Pratap Bhanu Mehta in the Indian Express on the challenges before the BJP:
...too strong a projection of Modi complicates issues for the BJP. The BJP’s hardcore supporters tend to be an oddly apolitical bunch. Their own sense of certainty makes them tone deaf to the circumstances of politics. Politics at a national level requires a capacity to be able to negotiate diverse constituencies. Hazariprasad Dwivedi’s sage observation that “Bharat ka lok nayak wohi ho sakta hai jo samanvaye kar sake” remains as true now as ever. Semi-presidential politics can work at the state level. But it does not automatically translate into the capacity to inspire confidence of a wide range of political sensibilities and allies. This is generally a challenge in a large parliamentary system. This is why state leaders are unable to transcend their states. And the BJP should not descend into the self-defeating narcissism of thinking that it does not need a strong NDA. Atal Bihari Vajpayee gave the BJP an unparalleled advantage in part because his persona, for all its failings, could project a credible liberality. Machiavelli warned that we should esteem those who are liberal, not those who decide to become one. This warning still hovers over any assessment of Modi. But he will be more acceptable if he is ensconced in a structure that is more reassuringly liberal than he is....
But the truth is that there was fairly widespread tacit, if not explicit, ideological approval of the riots. The issue is not whether Modi apologises, but whether Gujarat can have a genuinely candid conversation about that horrendous episode.
Read on at the Indian Express: Making Haste Slowly
In the same paper, Tridip Suhrud points out
The assumption is that Narendra Modi is incapable of performing a spiritual act such as upvas. But this is an untenable and somewhat dangerous proposition. Any person, however vile, is capable of an interior life, a life that is known only to that person. To deny the very possibility of this interior life is to deny the humanity of that person. To deny Modi his interiority is to demonise him. It is not possible to open any moral or ethical dialogue with a person who is so demonised.
A more sustainable response would be to accept that Modi is undertaking this upvas for the purpose that he stated, and take that as a starting point to engage with him in a moral and ethical dialogue of what constitutes sadbhavana in a state like Gujarat.
Read on at the Indian Express: Private compact or political act?