Leave aside questions about a man's participation in, or blind eye to, great crime. Like with development, if there are those who point to testimonies and affidavits, there are others who say, there has not been a single conviction. Nobody is going to agree on these things either, so leave them aside too.
Take instead two events we can agree on: About sixty Indians were torched on a train in late February of 2002. Across the state where this happened, over the following days and weeks, something like a thousand more Indians were slaughtered.
We agree on that much, right? You and I?
If so, let me submit: Anywhere else in India, anywhere else in the world, an episode like this would qualify as a colossal collapse of law and order. It is the single worst breakdown of law and order in India in the 21st Century. Measured by Indian lives snuffed out, it is the single worst outbreak of terrorism in India in the 21st Century.
Yet people speak of the man who was in office during the killings of 2002, the highest elected official in the state then as he is today, as a potential Prime Minister. Why?
After all, remember the slaughter of 175 Indians in Bombay two months ago. That tragedy caused great outrage over the collapse of law and order in the city. It triggered the resignation of the two highest elected officials in the state -- the Chief Minister and his Deputy Chief Minister -- and the resignation of the elected official at the Centre directly charged with administering law and order in the nation. India's Home Minister, no less.
After what happened in his state in 2002, why have we not applied the same standard to the Chief Minister of Gujarat?
So leave aside foreign investment, the Nano, a visa denied, the numbers of equally venal politicians elsewhere in this country, praise from prominent businessfolks, two election landslides won, accusations and counter-accusations, excellent roads and infrastructure in Gujarat.
Focus instead on just one thing: while this man was Chief Minister, his state went through a blood-soaked convulsion like it has never seen. Like this country has seen only once or twice in its history.
Why is he still Chief Minister? Indeed, why would we want him to be Prime Minister?
One effort to raise this question is this petition. Take a look.