BJP’s Thumping Win A Reminder Of Modi’s Cult Status

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Faith Overrides Flaws…BJP’s Thumping Win A Reminder Of Modi’s Cult Status

| Updated: December 9, 2022 16:06

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chemistry with Gujarat coupled with Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s inimitable electoral arithmetic, has ensured the BJP’s historical win in Gujarat.

AAP particularly played a major role in decimating the Congress to 16 seats. In the 2017 elections, the BJP had bagged 99 and the Congress had an impressive 77 seats. There are 182 assembly seats in Gujarat.

To BJP’s credit, for the first time since Gujarat became an independent State in 1960, the Congress lost its tribal base completely. 

There are 27 tribal seats in Gujarat; the BJP bagged 24 of them. I was travelling to Delhi from Ahmedabad, and a Christian air hostess, who heard me talking in Gujarati on the phone, approached me. She was a tribal from a backward district of Dang. Through BJP’s welfare and scholarship scheme, she realised her dream of becoming an air hostess.


Of course, when most Gujaratis go to vote, Vikas, governance, and development are not the determining factors. It is Hindutva, now rechristened as Moditva. Had Congress included Gujarat in its Bharat Jodo Yatra, the defeat would not have been this embarrassing. It’s widely held that Rahul Gandhi’s disinclination to take Gujarat politics seriously has damaged the Congress’s fabric.

That said, it would be unfair to blame the present Congress for all the party’s debacles. When Madhavsinh Solanki floated the KHAM (Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivasi, Muslim) theory, it ensured 149 of the 182 seats for Congress in 1985. On the flip side, KHAM disillusioned the upper class which started siding with the BJP and had the money, muscle, and manpower to reduce the Congress to 33 seats in the 1990 elections. After Modi became the Chief Minister, he brought everyone: OBCs, Dalits and tribals into the Hindutva umbrella. That move is reaping rich dividends now.

Hindutva works ferociously in Gujarat. So, CK Raolji, who released rapists describing them as ‘Brahmins’ with ‘sanskar’, has won handsomely.  So has Dr Payal Kukrani, daughter of Manoj Kukrani, one of the convicts in the 2002 Naroda Patiya riots who ‘managed’ bail on medical grounds.

Modi’s cult status could be gauged from the fact that the BJP even won in Morbi where 135 people died recently on account of a bridge collapse. Modi is viewed as Bhagwan, a God who is not responsible for anything wrong.

To capitalise on his image, Modi addressed over 90 public meetings in the last seven months. Contrast this with that of Rahul Gandhi who addressed just two. The BJP was extremely focussed on its campaigns and picked up seats where they wanted to create records. They did so emphatically.

Borsad in Central Gujarat and Vyara in South Gujarat were traditionally Congress’s bastions where the party never lost since the inception of the state. The BJP has won in these regions with an impressive majority.

Finally, while AAP has bagged only five seats, it’s this party and not the Congress that could pose a challenge to the BJP.

A takeaway from the Gujarat elections is that 2024 would be about Vikas and Vishwas (Development and Faith). This has worked in Gujarat, and whatever works in this state, the BJP replicates it at the national level. We only hope that Gujarat’s hardcore Hindutva Model does not get included at the national level.

Also Read: The Tribal Votes And Politics In Gujarat

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