NARENDRA Modi’s landslide victory, as predicted by Organiser right through the state election campaign, has brought forth many aspects of today’s polity in the country. One, the third time in a row chief-ministership for Narendra Modi has silenced many of his ardent critics who carry the 2002 riot bogey as long as it takes. The fact that the chief minister has not been found responsible for any acts of commission or omission during the 2002 riots even after ten years in varied number of court cases have finally made a large number of voters from the minority communities vote for him in this state elections.
It is not just a two third majority in the state Assembly, but the vote share of BJP candidates in Gujarat also reveal that a larger number of voters have reposed their faith in Modi than ever before.
When finance minister P. Chidambaram went on record to say that the Congress has succeeded in Gujarat to “contain” Narendra Modi he depended on initial trends of election results. His statement proved to be an unmitigated disaster when Congress leader after leader started to say the same thing. But the final verdict as declared by the Election Commission of India only reaffirmed what an ass Congress was making of itself.
The opinion and exit polls in the media also revealed a landslide for Modi, though there were many in the media who grudged him his victory. A few well-known newspaper columnists and activists on TV had even predicted a miserable defeat for Modi in this election quoting un-named sources and ground realities. The fact of the matter is that in every election in the past a different kind of bogey was raised against the chief minister. One of most incredulous charges levelled against Modi has been about his authoritarian ways, which as a leader of a state where the national media and the activists had expected him to cower under their onslaught, finally proved his mettle. Even as we go to press the final tally in the state of Gujarat reads BJP: 121; Congress 55; GPP: 2. And this tally tells a story. It is quite clear that more the media builds an anti-Modi campaign more number of people go out and vote for the chief minister. The huge turnout was probably unheard of in the state as much in the country, which was triggered by the negative campaign that Keshubhai Patel and Ahmed Patel of the Congress would wean away large chunks of BJP vote share this time round.
The failure of Ahmed Patel in south Gujarat was also telling. The Congress party has been almost routed even though this time they could garner activists who claimed they had their finger on the pulse of the people. The drift of the argument in the election campaign was that even if the central government data figures paint a rosy picture of economic development in Gujarat people in the state are hugely disappointed with Narendra Modi’s performance. Even if polarization of vote banks in 2002 and 2007 elections was attributed to Modi’s win, this time the elections have been purely on the economic development, people’s welfare plank and Narendra Modi’s agenda for the state. In spite of these imponderables the chief minister of Gujarat has been able to deliver on all his promises, be they 3-phase power supply to all villages, drinking water, industrial clusters in almost all the unyielding land masses where people were left behind in abject poverty till 2002 and that left a pleasant after-taste for the people of the state in this election. This time the chief minister has promised that he will build 50-lakh homes for the poor if voted to power.
That promise alone can bring the growth rate of the state to double digits as real estate can spur all related industrial activities from construction, steel, cement, tiles, infrastructure, engineering, interior equipments, interior and exterior paints, architecture, contract labour to SEZs, commercial buildings, malls and private townships.
At the time of going to press BJP workers all over the country were jubilant over the victory of the party in Gujarat, which many independent observers considered was a litmus test for Narendra Modi. With two-thirds population of Gujarat voting for BJP and millions across the country from all walks of life, caste, religion, language voting for Modi as the best chief minister in the country it is becoming quite clear that the future of India beckons a leader like Narendra Modi.