Email campaign to boost Modi’s image on Godhra anniversary

February 27th, 2009 - 7:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Narendra ModiAhmedabad, Feb 27 (IANS) An email campaign to boost Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s image was launched across Gujarat Friday, seven years after the burning of a train in Godhra town killed 59 people and unleashed a communal frenzy that claimed more than 1,000 lives.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managers say the campaign was launched on the seventh anniversary of the Godhra burning as the chief minister’s contribution to the state was ignored while the media kept accusing him of not having taken sufficient action to prevent the riots in several parts of the state.

“Even after seven years of the Godhra tragedy, the bad memories of the riots in Gujarat come back. The campaign just reminds people that Modi’s contribution to the state should not be forgotten while they remember the tragedy and blame him for the post-Godhra riots,” a party MP said on condition of anonymity.

But Shashiranjan Yadav, chief of the state BJP’s IT cell, said the email presentation was not deliberately timed with the Godhra incident.

“No, it isn’t a deliberate exercise. This presentation was used even during the assembly polls in Gujarat to enroll volunteers for the party to campaign in the state. Since the Lok Sabha polls are approaching, we have sent this mail to the subscribers. Nothing more. This has nothing to do with Godhra carnage timing,” Yadav told IANS here.

Violence broke out in Gujarat after a mob set fire to the Sabarmati Express train in Godhra town Feb 27, 2002, that left 59 people, mostly Hindu activists, dead. This was followed by communal riots targeting the Muslim community in which over 1,000 people were killed,

On Friday, the party’s information technology cell sent over 200,000 emails with slide presentations to all those who had registered on the state BJP’s website since the assembly elections in 2007.

The campaign celebrates Modi’s seven years in office though he first became chief minister Oct 7, 2001, and twice subsequently in December 2002 and 2007.

“Our prime focus is Narendra Modi-ji, who is popular among the country’s youth not just in Gujarat but even in other states,” said a BJP leader.

The slide presentation comprises Modi’s pictures attending public meetings, with students at university campuses, with villagers and with police officers. It also comprises messages such as, “the most popular of the contemporary leaders, political rivals pulverised, Gujarat dreams with him, Modi shows the way how terrorists could be tracked down”.

The presentation starts with the claim that BJP’s prime ministerial hopeful L.K. Advani and Modi thought alike. It says: “Shri Advani shares his (Modi’s) thoughts on issues of national importance.”

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