answer some tough questions.
After the Patan incident, stories of girls being molested by teachers have sprung up from other parts of the state as well.
Anandiben is no longer the education minister, but does she not owe an explanation to the people, to her own constituency Patan, as to why she did not ensure that those seven sex maniac professors were punished in her tenure?
Just look at the larger picture... The newly-formed government, in the first Assembly session, says that ‘only’ 805 women have been raped in Gujarat in the past two years, because that figure is lesser compared to other states.
Can’t Modi’s Government see the flip side – more than one woman is being raped on a daily basis!
This might appear an exaggeration, but unrest among tribals is perhaps at its peak in Gujarat. The police firing on tribals at the Pola forests of Sabarkantha district brings into focus a larger issue: that of ownership of forest land.
And unrest is now more evident than ever across the entire tribal belt extending from Sabarkantha to the Dangs in Gujarat.
If these are election issues… then elections are still five years away.