Once a strong critic of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, Akbar on Saturday formally joined BJP and even endorsed Modi saying "In 10 years, no other politician has gone through so much scrutiny as Modi has gone through. He was scrutinised by police, central government, CBI, court-appointed institution. And those who rake up this issue all the time, I want to tell them to read the Justice (VR) Krishna report (on Gujarat riots)."
On Tuesday, the journalist wrote an explanation to why he joined BJP and why he supports Modi. (Courtesy: Economic Times)
He begins the article with reference to the bomb blasts at Modi's Patna rally in 2013. Modi called for peace between communities rather than instilling animosity between the communities, Akbar observes.
There is only one person best suited to lift the nation out of a septic swamp
"At a time when Modi could have been forgiven for being emotional, he was practical, clearly focused and determined to pursue an economic vision. This fit a pattern. In a speech on August 15 last year, he said that the religion of anyone in public service was the Constitution of India", says Akbar.
Akbar was one of the sharpest critics of Modi once. What changed his mind now? Here is what he says: "I raised questions at the time of the riots as much as any other journalist did. Paradoxically, these questions were answered over ten years by the UPA government There has never been, since independence, such intense scrutiny, or such absolute determination to trace guilt to a Chief Minister, as Modi faced from institutions loyal to the UPA government over two full terms"
Although numerous institutions were entrusted to find something, anything that could trace guilt to Modi, they could not, Akbar says.
"We are still waiting for justice in a hundred previous riots", Akbar adds, clearly aiming at the Congress for 1984 pogrom, in which people from Sikh community were massacred in large numbers.AKbar says that what India needs urgently is a 'national recovery mission'.
"When Modi talks of building a hundred new cities, they can see jobs and opportunity rise with every floor of a new township. One significant indicator of the public anger lies in a statistic: employment has grown, on an average, at only 2% in the past decade. If the rate was higher in the first five years of UPA, when the economy was faring better, then one assumes it must have sunk to less than 2% in the second UPA term. A nation that was soaring on achievement and hope has sunk into depression", he observes.
"There is only one way forward. And there is, among the visible choices, only one person best suited to lift the nation out of a septic swamp. You know his name as well as I do", he ends the article.