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Monday, December 11, 2017


Though, the Gujarat Assembly election are like any other elections but with every passing day many twists and turns have made it rather too interesting. There is no talk of 2002 riots, the issues of demonetisation and GST are also taking a backseat and in Gujarat after a long time ‘caste’ is made into a central issue to break the BJP’s stronghold.  Rahul Gandhi has made it virtually a battle for his survival as a credible leader for which he is openly allying with the contradictory caste leaders, even at the cost of upsetting the Congress workers. On the other hand, Prime Minister Nerendra Modi and the organisational machinery under the leadership of Amit Shah are not keeping any stone unturned to keep hold over the bastion.
The BJP is trying its best to keep the elections to Development Vs Dynastic Politics, while the Congress besides caste factor, has been trying to be a soft-Hindutva party with unprecedented temple visits by the President in waiting. While everyone was thinking Gujarat to be a battle of nerves, Prime Minister Modi hitting the ground zero has suddenly changed the mood. The self-goals by Congress are coming handy in this regard.

Playing with the Fire 
The picture is getting clear with the filing of nominations and the uneasiness between Congress and the Hardik Patel led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PASS) is getting sharper. Congress by agreeing to 20 percent reservation formula of PAAS may affect some voters but whether it is feasible on Constitutional parametres, experts have doubts. Interstingly, Hardik Patel himself declared support to the Congress for accepting his reservation formula but when he announced this no Congress leader was accompaning him.
Even electorally this tacit turned open alliance is not going very smooth. The Congress gave tickets to some PAAS conveners without prior approval of PAAS’s top leadership, so PAAS leaders like Dinesh Bambhaniya had to rush to the Congress state president. At the same time, PAAS workers were attacking Congress’s candidate Prafull Togadia. Due to opposition from PAAS, the Congress had to change not only Prafull Togadia (Varachha road, Surat) but also other three seats including that of Nilesh Kumbhani (Kamrej, Surat) and Amit Thummar (Junagadh).
The aggression of PAAS workers further increased the discomfort among the Congress Cadre.
 Patidars are asking questions to PAAS leaders why they want to support only the Congress? Patidars have been reminded of so-called atrocities of police in 2015 by Hardik but the community had not forgotten that more than 100 persons were killed in riots during the Madhavsinh Solanki led Congress rule. So they are questnioning Hardik’s intent now.
The Congress has also offered a free way to Jignesh Mewani, a Dalit leader who has a goal to defeat BJP not only in this election but in coming Lok Sabha elections too. Jignesh is contesting from Congress’s safe seat Vadgam as an independent candidate.
Now that Hardik, Alpesh and Jignesh are with Congress publically, voters are rethinking supporting these three leaders. Alpesh Thakor’s candidature from Radhanpur is being opposed by none other than Congress local workers. Congress has allied with tribal leader Chhotu Vasava who helped Ahmed Patel winning Rajya Sabha election and gave five seats to him but local leaders of Congress are opposing this.
The Congress State president Bharatsinh Solanki is also reportedly upset with the high command as his his supporters were not given tickets. All in all, this circus of riding on many horses by Rahul Gandhi is turning out to be a storm in a teacup.

Subtle Communalism
Though Rahul Gandhi is visiting every possible prominent temple in Gujarat, may be taking a clue from A K Antony report after 2014 Lok Sabha elections that clearly stated that Congress is perceived to be inclined towards minorities and therefore against Hindus. Still, subtle communal card is being played from the backdoor.
There are two controversial letters circulating in social media. One is from Sikandarkhan U. Pathan in the name of ‘Jagrut Laghumati Yuvak Mandal’. The letter says that our community has been always loyal to the nation. Despite this, the BJP runs a vicious campaign against us. We are being considered as terrorists, anti-national and Pakistani.
The second letter is from Archbishop Thomas Mackwan. The letter is written in the name of ‘Archdiocese of Gandhinagar’ giving a call to defeat the ‘nationalist’ forces. Congress has not taken any stand on this.
The Archbishop has not clearly appealed against BJP but his indication is clearly against BJP and by using nationalist forces for BJP he has put his community in the anti-national bracket. Not only that, he proved once again churches have been never apolitical.
To add to this, the Congress has given instructions to the Muslim voters not to appear with beard, skull cap and burqa! Congress minority cell meeting was organised in the presence of National President Khurshid Saeed and State President Gulabkhan Raoma instructed thus. This has irked the Muslims too! Some Muslims, including an ex-president, opposed this, demanding more seats for Muslim candidates.

Rahul a Hindu?
Already a controversial visit of Rahul Gandhi to Somnath Temple, which was opposed by his great-grandfather Jawahar Lal Nehru, further created a discomfort in the congress camp. At a register kept at Somnath Temple meant exclusively for non-Hindus to register their names while entering inside temple premises, Rahul Gandhi's name was entered, along with the name of Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel. This may be an inadvertent or deliberate error by the state media coordinator, as the Congress Vice President himself did not sign the register as per the temple trust version, it is good enough to bring back his identity issue in elections.
While the Congress has been trying to raise a storm as if it is do-or-die for it in the Gujarat elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined the campaign trail with full vigour from November 27 with four rallies in a day.

Modi Mania Continues 
He launched carpet bombing by exposing Congress’s anti-Gujarat and anti-Gujaratis stand. He alleged Congress had done injustice not only to Sardar Patel, but one of the finest finance minister Morarji Desai too. Congress is all about one family saga. While Doklam issue was burning, Rahul Gandhi was hugging China ambassador. Even after the surgical strike, the Congress and other opponents had asked for evidence. He said demonetisation and GST were for benefit of country and will continue to pursue black money holders. Raising the questions on Congress’s development rack record, he contrasted dams and drinkable water to all with the hand pump politics of the grand old party.
Reminding the opposition of what the then Prime Minister Nehru did to the Somnath Temple, Prime Minister exposed the intent of Rahul Gandhi visiting the revered temple. His rallies, especially at Patidar stronghold Morbi, were with electrifying effect. His excellent communication in Gujarati and connect with the local issues is still has the same current. Prime Minister is complemented by other BJP leaders including the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

‘Tea-Seller Jibe’

In 2014, the ‘Chaiwala’ remark by senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar that was turned into a popular interactive programme ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ by Modi and his team. It seems, the youth Congress completely forgotten this boomerang and revived the ‘tea-seller’ jibe with a derogatory remark against The resurgence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's image as a "tea-seller", thanks to the Congress, has come in handy to the BJP.  It received a further boost when US President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka also echoed it in Hyderabad saying “from your childhood selling tea to becoming prime minister, you've proven that transformational change is possible.”
“Yes, I sold tea, but (I) did not sell the nation” was the Modi’s reply to the tea-seller jibe.
People in Gujarat have seen the real transformation in last few decades. Prior to 2002, Gujarat saw widespread rioting every now then. The entreprenurial community of Gujaratis has found peaceful atmosphere under BJP rule and the party is conveying this very effectively. Whether in terms of providing drinking water or taking 24X7 electricity supply to the household, Gujarat is a stand alone example. On the parametres of business friendly atmosphere also it is doing really well. Therefore, against the ‘Development has gone mad’ of Congress, BJP’s ‘I am Gujarat, I am Development’ campaign is touching the positive cord with the people.
If the pre-poll predictions and the indicators in the betting market are to be believed, BJP clearly has an edge in this election despite 22 years interrupted rule. Whether Gujarat chooses for ‘Fakir Gandhi’ or dynastic Gandhi, as remarked by the PM, will be clear on the counting Day of December 18 but as of now it looks that the continued Modi mania and efficient organisational structure that is going to be the differentiating factor in favour of BJP.   
    (with Organiser Bureau)

Gujarat Model of Development

 With only 6 per cent of India's land mass and barely 5 per cent of its population, Gujarat has managed to account for 7.6 per cent of the country's GDP and 22 per cent of its exports.
Its annual Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) growth from 2001 to 2013 (growth has slowed down since) averaged nearly 10 per cent, which is faster than the national growth.
In the last two decdes, Gujarat grew at an average rate of 5.1 per cent. If Gujarat were a country with a 10 million-plus population, this would be the third-fastest growth rate in the world, after China and South Korea.
Gujarat has been among the fastest growing states even in the past. Despite poor rainfall, it has made strides in agriculture. Unlike Punjab and Haryana, states which launched the first Green Revolution with government support, Gujarat's agricultural transformation came via the market route.
A milk revolution and largescale exports of fish accompanied the growth in horticulture and sharp increase in agricultural productivity. The agricultural turnaround-with growth rates as high as 11.1 per cent between 2000 and 2013-was accomplished despite water scarcity.

In his brisk campaign in Saurashtra region he reminded people of the transformation brought out by the BJP. “Whatever Gujarat has today is all due to BJP. The result of development brought in by Modi Ji, when he was CM, can be seen today. Bhuj was destroyed in earthquake & is flourishing. Narmada’s water is now available everywhere in the state. Congress and Rahul must see this,” said Adityanath.  

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