Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi wins high marks in a report by a US think tank for his governance.
The report is prepared by the Congressional Research Service or the CRS - a bipartisan and independent research wing of the US Congress which compiles reports on areas of interest for US lawmakers. "Perhaps India's best example of effective governance and impressive development is found in Gujarat (population 60 million), where controversial Chief Minister Narendra Modi has streamlined economic processes, removing red tape and curtailing corruption in ways that have made the state a key driver of national economic growth," states the report, which was released on September 1.
The document, nearly 100 pages long, is based largely on editorials and articles. It refers to Mr Modi as a potential candidate for Prime Minister in 2014. "Among the party's likely candidates for the prime ministership in future elections is Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has overseen impressive development successes in his state, but who is also dogged by controversy over his alleged complicity in lethal anti-Muslim rioting there in 2002 (Modi has in the past been denied a US visa under an American law barring entry for foreign government officials found to be complicit in several violations of religious freedom).
The Chief Minister tweeted today, acknowledging the report. "Another recognition for 6 crore Gujaratis. US report hails Gujarat's effective governance. Jay Jay Garvi Guj."
However, the report makes repeated references to the riots of 2002 in which nearly 1200 people died in Gujarat, most of them Muslims. A footprint qualifies, "Despite his clear political and economic successes in Gujarat - in his ten years as Chief Minister the state has led the country on many development indicators - Modi continues to be haunted by the 2002 Ahmadabad riots, a topic he has never fully addressed in public. Although he is a safe bet to win a third term in 2012 state elections, his aspirations to (continued...) be the BJP's prime ministerial candidate face significant obstacles, not least the likelihood that Muslims and liberal-minded Hindus would represent an anti-Modi bloc at the national level, and the BJP's key ally in Bihar, Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United), could be expected to abandon the alliance in protest." This assessment is attributed to a series of print articles.
"Seeking to overcome the taint of his alleged complicity in 2002 riots, Modi has overseen heavy investment in modern roads and power infrastructure, and annual growth of more than 11 per cent in recent years," the CRS said.
The CRS report also credits Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
"Another positive example in 2011 has been Bihar, one of India's poorest states, where Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has won national attention through his considerable success in emphasising good governance over caste-based politics... he is credited with restoring law and order across much of the state, as well as overseeing infrastructure and educational improvements of direct benefit to common citizens projects," the report said.