Gujarat Assembly Elections are just a few days away and the battle for the seat has been waged for a better part of last six months. On one side you have the 22-year reign of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headed by country’s 14th Prime Minister Narendra Modi and on the hand the challenge is thrown by soon to be Indian National Congress (INC) president Rahul Gandhi, who is finally leading from the front and is coming across as a leader who has reinvented himself and is looking for redemption and pride.
What is the USP of brand Modi? This question has been asked for the better part of last 15 years, first as chief minister of Gujarat and now for the last three and a half years as country’s top executive and year after year the brand is becoming bigger and bigger and is on a different tangent compared to your local politician. PM Modi is one of the finest speakers and is expert in hyperbole and selling dreams which look real, but are hardly delivered on the ground.
BJP under PM Modi is currently governing in 18 states and every election is being fought as a referendum and new challenge. Modi is fighting this election on the basis of Gujarat model of development (jury is still out), but the electorate of Gujarat is disenfranchised with demonetisation, GST, unemployment, low growth and PM Modi is master at diverting the attention from core issues and will whip up emotions to garner votes and also use the cliqued tag of son of the soil.
Rahul Rajiv Gandhi is finally proving that he belongs in Indian politics and is trying his level best to defeat the saffron party and has allied with different groups of leaders to form an alliance which can take down BJP. Gandhi doesn’t have a great track record of winning elections and knows that he is not a great orator, who can win over crowds with his commentary. Gandhi is trying to change his image from a reluctant politician to a suave, modern thinker and has become a big hit on social media with his witty tweets, catchy one-liners and is gaining traction among masses who are looking for a new dawn in Gujarat. Congress is also fighting this election collectively and is making sure that it is sending out correct messages to the voter (until Mani Shankar Aiyar showed up).
In all fairness on paper there is no match between PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi and deep down Gandhi also realises that. Modi is a seasoned politician who has risen from the grassroots (selling tea) where Gandhi got everything on the platter because of dynasty and entitlement. PM Modi has a great track record of development (open to debate) and is a leader who is his own man and has made BJP an election winning machine. This particular election will set the agenda for 2019 Lok Sabha elections and could decide the destiny of Grand Old Party under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. Gujarat elections are too close to call and if Rahul Gandhi can pull one over Modi than the coronation has served its purpose and Gandhi might revive the 132-year-old political party out of decay.