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

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Law 'governing' world's tallest Statue of Unity refers to local tribals as occupiers

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant*
The recently enacted Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019 in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detentions and FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.

Ramchandra Guha on how Gandhi outgrew his Gujarati bania 'parochialism'

By Rajiv Shah
More than a fortnight ago, prominent historian Ramchandra Guha, who calls himself Gandhi scholar and not a Gandhian, came to Ahmedabad. While I was part of a small group of persons who met him at lunch, his lecture on Gandhi in the evening, where he sought to interpret what swaraj meant to Gandhi, surely, interested the selected audience that had been called to listen to him.

Trump in Ahmedabad: Did Modi display servile colonial mindset towards gora sahib?

By Rajiv Shah
Donald Trump left Ahmedabad for Agra to "enjoy" the Mughal monument Taj Mahel in the afternoon on Monday, leaving behind scores of huge billboards standing across the megacity showcasing larger than life images of the US president and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, some of them boldly captioned: “Two strong leaders of two strong democracies”.

Ironical? Hindutva is all 'fire and spite', as Muslim women become apostles of peace

By Sandeep Pandey*
On January 26, Republic Day, 2020, while protests simmered against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) throughout India, a dozen North American cities also witnessed historic protests. Indian Embassies have been witness to protests in the past. But this time it was different.

Union Budget: 24 crore people live in the dark, Sitharaman talks of prepaid smart meters

Counterview Desk
The Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), a Delhi-based advocacy group, commenting on the Union budget 2020-21, has has called it a case of missing wood for the trees, pointing out, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman "missed an opportunity to fix the economy, which is reeling under an unprecedented slowdown, with all indices pointing towards a recession."