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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Narendra Modi finds supporters in Pakistan, too!

While several minority leaders have expressed their reservations at the possibility of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi becoming the country's prime minister because of his alleged role in the infamous 2002 Gujarat riots, the BJP's PM nominee has found support from an altogether unexpected quarter - Pakistan!

According to a report in a leading business daily, Narendra Modi has surprisingly emerged as the favourite candidate for many across the border who want peace and trade with India.

According to the newspaper, they believe that Modi, who boosted trade and investment in Gujarat, may also give a big push to Indo-Pak trade. The report said the traders in Pakistan believe the trade exchange between the two countries could rise to over USD 5 billion by 2015 from the current USD 3 billion now.

On his part, Modi is yet to make public his ideas on foreign policy, as against former BJP prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who famously stood for "no possibility of war with Pakistan".

In September, addressing his first public rally after his nomination as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Modi had struck a balanced tone in his utterances on Pakistan.

"Pakistan recently got a new democratically elected government, which has offered hope that it would keep aside anti-India sentiments and begin reconciliation," he had said at a rally in Rewari in Haryana.

However, Modi has also ridiculed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his failure to take a tough stand against Pakistan. During Singh's September meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, Modi questioned whether the PM would be able to do justice to the soldiers who lost their lives along the Line of Control.

Pakistani media, on the contrary, have been extremely cautious of Modi's emergence in Indian politics. Popular Pakistani columnist Basharat Hussain Qizilbash wrote in Pakistan Today:

"It will be interesting to see how this correlation between riots and the BJP works in the upcoming elections. As his party's 'Hindutva' ideology brands the Muslims as 'violent', 'criminal' and a 'threat' to Hindus; not only the Indian Muslims but the Pakistanis as well will anxiously watch how the election drama unfolds the fate of Narendra Modi."

According to reports, the commentary on Modi is not just confined to print.Discussing Modi is as big a draw on Pakistani television as it is on Indian news channels. His reaction to the dehati aurat controversy was a big draw on Pakistan news channels.
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