Narendra Damodardas Modi is India’s 14th prime minister and got a humongous majority during 2014 Lok Sabha elections when Bharatiya Janata Party won a decisive mandate of 282 seats and were the single largest party to form government at centre after 30 long years. Since last three and a half years, BJP has formed governments in 18 states and is now looking to retain PM Modi’s home state of Gujarat.
The battle for India’s most prestigious and developed state (open to debate) i.e. Gujarat has already begun and the ruling party is feeling uneasy ahead of the voting. Gujarat will vote in two phases on December 9 and 14 the results will be declared on December 18 alongside Himachal Pradesh. Just to make it clear, BJP has been ruling Gujarat since 1995 and is looking to retain its seat again, but this time the situation is not looking that rosy.
The unrest and discontent had started ever since Gujarat’s beloved son Narendra Modi left for Delhi and the second rung of leadership be it Anandiben Patel or incumbent chief minister Vijay Rupani have failed to deliver and for the past two years and various communities have started voicing their grievances in public and BJP is facing strong anti-incumbency and might lose its citadel, if things go awry.
Narendra Modi is a dynamic leader who is attached to the ground realities and knows the pulse of the people like the back of his hand. Modi became CM in 2002 and went on to win post-Godhra riots, 2007, 2012 elections with thumping majority. The so-called narrative of Gujarat model of development helped Modi becoming the prime minister and thinking of BJP losing Gujarat seems blasphemous. So, what has changed? Ever since the demonetisation and GST, things have gone pear-shaped and the economy has taken a severe beating and to add insult to the injury leaders such as Hardik Patel (Patidar agitation), Alpesh Thakor (OBC leader) and Jignesh Mevani (Dalit rights activist) have emerged with Congress led by Rahul Gandhi are leaving no stone unturned in trying to unseat Modi from Gujarat.
The opposition is exposing the mal-governance, lack of jobs, economic depression, social unrest and have openly challenged the Vikas model of the saffron party and after a long time opposition is looking on solid ground and BJP is facing a grave crisis on many fronts and is coming across as desperate and unprepared.
Modi saheb is a great orator and a brilliant communicator, but PM Modi is campaigning pretty hard and deliberately shying away from talking on demonetisation and GST, but is happy to raise issues such as Hafiz Saeed, Uri attacks, Rohingya Muslims, nationalism and will attack Gandhi family on various issues and the common theme being how Congress and its leaders have disrespected Gujarat and Gujaratis and never given its due. BJP is not giving records of his 22 years of rule in office and what they have done for the state but is indulging in caste-based politics, polarisation and the default technique of character assassination and personal ridicule. The narrative of Gujarat being the trend setter on economic and social factors is highly exaggerated and many studies have debunked the theory of Gujarat model of Vikas.
Can opposition and especially Rahul Gandhi get their act together to defeat the right-wing party? This looks very difficult as BJP is still the default choice and even though the Yuvraj of Congress is criss-crossing the state and temple hopping, the electorate still believes in the son of soil and would be a major upset if PM Modi loses Gujarat, but funny things have happened and people are facing hardship and trouble due to lot of policies and Modi after a long time is facing the heat and is clearly feeling uneasy and if BJP ends up losing Gujarat, then 2019 general elections will get lot more closer and could spell danger for the Hindutva party.