Most Patidars voted for BJP again, Gujarat rejected congressional caste policy
First of all, it is no small task, indeed a stupendous achievement, to beat 22 years of opposition to power and yet to triumph by an 8 percent margin of the vote in Gujarat, in the midst of a highly sectarian and virulent campaign unleashed by the main state opposition party, Congress and its allies. The only other parallel in Indian political history can be found in the dominance of the leftist government in West Bengal, which ruled for more than three decades. A comfortable majority for the BJP in Gujarat for a sixth consecutive term is another categorical endorsement of its performance and development policy. It is also a rejection of the politics of ducks, of division and negativity.
Gujarat has been one of the most developed states in India and much of the credit goes to Prime Minister Modi, who as Chief Minister of the State and Chief Architect of the famous Gujarat model , ensured good governance, 24 hours a day. electricity, world-class infrastructure, safety and security for women and an enabling business environment, among others.
BJP’s track record on most development parameters in Gujarat speaks for itself. It was the only economy that consistently grew at a rate much higher than the national average. The average annual rate from 2005-2006 to 2011-2012 was 9.9% and 8.9% from 2012-2013 to 2015-2016. The average national growth rate during these years was 6.9 percent. The state has seen a sharp increase in per capita income to Rs 1,41,504 from Rs 13,665 during the 22 years the BJP was in power.
Besides the fact that Gujarat is the home state of Prime Minister Modi, it is his contribution to the state, widely recognized by leaders and institutions around the world, that put Gujarat on the world map. . Whether it was the massive rehabilitation exercise in Kutch after the devastating earthquake of 2001, the Rann Utsav which became a three month festival from a three day festival in 2005, the success of “Vibrant Gujarat”, or the impressive improvement in social indicators, the Gujarat model has been accepted and ratified by the people in election campaigns time and time again.
On the other hand, the Congress Party, which has lost considerable support across the country and suffered humiliating defeats since 2014 under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, seemed desperate to craft narratives that would compensate for the ramifications of their electoral routs stemming from their history of inept governance and widespread corruption. A leaderless and visionless Congress of Gujarat had contracted out its campaign to self-proclaimed caste leaders, who had no ideological affinity with the Congress party. The result was a complete decimation of the state leaders of Congress, all of whom lost their election.
Congress has made baffled attempts to undermine the success and acceptance of the Gujarat model. He resorted to the division of Gujarati society according to caste and used derogatory language for the prime minister, which hurt “asmita” or Gujarati pride. He even tried to project the Congress Party and its leaders as the mascot of the âsoft Hindutvaâ that they never were and never will be. He also made dishonest, unworkable and financially unhealthy promises to the people of Gujarat.
Congress also relied heavily on âPatidar Andolanâ to show the world that there was social unrest in the state. They caused unrest in the Patidar community which had traditionally supported the BJP for decades, hoping to create a rift in the BJP’s armor. Even though the turmoil led to localized unrest, in hindsight the BJP demonstrated exemplary poise and poise in dealing with what could have been worse. But the community, aside from a few pockets, has once again extended its support for BJP. They also hoped that the inconvenience caused to people due to India’s biggest anti-black money campaign, demonetization as well as problems starting the biggest structural reform, the GST, would translate into votes. for them.
But according to most accounts, as the results show, their hopes have been dashed. Their model of social engineering has failed. Patidars, Dalits, Adivasis and OBC voted in favor of development and against the politics of division. The trading community also supported the BJP. The party largely won the tribal belt with a significant improvement in the percentage of votes and seats. He once again swept the region of Surat and Mehsana which was projected to be the epicenter of the state’s disenchantment.
The results also repudiated the alleged rural-urban divide in the state. A closer look at the results indicates that the pattern of support for BJP in urban and rural areas is similar and that the ârural distressâ manifested in some pockets was exaggerated. While dominating the urban seats, the BJP managed to garner the support of around 50 percent of the rural voices. This is where political experts hesitated as they predicted huge gains for Congress. The people of Gujarat who have been wise enough to trust the BJP for 22 years could see through the lies and attempts to mislead them.
At the same time, the BJP is aware of the setbacks in the Saurashtra region and humbly accepts the verdict. It is paving the way for the next government to do some soul-searching and focus on redressing the grievances in this region as a priority.
To sum up, there may have been some dissatisfaction, but there was no disenchantment with the BJP. A poll of more than 49% with an increase of about 1.5% compared to the 2012 result, against the backdrop of 22 years of anti-nomination and consolidation of all anti-BJP forces, is confirmation of this.
The defeat of the Congress party proves that the people of Gujarat have rejected its policies, which threatened to sever the social fabric of the state, which its leaders will never recognize publicly.