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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05MUMBAI876
2005-03-31 14:19:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Consulate Mumbai
Cable title:  

GUJARAT CHIEF MINISTER MODI SURVIVES, FOR NOW

Tags:   PGOV  PINR  PREL  ECON  PHUM  IN 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						UNCLAS MUMBAI 000876 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL ECON PHUM IN
SUBJECT: GUJARAT CHIEF MINISTER MODI SURVIVES, FOR NOW

REF: A) MUMBAI 756; B) NEW DELHI 2140

UNCLAS MUMBAI 000876

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL ECON PHUM IN
SUBJECT: GUJARAT CHIEF MINISTER MODI SURVIVES, FOR NOW

REF: A) MUMBAI 756; B) NEW DELHI 2140


1. (U) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has successfully
fended off another attempt by dissidents within his own party to
dislodge him. The leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP), headed by party president LK Advani, met with a
delegation of Modi's opponents in the Gujarat BJP on March 31 in
New Delhi. Following the meeting former party president M
Venkaiah Naidu told the media that there was no need for a
leadership change in Gujarat and that the leadership question
had not been discussed with the rebels. Naidu also indirectly
admonished Modi's critics for publicly airing their criticism of
the chief minister and his leadership style in recent weeks.


2. (U) Naidu did say, however, that the BJP would address the
dissidents' grievances. Observers took this to mean that the
party may give jobs in the state cabinet or in the state party
leadership to some of the key dissidents. The BJP leadership or
spokesmen for the dissidents did not indicate when any changes
would be announced, but one of our contacts said it could take
place following meetings of the national BJP leadership in the
coming week.


3. (SBU) Over half of the BJP faction in the Gujarat parliament
are unhappy with Modi for what they say are the chief minister's
heavy handed leadership methods (ref A). They claim that the
chief minister has centralized far too much power within the
Prime Minister's Office. For example, Modi has personally
assumed responsibility for key cabinet portfolios including the
Home (Internal Affairs) Industry, Ports, Petrochemicals and
Information Ministries. Some of his critics have accused Modi
of intimidating inner-party opponents and wiretapping their
phones.


4. (SBU) In meeting with the dissidents on March 31, the
national BJP leadership fulfilled a promise it had made after a
series of highly visible protests by the dissidents in early
March. The internal opposition to Modi, as well as the party
leadership's offer to speak with the dissidents, predates the
USG decision to deny Modi a visa (ref B). According to our
information the visa issue had not influenced the timing of the
meeting and was, if at all discussed, not a major topic.

Comment
--------------


5. (SBU) The central BJP leadership's decision to back Modi
after meeting with the dissidents came as no surprise to us
since BJP leader Advani had repeatedly supported Modi in public
in the face of the growing inner-party opposition in recent
weeks. It does appear, however, that the party, and Modi, are
willing to make certain concessions to the rebels in an effort
to quiet a rebellion that has refused to go away, despite all
threats by Modi and despite admonishments by the central
leadership. We expect these concessions to involve some sort of
devolution of power. Key dissidents may receive cabinet
positions or important jobs in the state party leadership. For
the time being, therefore, Modi's position appears to be safe.
However, concessions may not quiet Modi's opponents for long.
Many of his critics appear to be determined to oust the chief
minister at any cost. They may see the concessions as a sign of
Modi's growing weakness. New Delhi Poloff reports that BJP
leaders there did not expect Modi to be dismissed in the
aftermath of his problems with the governments of the US and UK,
as the party's nationalist wing would see this as caving in to
foreign manipulation in India's internal affairs. Post will
report on the Gujarat political scene's reaction to the March 31
announcements septel.

SIMMONS