Taking advantage of the recent "caste-centric" unrest in the home state of Narendra Modi over Patel community's reservation demand, a Chinese daily has hit out at the Indian Prime Minister and his much-trumpeted "Gujarat model".
"If the Gujarat model was so successful and so transformative, how could this caste-centric mobilization erupt and end so violently? Why should other states buy into the rhetoric," an op-ed by Xie Chao in the Global Times asks.
Gujarat, which was already marred by the 2002 pogrom, witnessed a major violence on the night of 25 August after 13 years. The police were blamed for the last month's violence in Ahmedabad, where Hardik Patel held the rally demanding reservation for Patel community in the state.
The Chinese daily was prompt in pointing out the differences between the two riots in India's most "developed state".
"If police inaction caused widespread violence in 2002, it was the excessive use of police force that plunged the state back into violence 13 years later... the rally turned violent due to overt police action, and in the end curfews were imposed and troops sent in," the op-ed says.
Not only did the op-ed commented on the ongoing Patidar agitation in Gujarat that is now spreading across the country, it also advised Modi to focus more on domestic issues rather than creating "a strong presence on the international stage".
"Modi has branded India as one of the fastest growing economies after revising GDP measurement, and he has also taken a strong presence on the international stage. But the Modi momentum is more talk than reality, and it is high time for him to turn more attentions to domestic, to work more on creating jobs and delivering inclusive growth," the op-ed says.
The Chinese daily repeatedly says Modi's statement "development is the only solution to all problems" and his Gujarat model that he has portrayed since the day he started campaigning for the 2014 general elections as "rhetorical" and adds that "development alone cannot solve communal issues".
"In a speech calling for public calm, he stressed that development is 'the only solution of all problems.' Needless to say, such rhetoric failed to console the state's minorities, again. Will development solve all problems? Can social problems be solved if the economy simply grows," the op-ed asks.
"Obviously, the answer is more complicated than such a simple solution of development. Economic development won't solve all problems. The fact is that fast-growing Indian states cannot save themselves from communal violence, let alone those which are struggling in poverty," it adds.
"Gujarat, after decades of fast development, is now ranked as one of the most prosperous states in India, but the nightmare of communal confrontation continues to haunt it," it says further.
It again refers to Patidar agitation to point out how economical development resulted into a communal issue in Gujarat. "Economic development makes certain problems more prominent. Recent violence in Gujarat has shown that the issue of communal inequality becomes more salient when groups are receiving uneven benefits," it says.
The daily further points out the saddest truth of Indian politics–caste politics–that prevails even today and has been causing harm to the nation for ages now.
"While Modi and some others believe that the 2014 elections were about the economy alone, caste politics still prevails. The current communal upheavals also call into question the image of a prosperous and vibrant Gujarat that Modi tried to sell to the world," the op-ed says.