Modi Shining: Vibrant Gujarat in Saffron

narendramodi.jpgSunday, 23 December 2007 was the day that belonged to Narendra “bhai” Modi as he won the Gujarat elections of 2007, thereby securing saffron governance for three more years. Modi defied all poll predictions and had a stunning electoral victory by coming back to power with near two-thirds majority. Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) won 117 seats out of the total 182 state seats and Congress won 62 seats, gaining 3 more seats from last year. BJP was ahead of Congress in all the regions except central

Gujarat .The Congress appears to have regained the ground that it had ceded after the post-Godhra riots of 2002. But, clearly, the recovery has been far from what would have helped it pose a serious challenge to the BJP for the throne of Gandhinagar. The BJP’s net loss is 10 seats; the net gain of the Congress and its allies, namely the Nationalist Congress Party, has been seven seats. Congress spin masters can’t even claim a pyrrhic victory. More than BJP and Congress, it was a war of votes between Sonia Gandhi and Narendra Modi. Congress vote bank was, mainly as it targeted, of Kshatriya, adivasi, harijan and Muslims by adopting a right strategy and by selecting candidates with the right caste and community identity. However, this was more or less not that profitable for Congress. The bigger failure for Congress was that, even though Sonia Gandhi campaigned for Congress and raised her voice against Modi, Congress still didn’t get much support from the women ofGujarat. Contrary to popular impressions outside

Gujarat, this election was about neither Hindu nationalism nor Congress secularism. It was a referendum on Modi’s economic agenda which does not have a populist component. Modi became one of the first Indian leaders who made no such promises which cannot be fulfilled and even provided free electricity to farmers. But, Congress, even after losing this election, is said to have got more closer to secular parties and specially the left parties. After winning the 2007 election, Modi is considered the successor of BJP after Lalkrishna Advani. Modi is thought to be a dynamic, hard working Chief Minister. Modi’s personality of being a macho man with a 56 inch-size chest, a leader who toils for Gujarat, a politician who will get things done in New Delhi and the Hindutva hero who will keep Muslims under control, all these, each in its own way, has helped him win the votes of a majority of the Gujaratis. Further, even the media, knowingly or unknowingly, helped him .This made Gujarat election turn from hindutva to “Moditva”, a term used by a number of news channels for, in Gujarat elections, Modi became more important than the party itself and Sonia Gandhi in her speeches targeted Modi more than the BJP and its development work in Gujarat. Modi played politics well by using all the right cards at the right time and coming back to power. 25th December will be the day when Narendra Modi will swear again as the Chief Minister and will be ready to rue again a vibrant

Gujarat under saffron shades. Anu Prakash [Ratings]