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BW Businessworld

Narendra Modi's Succession Plan

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If there is something strikingly similar between Gujarat and the Gulf nations like the UAE or Saudi Arabia, it is that there are huge posters of the ruler/s plastered everywhere — on every important road, on bus stands, at airports and sometimes on T-shirts too. There is another similarity that Gujarat shares with the monarchies; speculation around who would be the successor after the monarch decides to call it a day.
Even as Narendra Modi is aiming for the top job in the world’s largest democracy, everyone from the businessmen to civil servants in Gujarat are debating who would be the next chief minister of Gujarat. The debates in the power corridors of Gandhinagar seem to take it for granted that Modi would become the prime minister of the country in the 2014 elections.

There are five people who seem to be in the fray. First in the list is Anandiben Patel, the state revenue minister. Patel is speculated to be close to Modi and has earlier held important portfolios like education, and urban development. Other candidates who may step into Modi’s shoes are Nitin Patel, the state finance minister; Amit Shah, BJP general secretary and former state home minister who is also an accused in an alleged fake encounter case; and Parshottam Rupala, the

Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat. There are also talks about Saurabh Patel, a management graduate from the US, who has in recent times believed to have moved closer to Modi. Especially after Modi made a special consideration for Saurabh and moved his constituency from Botad to Akota (an upper middle class locality) in

Vadodara, the latter considered a safer seat for BJP in last year’s state elections. Similar treatment was dished out to Anandiben Patel in recent times by Modi.

Saurabh is related to the Adani family through his marriage and believed to be closer to Gautam Adani in Gujarat’s business circles. There is also a theory that while Anandiben remains a preferred choice, her health (she is 72) could provide opportunity for others.
“The implications of the successor would be important as it would directly impact the growth model of Gujarat. Though it is beyond doubt that Modi would have full control on his successor even if he is in New Delhi,” says a prominent businessman, who owns a pharma unit in the outskirts of Ahmedabad.
While caste-based politics is limited to only some parts of Gujarat, some say Modi cannot ignore caste while deciding his successor. Whether it would be from the upper-caste like Patels, who dominate the vote bank in Saurashtra, is still a question. Still, one thing is certain. The one who is the closest to Modi when the time arrives would end up as occupying the CM office.
“As of now, I would put my money on Anandiben Patel; she is almost like Modi’s protégé, as far as administration in Gujarat is concerned. But Modi has always been unpredictable with his decisions, to an extent that it is perceived as being maverick or insecure, however you look at it,” said a senior IAS official posted in Ahmedabad.
Modi's Mis-Math
80 Toyota Innova, 25 luxury buses and 4 Boeings. That is what it took PM aspirant Narendra Modi to rescue 15,000 Gujaratis stranded in Uttrakhand according to the spin doctors or should we say senior officials with BJP.
However, for anyone with a basic calculator, little command of mathematics and if possible logic; the numbers just don’t add up. Numerous media reports claimed that 15,000 Gujaratis were rescued by their leader NaMo over the weekend. BW decided to just take a look at the claim. First the Boeing: Depending which model

of the plane we are talking about, the seating capacity of the planes differs. However, for the sake of calculation, one could, on an average, say that 400 people could travel in the plane at a time. Which means four such planes could carry around 1,600 people at a time.
Coming to the buses, one bus could carry anywhere between, 50 to 60 passengers. Which means 25 buses theoretically could carry 1,500 people at a time. Similarly, 80 Toyota Innova could carry 480 people (considering that the driver was provided by Modi administration) at a time. So, in one round-trip, the whole fleet could carry around 3,580 Gujaratis stranded from one place to another.
This also means that each vehicle has to make at least four round trips from the flood affected state to New Delhi. The distances between the two places given that there are lot of infrastructural issues currently makes it almost impossible for buses and Innova to make four round-trips. That leaves us with mere planes, which will have to make at least 7 round trips (apart from the first trip) to accommodate the remaining 11,420 passengers.

Despite being very liberal to the claims made by Modi, the numbers just do not add up. But then numbers have never added up for Mr Modi, have they?

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