Skip to main content

Chinese President Xi Jinping's Gujarat visit: Why Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel was kept at bay?

Anandiben Patel at Sabarmati Riverfront
By Rajiv Shah
There is a veritable buzz in Gujarat: On September 17, when Chinese president Xi Jinping was in Gujarat, Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel, who received Xi at Ahmedabad International Airport, was “missing” in action at any of the important ceremonies held for his five hours of stay. While she was “around”, she wasn’t “visible”, or to be more precise, the state propaganda wing ensured that she was not projected at any place – the Hyatt Hotel where Xi was welcomed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Sabarmati Ashram where Xi “remembered” Mahatma Gandhi, and the Sabarmati riverfront, where Xi took a stroll with Modi ahead of Gujarati dinner.
This is believed to be particularly strange, as Xi – before going to Delhi for high-level talks -- was officially a Gujarat guest. A prominent Modi biographer commented, “It is not surprising. This only shows that Anandiben Patel is a dummy chief minister.” Others called it “unprecedented”, as no other chief minister has ever been ignored when a top international figure visits a particular state. Insiders said, the Gujarat chief minister was present at almost all the occasions, but she was always seen on the sidelines, as if “watching” from a distance.
While Modi’s presence could be felt all through, insiders wondered why the Prime Minister refused to give enough importance to the Gujarat chief minister and kept her at bay. Indeed, Anandiben Patel has been one of Modi’s closest ideological protégés. There is a lurking suspicion that this has to do with the BJP’s recent setback in three of the nine assembly bypolls. Also, there have been strong allegations about an NGO associated with her family members virtually “capturing” several of the Gandhi Ashram’s activities.
The official state media did what it should under such circumstances: There was just one out of 13 photographs mailed to the media showing the Gujarat CM, that too vaguely. She is seen walking not very far away from additional chief secretary, home, SK Nanda, along with several other government officials, following Modi and Xi at Sabarmati Riverfront. While Modi is there in all photographs, even Gujarat chief secretary Varesh Sinha is more prominent than her – there are two photographs of Sinha signing MoU and shaking hands with Xi.
While state Congress chief Arjun Modhwadia believes that the “neglect” of Gujarat CM is a reflection of how the officialdom doesn’t yet consider Anandiben Patel as its boss, state commissioner Bhagyesh Jha, who “managed” Modi-Xi propaganda show in Gujarat, refused to reply to a query about why this has happened. In one photograph, issued by his department, he is seen as being “thanked” by Modi for the good job he did!
Till the time of writing this (3 pm), Gujarat government website, http://www.gujaratindia.com/ has not uploaded any photograph of Anandiben Patel receiving the Chinese president at the Ahmedabad airport. The only photographs of September 17 of the Gujarat CM on the site – totaling 10 – are those of her meeting with Chinese delegation to prepare for MoUs between Gujarat and China. Xi was not present in these negotiations. None of the 13 photographs of the MoU signing ceremony -- where Modi and Xi were present – show Gujarat CM’s presence.
The site has three photographs of the state information commissioner taking a stroll at the Sabarmati Riverfront along with Xi’s wife Peng Liyuan. They are seen accompanied by a junior Gujarat minister and a few officials. As for the Gujarat chief minister, she is there in just one photograph where she is seen sitting next to Xi – at the dinner time at the Sabarmati riverfront. The website carries 26 photographs of Xi and his team at the riverfront.
During Xi’s Gujarat visit, the media was kept at a distance, and the release of photographs and videos was officially “controlled”.

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Contempt of court? UP CM taking 'personal vendetta' against Dr Kafeel Khan: Activists

Counterview Desk
Demanding that the Uttar Pradesh government immediately release well-known paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, a group of more than 100 academicians, activists, researchers, doctors and lawyers have said in an open letter that he is being “targeted at the behest of the chief minister”, wondering, “When is an act of challenging the government a threat under the National Security Act (NSA)?”

A locked up offer? Govt of India 'not serious' in involving NGOs: IIM-A survey

By Rajiv Shah
Was the Government of India serious when it asked 92,000 civil society organizations (CSOs) in early April to “assist” state governments and district administrations in taking care of food, shelter and other needs of migrant workers, known to have been affected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’ sudden 21-day lockdown in order to “combat” the spread of Covid-19 virus, announced on March 24?

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through the Desai Foundation dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Will Govt of India, ICMR end 'perverse' practice of extracting profits from ill-health?

By Asmita Verma, Surabhi Agarwal, Bobby Ramakant*
The Epidemics Act, 1897 gives the central and state governments authority to impose any regulations which may be necessary to contain the outbreak of a disease. Some state governments such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh have already used this power to bring private healthcare facilities in their state under government control.

Dalits in India, Blacks in US suffer 'similar' humiliation: Macwan drafts letter to Trump

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights activist Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000, has drafted an open letter to US President Donald Trump following the disturbing turn of events with the murder of George Floyd, leading to widespread protests in the US. He has sought signatures of concerned citizens before sending it to Trump.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

'Violation' of migrant workers' human rights: Legal notice to IIM-A director, govt babus

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to the police action against protesting migrant workers off the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on May 18, senior Gujarat High Court advocate Anandvardhan Yagnik, in a legal notice to the IIM-A director "on their behalf" has said that the workers had only been seeking to to go back to their home states, Jharkhand and West Bengal, for the last more than 20 days because they were not paid their “earned wages because of the lockdown.”