Prafull Goradia was a member of Parliament for a brief period. BJP sent him to the Rajya Sabha in 1998 when Anandiben Patel vacated her seat on being elected as an MLA in the Gujarat Assembly early that year. Goradia’s autobiographical book highlights his own travel from a picturesque Morbi town of Saurashtra of Gujarat to Mumbai to Calcutta and to Delhi. He spent first seven years of his life in Morbi. He did his college education from Elphinstone College, Mumbai. He joined Hindu Mahasabha, a right wing party, founded in 1882 in Lahore and also made contact with RSS activists at a young age.
From the young age Mr. Goradia had thought of doing public service. He arranged his life in such a way that he does not have to depend on someone else to finance him. Wherever he lived he made it a point to keep in touch with Gujarat. He met Narendra Modi first time in 1991 at the Vadodara airport, where he came to receive L K Advani. They had a brief discussion and Modi told him to keep in touch with BJP in Gujarat. Modi was then organizing General Secretary in Gujarat. From then on Goradia came in touch with him and had several interactions.
The author bluntly says former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel used Modi to keep his arch-rival Shankersinh Vaghela down. Once Modi’s utility was over Keshubhai sidelined him and transferred to Delhi as organizing General Secretary of BJP. Their differences continue till today and now Keshubhai is completely isolated.
In 1992, Murli Manohar Joshi was President of BJP and he had organized an Ekta Yatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir to unfurl the Indian tricolor at Lal Chowk in Srinagar. Modi played a crucial role in mobilization. Goradia along with Keshubhai, Suresh Mehta and Vaghela took off to Srinagar in a car. Yatra could not be completed as there was a serious threat to Yatra. Then PM Narasinha Rao called Joshi and requested him to abandon Yatra. They reached to an understanding where few Yatris were taken to Srinagar in an Air India flight to unfurl the tricolor. Goradia had purchased thermal wear for Yatris to protect them in the cold valley.
After the horrible Gujarat riots of 2002, Goradia was vociferous defender of Modi when many other BJP leaders preferred to remain silent. In a shocking revelation, author says,” I received a phone call one morning. I couldn’t identify the caller immediately, but the voice seemed to be that of an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s office. He told me.’ Modi is no bhai or bhatija, no brother or nephew, of yours; why are you sticking up for him?’ He further writes that there was an impression in Ahmedabad as well as Modi’s sympathizers in Delhi that Pramod Mahajan was antagonistic towards the lion of Gujarat. It is also a well known fact that then PM Vajpayee had said,” My one message to the CM (Modi) is that he should follow raj dharma.”
Author says,” NaMo has risen to forget what the PMO did to him when he was Gujarat’s CM. Today he has no hesitation in using Vajpayee’s initiative to try out policy-making, particularly in Kashmir and Pakistan.” Unfortunately, this is not completely true. The Vajpayee thinking on Kashmir is missing from PM Modi. Vajpayee was positive on Kashmir. It was Vajpayee who unilaterally announced ceasefire in 2003 and favoured dialogue with all the stakeholders. This time dialogue is missing since July 8 2016 when Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter. Kashmir is burning since then but there is no dialogue. In democracy, dialogue is necessary. Had Vajpayee PM today, he would have initiated dialogue with all the stakeholders in Kashmir.
Goradia was witness to the demolition of Babri Mosque. He went to Ayodhya with Keshubhai Patel and Suresh Mehta and saw the demolition from Sita ki Rasoi. L K Advani described it as “darkest day of his life.” Author says there was different kind of feelings at Sita ki Rasoi. Religious leaders were delighted on witnessing demolition of three domes. But, political persons looked pale. The demolition of Babri Mosque proved a turning point in Indian politics.
Goradia is influenced by Hindutva ideology and obviously is critical of Congress. But, in 1983 he had an opportunity to meet Smt. Indira Gandhi at Assam’s Raj Bhavan. His friend Prakash Mehrotra, was Governor of Assam. Indira Gandhi came and spoke to Mehrotra on scenario in Assam. He writes,” I was somewhat taken aback to find there was none of the authoritarianism generally associated with her persona in the press.”