India and Indian economy is currently going through a delicate phase and questions are now being raised over the slowdown of the economy and also the development of the country. Indian Republic is always in an election mode and now the next big election will happen in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP National President Amit Shah i.e. Gujarat.
Can BJP be defeated in Gujarat? Is BJP indispensable in Gujarat? Are results already done and dusted? These questions were non-starters as BJP had over the past 22 years built a fortress and the results were a done deal a couple of months back. But, politics never takes a breather and is unpredictable as anything and now serious questions are being raised over the possibility of BJP losing Gujarat.
The recent developments and performance of the government has left a lot to be desired. With economy showing no signs of reviving and not only opposition, also the veteran BJP stalwarts in Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie have been after the government for their lack of development and progress. PM Narendra Modi is a master strategist and an able communicator, but even he is having a hard time to explain to the masses about the sudden slowdown, and perceptions are being made that Modi is losing grip over the financial situation of the country.
BJP, after coming to power in 2014, promised jobs, development, growth, stability and overall promised a better India for the ‘New India’, but sadly the reality is radically different and even though this government has undertaken projects, the results are not being seen on the ground. This dispensation has been guilty of changing narratives and goal posts to suit themselves. After implementing demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax (GST), the economy has taken a hit and now BJP is trying its level best to rectify the situation and is promising its electorate that it is a temporary blip and the economic prosperity will return soon.
The elections in the state of Gujarat now are a do-or-die battle. Going by the trends, the saffron party is still in a commanding position and is still a front runner to form the government. The opposition, surprisingly, is looking stronger and Congress’ vice-president Rahul Gandhi has taken a lead against the anti-government protests. After a long time, Rahul Gandhi is showing political acumen and statesmanship to challenge the political situation in Gujarat. The local issues, especially the Patidar reservation issue, are burning topics in PM Modi’s home state and let’s not forget that, in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP swept the polls and won all the 26 parliamentary seats to stamp its authority.
If BJP loses Gujarat and that is a big if, then there will be a tectonic shift in Indian polity as both Modi and Shah come from Gujarat and, as of now, are the face of party and government. The Hindutva party and party with a difference is currently governing in 18 states and is looking very hard to beat. Gujarat might not be politically as significant as Uttar Pradesh as it only has 182 assembly seats, but if this election goes the opposition way, then the race for 2019 will heat up and PM Modi’s winning chariot could come to an abrupt halt.
Post Script: PM Narendra Modi is currently spending lot of time in Gujarat and on Sunday (October 8) visited his home town Vadnagar for the first time since general elections to launch many schemes and projects. Recently, PM Modi also laid foundation stone for the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project in the presence of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and in the coming days will be addressing many rallies for the elections. Is this the sign of nervousness or the case of PM Modi leading from the front and setting an example?