People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 23, 2004
electorate in Gujarat has once again proved the old adage ‘one can’t fool
all the people all the time’ by delivering the worst possible blow to the
fascist regime of Narendra Modi who is still fumbling for words to explain the
debacle and groping to find new manoeuvres.
from the BJP tally in the state dropping to just 14 from its high of 21, a
significant pointer of the Gujarat election results that got drowned in the
ocean of news is that the BJP stalwart and deputy prime minister L K Advani has
actually lost in as many as three
of the seven assembly segments that constitute the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha
constituency from which he won.
close perusal of the detailed results showed that the assembly segments of
Shahpur and Asarwa in Ahmedabad city and the state capital Gandhinagar have
decisively voted against L K Advani despite his family camping there for a month
only that, in Ahmedabad Lok Sabha constituency once considered the fortress of
the BJP, union minister of state for defence Harin Pathak has lost in four of
the seven assembly segments.
the BJP has won in only 90 of the 182 assembly segments compared to its all-time
record haul of 128 seats bagged in the December 2002 elections, conducted after
Modi engineered a Hindutva wave by spewing venom against the minorities during
his two-month-long ‘Gaurav Yatra’.
election results this time have clearly indicated that arousal of communal
sentiments, which worked wonders for the BJP and Modi in December 2002, cannot
be expected to fetch votes all the time.
voters’ verdict has also re-validated the contention that the BJP has remained
influential among the urban middle class which only seemed to have enjoyed the
‘spoils’ of ‘development’ as understood by the propaganda of ‘feel
the shocked BJP sits down to make a ‘post mortem’ analysis of the election
results, it is becoming amply clear that the party has lost ground in the rural
areas where the farmers’ problems were neglected for a long time.
observers are unanimous in the view that Modi’s arrogant attitude towards the
farmers’ demand for a roll-back of the hike in the power tariff for the farm
sector has cost him dearly. Moreover, the city-based middle class BJP
functionaries, heavily media-dependent as they are for their views as well as
deeds, had no idea about the extent of resentment at the grass-roots level
against the party’s policies and conduct of Modi through his tongue-lashing on
BJP, always well-geared to create a hype over its claimed achievements through a
section of media, actually met its waterloo by believing its own propaganda as
truth. The BJP euphoria was maintained with various pre-poll surveys projecting
a rosy picture for the BJP and the NDA.
as reports start trickling in from the interior areas, it transpires that many
of the respondents in these surveys had intentionally given wrong opinion to the
surveyors for fear of Modi unleashing a reign of terror in their villages. Aware
of Modi’s various ways of victimising anyone holding a different opinion, many
people in the rural areas have now confided to have told the exit poll workers
to have voted for ‘lotus’ while they have actually pressed the button with
the ‘hand’ symbol.
attitude of the rural people towards the poll survey personnel makes the Gujarat
verdict akin to the Indian electorate’s reply to the Emergency as manifested
in the voting out of Indira Gandhi in 1977.
BJP leadership, instead of starting a soul searching exercise, has gone haywire
in making wild guesses about the causes behind the electoral debacle in the
state that had given them a two-thirds majority only about a year-and-half ago.
Gujarat unit of the Viswa Hindu Parishad, which had contributed a lot in the
communal polarization during the last assembly election but remained complacent
this time, has blamed the defeat on the BJP diluting its hardline ‘Hindutva’
stand while some of the middle level activists privately say that it was the
Pope who had distributed money among the electorate in order to ensure that a
Catholic becomes the prime minister in India.
a few admit, that too privately, that it was Modi’s autocratic rule, his
excessive Sonia-bashing and the neglect of common people’s welfare which have
led to the party’s poor showing this time round.
there are indications that those who attribute the defeat rightly to Modi’s
tyrannical rule are unlikely to keep quiet for long. Modi’s detractors
including supporters of former chief minister Keshubhai Patel would certainly
raise the banner of revolt to demand a change of guard for the humiliation the
party suffered at the hustings.
supporters are reportedly arming themselves with the argument that Modi ought to
be removed as he has lost the confidence of the people, as reflected in the BJP
losing in as many as 92 assembly segments while it had won 128 of these seats in
himself was removed by Modi at the behest of the BJP high command as the party
had suffered severe reverses in the bye-elections of September 2001 in the midst
of allegations of corruption and maladministration.
is only a matter of time that the BJP top leadership takes the decision to
remove Modi from the chief minister’s chair and “show” that it is making
amends for all its past misdeeds.