People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 49

December 09, 2007


Gujarat: Danger Signals For BJP


Babulal Likhure


THE militant Hindutva’s mascot is in danger in its ‘own’ land, Gujarat where chief minister Narendra Modi is having a tough time to ward off his adversaries. The main threat to the Hindutva’s mascot comes this time from within his ruling BJP as at least half a dozen legislators have deserted the party to contest the coming election on the Congress ticket. Many more are on the verge of quitting the party even if they do not intend to jump into the electoral arena this time.


Whether it is the BJP’s own rebel MLAs, the opposition Congress, the activists engaged in providing solace and justice to the 2002 riot victims, the main aim of all is now to see Modi defeated. On the contrary, the corporate class has no hesitation in showering praises on the Hindutva icon when he tried to project himself as a pro-development administrator.


Like a chameleon hiding in the bush, the Hindutva’s poster boy quickly changed colours to show himself not only as a no nonsense leader in a hurry to develop the state, but also tried to shed his communal tag too. But the chameleon’s real colours are actually showing as many sections of the society appear to have seen through his game plan of offering a heady cocktail of Hindutva to one constituency and the illusion of development to others.


Chameleon's frequent change of colours have antagonized both his traditional adversaries and one-time friends, thus leading to a situation of apparently disparate entities all trying to unite for the common goal of having him defeated.


The Hindutva constituency, represented by the RSS outfits like VHP, Bajrang Dal and others, feel Modi is not ‘Hindu’ enough any more due to his attempts to masquerade as a ‘secularist’. But, at the same time, the secular forces and others see Modi’s hype over ‘development’ agenda only as a ploy to hide the reality of a nexus between the top industrialists and his government agencies engaged in handing over acres of land for projects whose employment generation capacity is doubtful, to say the least.


Squeezed between ‘Hindutva’ Modi and ‘development’ Modi are the state’s working class, farmers, the dalits, tribals and urban poor who have largely been proved to be the victims of ‘development’, rather than beneficiaries. 


Indications are already available that the Hindutva forces’ bonhomie with the tribals, built over the last two decades’ subtle campaign by the Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad, is on the wane. The eastern tribal belt, which had overwhelmingly voted for the BJP in the last two elections, has now become a danger zone for Modi despite his tall claims of having done a lot for them by way of announcing various schemes.  


Though the Congressmen would love to claim that the turn-around in the tribal area is due to their president Sonia Gandhi’s impressive rally in Dahod early this year, the phenomenon can actually be attributed to a new awareness among the tribals that they were taken for granted for many years.


Similarly, the BJP and Modi is facing serious trouble in Saurashtra region too where the farmers and Patels are up in arms against them for various reasons. In his hurry to enhance the fortunes of the state-owned Gujarat Electricity Board (GEB), Modi administration had roughed up and harassed the farmers so much that it led to the Sangh Parivar’s own Bharatiya Kisan Sangh whose members are now reluctant to go on for the vote-catching exercise in the coming fortnight.


With so many sections of the society baying for his blood, the sailing for Modi this time is unlikely to be as smooth as projected by the opinion polls or the pre-election surveys.


Aware of the ground situation irrespective of the survey results, the secular forces too have realised the importance of putting up a joint fight against communalists masked with a ‘development’ face.


Precisely with this objective in mind, the Congress has not put up any candidate in Bhavnagar North where CPI(M) state secretary Arun Mehta is contesting. Moreover, half a dozen seats have been allocated to the BJP dissidents while an equal number would be contested jointly with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), a partner of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).