FLYING in the face of nay sayers, the Gujarat Assembly election verdict has rewritten the script for political success. For one, it has turned on its head the theory that good economics does not necessarily make for good politics. And two, it has clearly demonstrated that nothing succeeds like good governance and people-centric inclusive development at all levels.
The historic hat trick victory for incumbent Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, now the undisputed Vikas Purush of the country, is a thumping mandate for pro-incumbency where the very mature and politically enlightened electorate of one of the country’s most developed and industrialised state have, in their wisdom, decided to bring back to power a leader whose single-minded agenda over the past decade has been the development of Gujarat and the prosperity of its people. In a show of statesmanship, the CM, while addressing party workers after the historic win has given the credit of the victory to the six crore Gujaratis who have stood steadfastly behind him and have egged him to do even better with each successive term. As Modiji has rightly pointed out, the state of Gujarat has voted for continuity and accountability of the ruling party with its sights set firmly on the future.
That the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has not only been able to replicate its previous performance at the hustings, sweeping the elections with almost two-thirds majority of 115 seats in a 182 seat Assembly but that too for a third successive five year term only goes to show that its not divisive, polarising politics but ultimately the hard work and dedication of a focussed and extremely able administrator which has paid rich dividends. The fact that Modiji’s 2012 victory has cut across religious lines as well with minorities too coming out to vote in the CM’s favour shows that the polarising politics being practised by the Congress in Gujarat has got no takers.
What else can explain the fact that even in Saurashtra which is currently facing an acute water crisis on account of a bad monsoon season, the electorate has voted convincingly in favour of the ruling party. Quips Dilip Patel, a farmer hailing from Rajkot, “how can we blame Modiji for the vagaries of nature?” According to him, it is Modiji who is responsible for the great roads, world-class infrastructure and industrialisation of Gujarat.
It’s not surprising that the Congress, despite its best efforts to tarnish Modiji’s enviable track record of development was not able to milk what it thought was the angst of the Patel community. Nor, for that matter, was former Gujarat CM Keshubhai Patel with his freshly minted Gujarat Parivartan Party. While several political pundits were of the opinion that the GPP would damage the BJP’s poll prospects specially in Saurashtra since a majority of the Patel community originate from this region., the party was barely able to register its presence in the final tally with just two seats.
The Congress has barely been able to hold on to its seat tally of 2007 and several of its heavy weights including state party President Arjun Modhwadia and Leader of the Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil have bitten the dust and have been forced to tender their resignations for the poll debacle. As Modiji astutely pointed out in his victory speech, their Manifesto bribery failed to entice the electorate which once again displayed a rare maturity while choosing the BJP instead with its rock-solid track record of delivering governance on the ground. The much-publicised Ghar-nu-ghar scheme of the Congress party in particular came a cropper even though the Congress President Sonia Gandhi personally inaugurated a sample house made by the party to lure voters! The dream houses planned by the Congress for the poor were clearly seen for what they were – just castles in the air.
In the ultimate analysis, Verdict 2012 may well turn out to be a watershed in the country’s political history. It clearly demonstrates that pro-incumbency may actually be a formidable factor to beat specially if the incumbent has demonstrated an ability to live up to the aspirations of his electorate. At a time when the demographic profile of Indian voters is rapidly transforming and a majority of those entering poll booths are young, aspiring, educated and enlightened, it is leaders like the Gujarat CM with his innate ability to connect with them and translate their aspirations into reality who will be the game changers. The narrative has changed and a new dimension has been added which has altered the way people view their leaders in much the same fashion as the Gujarat CM added a new dimension to the way campaigning can be done through his eye-catching and vote-winning 3D holographic projection avatars. A grassroots sincere son-of-the soil may well herald the eclipse of dynastic politics if the Gujarat Assembly elections verdict are anything to go by.