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

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.