Skip to main content

Hardik factor "main hurdle" in BJP's easy win; despite Rahul's new energy, Gujarat remains Hindutva fortress

By Our Representative
In an incisive analysis of Gujarat polls, top scribe Rajdeep Sardesai has predicted that, if a month ago, he would have almost unhesitatingly said the BJP would win at least 120 plus seats in the 182 member assembly, today he would press the pause button and maintain that the "BJP remains in pole position to cross the half way mark."
Calling Gujarat "the original Hindutva fortress", with "a formidable organisation right down to the last booth worker", Sardesai says, "By contrast, the Congress in Gujarat has remained a moribund and leaderless organisation", adding, while
"the vote share gap between the BJP and the Congress appears far too wide, especially in urban areas", the top scribe says, "there is an anti-government undercurrent in rural Gujarat".
Even as sharply coming down on Modi for his desperation going so far as "to bizarrely drag in Pakistan and suggest that Islamabad wants Ahmed Patel to be chief minister of Gujarat", calling it a "particularly low blow that brings down the credibility of the prime minister's office", Sardesai says, people still do not utter harsh words about Modi. Thus, "one textile shop owner who used the word 'feku' but very little else by way of personal attacks."
As for Rahul Gandhi, says Sardesai, he "has found a voice in Gujarat", with "even his worst critics can't deny that Rahul has surprised us with the energy with which he has campaigned in Gujarat". The scribe adds, Rahul's speeches "may lack an oratorical flow (he still uses crazily long English words like 'contradictions' in rural Gujarat) and the content is fuzzy", but he has "demonstrated a more intangible human quality called 'sincerity'."
Coming to Hardik Patel, Sardesai says, he is "the X factor in this election", insisting, "Make no mistake, without Hardik playing the dramatic street fighter role, this election in Gujarat may have been yet another tepid no-contest between a triumphant BJP and a timid Congress."
Within this framework, Sardesai says, "The Gujarat model is under strain", and there is a "sharp rural-urban-sub-regional divide". He adds, "The BJP will win a majority of seats in Ahmedabad despite the Patel factor; it will have limited losses in Surat despite anger over GST. The cities are a BJP citadel." However, "rural Gujarat, especially Saurashtra where farmers have suffered from agrarian distress and low minimum support prices, offers the best chance for the Congress to make major gains."
Even in urban areas, Sardesai suggests, BJP is not without problem: "The Gujarati trader and those engaged in small and micro enterprises, notebandi and then GST were a double whammy... In a state where the entrepreneurial spirit thrives, state power or 'tanashahi' is frowned upon".
Coming to tagline 'vikaas', Sardesai says, "Hindutva remains the overpowering sub-text. In 2002, there was James Michael Lyngdoh, in 2007 there was Mian Musharraf, in 2012 there was Mian Ahmed Patel, in 2017, there is Mughal dynasty. In every election, there are warnings of a return to 'Latif Raj' under Congress and, of course, that eternal promise of a Ram Mandir."
At the same, Sardesai complains, "In no other state is the attempt to polarise communities so easily and coarsely legitimised as it is in Gujarat. The well being of the state's 10 per cent minorities don't seem to matter as Gujarat's Muslims have gone missing in this election. The Congress is silent on their plight for fear of being branded pro-Muslim and losing the Hindu vote (hence, the need for Rahul Gandhi's temple tourism)."

Comments

TRENDING

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Stagnating wages since 2014-15: Economists explain Modi legacy for informal workers

By Our Representative  Real wages have barely risen in India since 2014-15, despite rapid GDP growth. The country’s social security system has also stagnated in this period. The lives of informal workers remain extremely precarious, especially in states like Jharkhand where casual employment is the main source of livelihood for millions. These are some of the findings presented by economists Jean Drèze and Reetika Khera at a press conference convened by the Loktantra Bachao 2024 campaign. 

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

Mark Lee: A spiritual leader who thought conventional religions are barrier to liberation

  By Harsh Thakor*  The Krishnamurti Foundation of America (KFA) lost Roger Edwin Mark Lee, who was a devoted disciple of Jiddu Krishnamurti, one of the greatest and most self realised spiritual philosophers of our time. Mark passed away due to pneumonia complications on April 6, 2024, at he Ventura Community Memorial Hospital in California. His exit was an irreparable loss to the spiritual world.

Fossil fuel projects: NGOs ask investors to cut TotalEnergies’ main sources of finance

By Antoine Bouhey, Lara Cuvelier, Helen Burley*  Reclaim Finance has joined 58 NGOs from around the world, including Banktrack, in signing an open letter calling on banks and investors to stop participating in bonds (loans granted by investors and facilitated by banks) issued by TotalEnergies. The 58 NGO signatories include 350.org , Amazon Watch, BankTrack, Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR, Papua New Guinea), Justiça Ambiental (Mozambique) and Friday for Future (Uganda), Oil Change International and Urgewald (Germany).