Vande Mataram

Monday, December 24, 2012

'MODI'fication of Gujarat - Bharath next?

It is Modi again in Gujarat. He has done it, despite the curses, opinion building, friends and foes, internal meandering etc. Modi has proved his mettle and marches ahead with victory. It was not a cake walk of course. He toiled for this victory and he deserves it. It is a hat trick for Modi and BJP in Gujarat. His leadership qualities and his communication skills are commendable. Some call it marketing gimmick. But they forget the fact that gimmickry cannot get you going for the third consecutive time with a thumping victory.

Modi bashers have stayed, or rather they preferred to stay, in 2002. But Gujarat has moved on and grown well. There have been warnings of Keshubhai Patel playing a spoil sport, anti-incumbency, the recent Court verdict on Maya Kodnani's alleged involvement in the post-Godhra violence having a negative impact on the Muslim voters, people getting bored of Modi and wanting a change etc.. But when the results were out those doomsayers were pointing at the difference between the Opinion poll results and the poll results. AC Nielsen said 120 but BJP got 115 only, other opinion polls were predicting 125-135, but reality is 115, so Modi magic has not mesmerized voters, was their justification since their wish of Modi getting dislodged turned out to be a day dream. 

With the voter turnout at 73.6% an all time high since Gujarat became a separate state, the poll pundits have started doom mongering from another stand point. It is a fact that higher the voter turnout, the result will be against the incumbent party. They have had all the statistical data to support their claim. Even Madhavsinh Solanki's 1980 mammoth majority was with 59% voter turnout. So, stay assured Modi will not make it asserted the Pundits. They also took a 'safe bet' of BJP getting drubbed in Gujarat even if Modi could make it in Mani Nagar.

To add to this, the NDA ally JD(U) fielded candidates in Gujarat to fight Modi. The JD(U) smart face and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is the prominent figure in the Modi bashers' camp. Nitish has his own ambitions of making to 7 RCR, New Delhi, if Modi gets stopped somehow. He is the next in line to Modi with a development face and Governance hand, challengeable though comparing to Gujarat standards. He has the boastable secular face also which he carefully preserves through Modi bashing. He is bent on making his secular credentials impeccable by pulling Modi down. There were rug pulling and holding down done by some BJP and Sangh members too.

There is a man called Keshubhai Patel. He was a BJP stalwart once. He had lead the party to victory against Congress in the past. He was a powerful personality in Gujarat and had mentored Modi during his early days. but once Modi took over as Gujarat Chief Minister after a rather disgraceful exit of Keshubhai things turned sour. Keshubhai had lost his glory in Gujarat and eventually became Modi's tormentor.  He used key occasions to inflict harassment, playing 'victim of Modi politics' and in 2012 decided to show his mettle by contesting the polls

Since none bothered about him in BJP, he floated his own outfit naming it for bringing change (Gujarat Parivarthan Party). Some of his men went with him and some people from the Sangh Parivar who were not happy with Modi's modus operandi had backed Keshubhai. Had Keshubhai gone to the people with his old track record that might have matched Modi's performance based campaign, but he went through his Patel caste base and offered freebies to voters and attempted to bring Modi down. This triggered a whisper campaign that GPP is actually Gujarat Patidar (Patel) Party.

All Keshubhai could do was get 3.6% of votes inflict damage in some 15 constituencies, winning 2 seats and still bash Modi. Modi's resounding win is not the only matter here but the drubbing his detractors got in this election. After winning Gujarat for the third consecutive term, Modi went to meet his (tor)mentor and sought his blessings. Keshubhai met the media with a longer face and said something like "Modi has given me sweets. There is nothing to sweeten now" and went off. Had his back pulling not been there BJP would have got 130-135seats as easily as possible, Keshubhai himself has conceded. 

There are other groups too which are more loyal to minority communities than the minorities themselves. They take every opportunnity belittle Hindu religion and support every move of people belonging to other religions and hence take pride in being secular.  They mainly aim for the 9% Muslim vote in Gujarat to consolidate their position. They kept alleging Modi of being the mastermind of post Godhra riots, and made the Government machinery not act against violence, despite having his name cleared by the Supreme Court of India. Many of the allegations against him have been proved to be concocted by Teesta Setalvad Javed.

Looking at the statistics it is clear that BJP has fared well in urban and rural areas. BJP also made inroads into the so boasted fort of the Congress, the tribal vote bank. With all the dents dashed in by adversaries, the BJP has managed to lose 1% of the vote share and 2 seats which the Congress gained. One laudable part on the Congress is that they have given a tough fight with Shankarsinh Vaghela leading them. But wherever the party high command's man C.P.Joshi had played a key role, the party lost its ground. Whereas the BJP has given Modi a free hand in fighting the election. Moral is, centralized leadership with total control will not work
Sonia Gandhi made fun with her words that Modi did all the developmental work with the funds from Central Government. This, probably her speech writers didn't realize, was an acceptance that the growth in Gujarat projected by Modi was true. Rahul Gandhi roared that it was wrong to attribute all credits for Gujarat growth to Modi, and was asking for a  fair share of credit for all involved. When you eye for the credit of something Mr. Gandhi, you agree something comnmendable has happened. Yet you say people suffer in Modi's rule. Come on Mr.Gandhi! Its high time you play matured politics or quit.

The Central and South Gujarat have given the BJP an upper hand. Out of the 61 constituencies of Central Gujarat, after delimitation, BJP has won 37 (it was 30 in 2007), and from the 35 of the South Gujarat BJP has won 28 comparing to a 19 in 2007.  In North Gujarat the home turf of Modi the Shankarsinh-Keshubhai duo inflicted a painful damage to BJP. BJP secured 15 seats compared to 25 in 2007 and Congress secured 17 compared to 7 in 2007. 

Saurashtra  has 48 constituencies after delimitation and BJP secured 30 compared to 38 in 2007. Keshubhai played spoilsport here too successfully. Kutch region has given the same 5 constituencies to BJP as was in 2007. 

Some advantage BJP points:
  • No leader of Modi's stature in the state so far. 
  • Development is the only agenda Modi has projected and carried along.
  • Vibrant Gujarat is not just a slogan, but a reality.
  • Gujarat is a class apart in economic freedom in the nation.
  • Ratan Tata lauds Modi for his development work.
  • The British have turned the world's eye towards Gujarat with their High Commissioner meeting Modi in person.  
  • Modi has judged the pulse of the younger generation and offers them opportunity, not freebies.
 Some Areas of concern for the BJP:
  • The female ratio of the educated population is 17% lesser than male.
  • 23% of the Gujaratis are BPL as per a 2009-10 statistics. With 7-8% of growth this is a grave concern.
  • The Vibrant Gujarat campaign should not be over done, since the BJP's India Shining campaign of 2004 back fired due to its over do. 
  • There are quite a few BJP bigwigs losing elections this time which means there some loop hole to plug.
  • The prominent Dalit leader of BJP Fakir Vaghela lost this election which may trigger a leadership crisis in the dalit bastion and resulting in Congress' Vaghela getting a joy ride on a caste vehicle.
  • Modi has to do some 'homework' since his home turf North Gujarat has inflicted some terrible losses to the BJP. 
  • With Modi being projected as PM, the need of the hour is to identify a proper successor and groom him/her.
 But overall,  this victory of BJP is heart warming and a nice way end 2012. 

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