By refusing to put Muslim fears to rest, Mr Modi feeds them. By
clinging to the anti-Muslim vote, he nurtures it. India at its finest
is a joyous cacophony of peoples and faiths, of holy men and rebels.
The best of them, such as the late columnist Khushwant Singh
are painfully aware of the damage caused by communal hatred. Mr Modi
might start well in Delhi but sooner or later he will have to cope
with a sectarian slaughter or a crisis with Pakistan—and nobody,
least of all the modernisers praising him now, knows what he will do
nor how Muslims, in turn, will react to such a divisive man.
If Mr Modi were to explain his role in the violence and show genuine
remorse, we would consider backing him, but he never has; it would be
wrong for a man who has thrived on division to become prime minister
of a country as fissile as India. We do not find the prospect of a
government led by Congress under Mr Gandhi an inspiring one. But we
have to recommend it to Indians as the less disturbing option.
If, more probably, victory goes to the BJP, its coalition partners should hold out for a prime minister other than Mr Modi. And if they still choose Mr Modi? We would wish him well, and we
would be delighted for him to prove us wrong by governing India in a
modern, honest and fair way. But for now he should be judged on his
record—which is that of a man who is still associated with sectarian
hatred. There is nothing modern, honest or fair about that. India