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OPINION | Why Gujarat Election Result Smells Of Star Wars

OPINION | Why Gujarat Election Result Smells Of Star Wars

The BJP is set to form the government in Gujarat. But here’s the thing, the chase that the Congress gave the BJP wasn’t quite expected.

Note: The post contains spoilers for the latest instalment of Star Wars: ‘The Last Jedi’.

The results are quite clear now, even though the counting is still on. The BJP is set to form the government in Gujarat. But here’s the thing, the chase that the Congress gave the BJP wasn’t quite expected.

Through the campaigning and the counting, it was one exciting race. And, it almost reminded us of Star Wars. No kidding. The twists and turns in this election were nothing less than the excitement we had watching ‘The Last Jedi’.

In the recent Star Wars movie, Rian Johnson, a filmmaking sorcerer sidesteps every predictable beat. For the first time, we didn’t know what to expect from a Star Wars film. Gujarat, which had turned into a battle ground for the last couple of months, was exactly that.

There was no way to predict how this would end. The battle had left everyone confused. Who would win? Well, probably even Hercule Poirot wouldn’t have the answer. The contradictions would make him scratch his chin and knead his eyebrows.

On the one hand, there was Goods and Services Tax (GST), demonetisation, unemployment and quota demands. On the other, there was Modi’s ‘Vikas’. The Last Jedi begins in battle. Gujarat, was just a battle, throughout.

When the film begins, we are in the middle of a Resistance evacuation. The scene is where the rebels are on their last leg to get away from a First Order Dreadnaught, decimated after the events of The Force Awakens. Does it remind you of something else? Well, just before this election, the BJP was in control of 19 states. It may not have been a “Congress-mukt Bharat”, but the Grand Old party can’t deny the persisting fear that they may become irrelevant in the current times and with the apparent Modi sweep. In Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi and his men were limping, they had to fight the battle on that last leg.

In the movie, the rebels take out the dreadnaught, but their entire bombing fleet is lost in the process. The Last Jedi reminded us that before resistance, there’s loss. There were also cracks within the resistance when Poe Dameron, the fan favorite Resistance hero, sees an opportunity to take out one of the enemy’s biggest weapons and stages an attack in direct opposition to General Leia’s orders. In the Gujarat battle, the cracks too were strong and evident.

There was Mani Shankar Aiyar’s “neech aadmi” barb that got him fired by the newest party chief, Rahul Gandhi. In 2014, Aiyar had dubbed Modi a ‘chaiwala’ and the heaves burst forth. The saffron party wouldn’t let the Congress forget their mistakes—so they started bringing up the ‘slurs’ that were used for the Prime Minister of the country, one after the one. Both of Aiyar’s remarks, back in 2014 and now became a great faux pas in poll history.

Once back on the Resistance cruiser, Poe is greeted with a slap across the face from Leia, and an immediate demotion from commander to captain. Aiyar is almost Poe, sans the red shirt and the shining armour.

The Last Jedi was all about the myth of heroism and the lessons of failure. The next foolhardy plan concocted by Poe, Finn and Rose leads to an adventure on the gambling planet Canto Bight and an ill-advised mutiny on the Resistance cruiser. They keep failing until they learn from it. Gujarat had similar lessons for both Modi and Rahul, despite who won and who lost.

In the movie, our heroes are no longer recognisable. The impulse for goodness in Luke Skywalker, for instance, had disappeared leaving behind the grey, withered, and angry shell of a once great man. Once again, it was proved heroes are a myth. Heroes change. Heroes don’t always remain heroes.

The election results in Gujarat seem like it has been directed by Johnson. It proved how heroes can fall too. The love for Modi may not have been completely lost after 22 years, but there’s a sign of it fading. In Prime Minster Modi’s and BJP President Amit Shah’s home state, the Congress admittedly put up a tough fight. The narrow margin of victory, where the party even looked like losing at some point in the counting process just meant one thing: The BJP is vulnerable politically and they may not remain heroes forever.