Free Press Journal

Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017: A tale of two PMs, and two outcomes


Narendra Modi and Manmohan SinghNarendra Modi and Manmohan Singh

When a shoe was thrown at Manmohan Singh in 2009, he ensured that no action was taken against the culprit. He was later ‘rewarded’ by BJP.

In a similar incident, an agitating aganwadi worker hurled bangles at the convoy of PM Modi on October 22. She was suspended from that date.

A Tale of two PMs  

A shoe and bangles are hurled at the Prime Minister while he is in Gujarat. The reaction and the outcome in both cases are different. The first incident took place in the run-up to the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and involved Dr Manmohan Singh, then UPA prime minister. The second incident took place in Vadodara on October 22 in the run-up to the state Assembly polls and involved Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In the incident involving Dr Singh, he had directed that no action be taken against the youth and had even asked officers accompanying him to ensure that no action was taken against the youth. On the contrary, he seems to have been rewarded by the then BJP government. And last heard he works in the private staff of a top elected BJP government functionary holding a constitutional post.

In the recent incident, the woman who hurled bangles at the convoy of Prime Minister Modi in Vadodara had been leading the agitation of Anganwadi workers who have been seeking pay parity. She was suspended from her government job forthwith and the suspension order is dated October 22, the day she hurled the bangles at the convoy. Interestingly the lady had on June 27 received the best teacher award at the hands of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama. Two people, two acts, different outcomes from the same state government. Interestingly, the present PM was the then CM of Gujarat!

Police protection for sedition? 

Should you be offering police protection to somebody whom you have charged with sedition, all the same no, thank you’. It was in these words that Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel spurned the Gujarat government offer of police protection last week.

Polls and politics make men and masters, even governments do strange things. The government of Gujarat first filed cases for conspiring to bring down a lawfully elected government against agitating Patidar leaders including Patel, and went to the extent of getting him externed from state limits for six months. Come elections and it did an about turn, initiating a process of withdrawing cases against the youth who were earlier put behind bars in serious offences and now offering police protection to their leader Hardik. Hardik, however spurned their offer, stating that this was just to keep tabs on him.

Following the large-scale violence after the Patidar community’s mega rally in Ahmedabad on August 25, 2015, the crime branch arrested Hardik and three of his colleagues and charged them under IPC sections 124A (sedition) and 120B (criminal conspiracy).

BJP’s calculation for poll target

If claim is king and calculations based on it, carry through, then the BJP need not raise a little finger to achieve the target it has set for itself in the ensuing elections. See how. A BJP leader put it across this way. There are 4.33 crore voters in the state and even if 70 per cent of them turn up to vote then it comes to 3.03 crore voters. The party is on record having claimed it has a registered worker base of 1.18 crore. An average of three members per family of every worker voting for the party would safely take them past the target set for this poll.

BJP to win 150 vidhan sabha seats?   

The BJP has gone to town stating that it will win 150 of the total 82 Vidhan Sabha seats in Gujarat. The party’s national president, Gujarat’s own Amit Shah has gone on record to state that even if it gets one seat short of this figure, ie 149, there will be no victory celebrations in the state by the party. Whether it has been done to shore up the morale of its foot soldiers or BJP suffers big time from a Congress complex is not clear. What is, however clear is that while Narendra Modi as chief minister of Gujarat, broke many records, one record proved elusive. The highest number of seats won by any party to come to power in the state stands in the name of former chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki of Congress who bagged 149 of the total 182 seats in 1985. Logically, this seems to be the only reason why the BJP would want to give this elusive gift to the one-time chief minister who is now the prime minister by bagging 150 seats. Modi already holds the record for the longest serving chief minister of the state (4610 days) through three Vidhan Sabha elections and one his own since he was not a legislator when appointed to the post. So…

147 voters called ‘Modi’ in Guj

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is never known to have missed casting his vote. He is a registered voter in Ahmedabad and will surely turn up at the polling booth in Ranip locality to cast his vote in the ensuing elections. But do you know that if all the voters registered under this name turn up to vote in Gujarat, there will be 147 Narendra Modis casting their vote? Ahmedabad district itself has 49 people by this name registered as voters and it includes Prime Minister Modi. This is followed by Mehsana district with 24 voters of this name and thereafter comes Bharuch district with 16 such named voters, Surat district with 15 voters, Patan district 13, Banskantha 11 voters, Sabarkantha district 7 with Gandhinagar and Vadodara district accounting for 6 each of the same name.