Thunderous lessons from Gujarat
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Thunderous lessons from Gujarat

By TJS George

The reactions to the Gujarat election results were as boastful as the campaign rhetoric was hypocritical, proving yet again that politicians never learn anything. The BJP’s leaders were full of exaggerated claims. Congress voices were similar though the exaggerations were more modest. The khachra parties that should not have been in the field at all were too shocked to react immediately. That they were shocked was the only sign of normalcy in an otherwise absurd, unnatural, but very Indian, scenario.

There was not one Mayawati candidate in the winners’ list though she was arrogant enough to field her minions in all 182 constituencies. One of them gave his deposit money of Rs. 5,000 in coins to show that he got it through public donations. He lost. Not one Sharad Pawar candidate won out of 72 fielded. In fact the results fell into a pattern that was astonishingly clearcut — BJP versus Congress, that was it. There were only four other candidates who won, two of them belonging to the Bharatiya Tribal Party in alliance with the Congress, and two independents one of whom was Jignesh Mewani, also an ally of the Congress.

It was not only a two-party contest, it was a close contest. This is significant because the venue was Gujarat, the stamping ground of the two BJP stalwarts considered invincible. And it was a contest which the BJP knew it could not afford to lose. So they put everything into the fight, unprecedented personal campaign by the Prime Minister and, as local reports said, unprecedented allotment of resources.

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With all that, the BJP could only scrape through with a margin of less than 3,000 in 16 constituencies. In Dholka, for example, it won by 327 votes. The BSP got 3,139 votes in this constituency and the NCP 1,198. If a fraction of this splitting was avoided, the opposition would have netted the seat. The emotionally important seat of Godhra was won by a Congress rebel who stood in BJP colours — and still got only a majority of 236 votes.

In other words, if the conceit of marginal party leaders had not divided the votes, the story of Gujarat would have been different. To put it differently, a significant number of Gujarati voters is no longer enamoured of the BJP that has ruled them for nearly two decades. The Congress getting so close and yet so far must be attributed primarily to its lack of strong local leadership. The Congress campaign was a one-man charge, the one man being an import from Delhi. The party’s four senior-most leaders lost even as their party was on the upswing. Something is grossly amiss here.

On the other hand, the Congress gained momentum from the rise of a new generation of leaders. It would be a mistake to see the Three Musketeers of Gujarat — Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mewani — as mere caste leaders. It is true that their rise is the result of caste-based discrimination. Jignesh Mewani, for example, became a leader following the public whipping of Dalits by cow vigilantes in Una. But all three have shown a modernistic approach to the problems of the people they represent emphasising the  need for jobs, economic openings and better academic opportunities. This trio may well turn out to be representative of the new Gujarat waiting in the wings. Now that the Congress has had the experience of direct dealings with them, there must be an effort to bring up a clutch of credible Gujarati leaders to take over the reigns of the party in that crucial State.

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This may look too much for the Congress Party to achieve, given the absence of credible local leaders in most States. In the two major States where it is on top of the heap, Karnataka and Kerala, groupism is killing it. Rahul Gandhi becoming President is the party’s last chance to bring a new generation of young leaders to the top in each State.

He can draw inspiration from words that thunder in Gujarat. Amit Shah thundered that the BJP would get 150 seats before 11 am. He couldn’t touch 100 even by nightfall. Earlier, Gujarat’s best-known under-aged voice thundered: “I, Hardik Patel, swear by the martyrdom of the 14 Patidars and vow to cast my vote on 9 and 14 December before 11 am to oust the BJP who are torturing six crore people of the State.” The ousting didn’t happen, but the thunder is still echoing in surprising Gujarat.

[email protected]

www.tjsgeorge.info

December 26, 2017

10 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Thunderous lessons from Gujarat”

  1. Harsha says:

    Another waste writing from the congress bucket holding anti national .
    wonder when SOM will stop publishing these type of article. .?
    WASTE WASTE

    • Madhu says:

      Here is a letter from a sc judge that speaks the truth—Markandeya Katju
      Secularism cannot be a one way traffic.
      Taslima Nasreen bravely raised her voice against atrocities on Hindus in Bangladesh after demolition of Babri Masjid, but unfortunately Indian Muslims did not.
      When atrocities were committed against Kashmiri Pandits, I told a Muslim friend of mine in Allahabad that I always condemn atrocities on Muslims, so he should condemn the atrocities on KPs. He asked how he can do it ? I said you just write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper, and I will get it published, but he never did.
      And many Kashmiri Muslims instead of condemning the behaviour of some of their own community, who behaved like barbarians by attacking KPs, shamelessly blamed Jagmohan for the exodus of KPs who were hounded out from the valley.
      Many Muslims condemn atrocities on Muslims in the Middle East, but what about atrocities on Hindus, Christians, Ahmediyas, and other minorities nearer home in Pakistan ? Most of them conveniently turn a Nelson’s eye to that.
      All atrocities must be condemned, not just atrocities against Muslims. Secularism cannot be a one way traffic.

      “Multi-plural” would had been best word instead of secular

      • syed matheen says:

        We need to condemn all sort of violence there is no question of any religion or caste. we are the humans at first.
        Unfortunately those who start violence in the name of any religion or caste that is purely for their financial and political gain, the there should not be any doubt on it.

  2. syed matheen says:

    Dear Harsha,
    This a democratic nation, try to uphold the pluralism, secularism and diversity of nation.
    If it is itching you, you should itch yourself Dear Harsha, rather calling others anti national, you hold no authority to ask SOM to stop or ban articles from any dignitary.

    • Harsha says:

      Democracy does not mean, using it as a pretext, people can hide their true evil designs to destroy the nation! Secularism does not mean, you can accuse others as intolerant because you can’t commit crimes and get away freely. Today every Paki sympathizer uses it as a tool to destabilize India! Afzal guru supporters from JNU have been calling India intolerant, want the right to burn Indian flag and hoist paki flag, protest even standing up for national anthem!you may be one of those ultra liberals! But your necessity is not in India but you are more wanted in Pak or Bagladesh who need secularism! Preach there for some time and if you are still alive I one piece, you cn lecture us about secularism and democracy!

  3. syed matheen says:

    I have not uttered a word about any other country no where, nor you can ask us to go there as this is not your fathers land. Send Advani your Guru who came from your so called PAKI.
    JNU case why no charge sheet ? why no conviction ? Your government, your PM, your home minister, your Lt Governor in Delhi, your police force, your NIA, CBI, RAW, then why no convictions ???
    Why your so called nationalist, desh bhakth have an alliance with Mehbooba Mufti PDP to form Government in J&K when they consider Afzal as a Martyr ??? Fake Desh Bhakti ??

  4. Harsha says:

    I now see the problem! So, you think it is MY government, not YOUR”S! Yes, I should not have concluded your national identity! This sounds like an one sided love affair with Pak driven by Hate against India! That proves my point! Advaniji was born in pak while at heart he is a true Hindu, while Musharaff was born India while he us a true Paki! So, some people’s heart is in Pak while living in India! All they want is Bharat Ki Barbaadi! What irritates us is that these kind of jihaadis lecturing us on democratic values and secular credentials! Indians have been democratic for centuries and respected others!
    Your statement that ‘My Government.my PM, my CBI..’ Proves another point too.. No arrests prove that, all these people and agencies are very fair and don’t just act outside of vengeance like “YOU” people claim! Otherwise “you” guys would would be eliminated like the cockroaches in the “Hit” commercials!
    I have lots of Muslim friends and I am really proud of them because they feel after decades of empty promises, Modi’s team has tried very hard to change the direction towords progress! Some of them are even volunteers in a few social programs! Even when the criticize BJP, their views are fair and not “jihadi r JNU ” driven! They are
    All Indians at heart and feel this government is THEIR’ Government and Their country too ! They truely want India’s progress and that is the kind of positive criticism that India wants, not the type of the Criticism found in JNU!
    All we request from you guys is that, to let the democratically elected government function without throwing all the rumors, lies, falsehood and if people are unhappy by the end of the this term, and your team will win the next elections, you are free to make Owaisees your PM and fill the entire cabinet from the JNU pool!

  5. syed matheen says:

    You are contradicting your own statements. Let me be clear
    Was there slogans against our country ? If yes, make conviction.
    If not stop spreading false words, that there was anti India slogans when there was nothing happened in such kind. If it really happened then make convictions
    There is nothing about misuse of power, if you sending real culprit behind bars.
    Why there is no response from you on PDP Mehbooba Mufti ?? Desk Bakhti is not applicable here i guess, Terms and condition apply*
    Stop giving your certificate of patriotism.
    You have allergy with Mr. George and Me, it clearly shows what you are wearing is Khaki chadi ?

    All of us are anti national for you guys, cannot help that is what been taught to you in Shaka.

  6. Harsha says:

    How long do you guys play this card? So, according to you JNU did not support Afzal Guru,s hanging and shout anti India slogans , because there is no conviction!? Similarly nobody died in the Salman car driven over the foot path bacause there was no conviction! .Also, 2G scam did not happen bacuase there was no conviction! .And the lone terrorist Kasab pulled off the entire 26/11 operation because there was lone conviction?our judiciary is very slow and demands proof beyond the reasonable doubt and not tamper proof from criminals! That is why majority will escape or get bail! Don’t try to use it as our weakness!
    Just for your info, I am not BJP or congress or RsS or have any affiliation with anything as any pak sympathizers would assume! As I already told you, I have lots of childhood Muslim friends who share the same sentiments about India and feel much more confortable in India, unlike you! We even meet a few times a year and discuss various issues, yet never saw hostility towords the country! I see a Madarasa provided this enlightenment in your response!
    Also, political parties have to operate with the reality handed over to them by the elections and sometimes have to make some compromises to be in power! .

  7. syed matheen says:

    Exactly, the word “compromise” I will also make you clear one thing that even i do not affiliate to any party nor organization. I am a citizen of this country who respects this country beyond your imagination as I born here and I will be buried here.

    How can BJP compromise their desk bakhti ? Your only said the answer, to be in power. So they need power not desh bakhti.
    Let me put you some example.
    BJP banned beef in Maharastra, why not in Goa when they are in power since 2 terms ? power hungry? why their ideology changes and their Desh bakhti compromises ?
    That is what exactly happening, dividing the whole nation based on caste to be in power same like what British did.
    Is Jan lok pal important for the country or Triple talaq ? Is this Desh Bhakti
    Yeddyurppa 18 criminal cases against him still he is CM candidate, the lone CM in history who served jail? Is this Desh Bhakti

    I know you are an excellent intellect i hope you will try to uphold our democracy, secularism and this nation’s diversity as a good Desh Bhakth

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