Narendra Modi flaunts national ambition in 2011

Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was newsmaker of the year as he flaunted his national ambition with a Sadhbhavna mission after the Supreme Court granted him relief in a 2002 riot case while his stand-off with the governor on Lokayukta appointment, the Ishrat Jahan and Sanjiv Bhatt cases also grabbed headlines.

IPS officer Bhatt`s affidavit in the Supreme Court claiming he was present in the much talked about February 27, 2002 meeting of Modi and senior state police officers in which the chief minister allegedly gave instructions to "allow Hindus to vent their anger and teach Muslims a lesson for Godhra train carnage", created a sensation.

The government was also accused of targeting IPS officers who seemed to be "anti-BJP in the big way through out the years". The year saw judgements coming in the major 2002 riots cases like the Godhra train carnage and the Sardarpura massacre after nine year of the incidents taking place.

The Gujarat High Court also ordered CBI probe in the Ishrat encounter case on December 1, after the SIT constituted by it concluded that the shootout was staged by Gujarat Police. The CBI has registered a FIR in the case.

In the later part of the year, both the Congress and the BJP began preparations and even campaigned for the Assembly polls which are scheduled to be held at the end of next year.

The Supreme Court`s decision on September 12 to refer back Zakia Jaffery`s complaint that Modi and 61 other including top state politicians, police officers and bureaucrats had conspired the 2002 riots to a magistrate court came as a great relief to the chief minister who on that day said "god is great".

Sensing an opportunity to launch himself as a nationally acceptable leader before the 2014 general election, Modi launched Sadbhavna Mission, under which he took up a three-day fast initially in Ahmedabad and then in each district of the state for peace, harmony and unity.

There were lot of expectations from the Sadbhavna fast that Modi might finally – after almost nine years – express regret about the 2002 riots. However, he only declared that his policy is "appeasement for none and development for all", without religious or caste bias.

After his fast exhibiting his national ambition, it seemed that all was not well between Modi and his party, as BJP stalwart and his mentor L K Advani started his anti- corruption yatra from Bihar which was flagged off by Nitish Kumar, a staunch opponent of the Gujarat chief minister.

Modi`s another opponent Sanjay Joshi was re-inducted into the party which he did not seem to like.

In protest, Modi did not attend the national executive meeting of the BJP held in New Delhi from October 1. However, later he seemed to have patched up with Advani and supported his yatra when it came to Gujarat.

On August 25, Governor Kamla, in an unprecedented move, by-passed the elected government-appointed Justice (retd) R A Mehta as state lokayukta, a post lying vacant for seven years.

The appointment resulted in open confrontation between the chief minister and the governor as Modi not only fought the move politically but also took a legal recourse by challenging the decision in the Gujarat High Court.

Demonstrations and rallies were organised throughout the state demanding immediate recall of the governor. Modi also wrote a letter to the prime minister in this regard.

The high court on October 10 gave a split verdict in the case with one judge upholding the appointment while another saying that it was unconstitutional. Now, the matter will come up for hearing before the third judge for the decision.