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Gujarat Assembly Election 2017: Development Has Gone Crazier, Says 20-year-old Behind 'Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe' Memes

Once the ‘Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe’ memes started going viral, it wasn’t long before the Congress party’s social media cell latched on to the phenomenon.

Uday Singh Rana | News18.com

Updated:December 15, 2017, 3:44 PM IST
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Gujarat Assembly Election 2017: Development Has Gone Crazier, Says 20-year-old Behind 'Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe' Memes
The BJP and Congress fought an intense battle during the Gujarat Assembly Election campaign. (Network18 Creatives)
New Delhi: In August this year, 20-year-old engineering student Sagar Savaliya saw pictures of a Gujarat Roadways bus with its rear wheels detached. He reposted those pictures with a Facebook post reading, “The state transport buses are ours, but after you board them, the responsibility of your safety is yours. Stay back, Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe (Development has gone crazy)”.

Savaliya’s innocuous Facebook post turned into a viral meme, which is said to have given sleepless nights to the BJP’s IT Cell team. On Thursday morning, the Ahmedabad resident cast his first ever vote during the Gujarat Assembly Elections. After a long drawn out political campaign, the Patidar youth told News18 that development has gone “crazier”.

Once the ‘Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe’ memes started going viral, it wasn’t long before the Congress party’s social media cell latched on to the phenomenon. Congress social media handles were soon pushing out their own versions of the meme.

Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe
20-year-old Sagar Savaliya's viral social media meme which says, "The state transport buses are ours, but after you board them, the responsibility of your safety is yours. Stay back, Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe (Development has gone crazy)."

The BJP, which has used social media as one of its most potent tools, was on the backfoot for the very first time on its own stronghold.

Memes turned into poems and poems into songs, with the Congress releasing a 2.5-minute-long Garba dance video ahead of Navratri called ‘Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe’.

All this began thanks to a Facebook post from a boy who was not even born the last time there was a Congress Chief Minister in Gujarat.

BJP social media handles aggressively pushed back against the memes and when it looked like the online battle was lost, no less than party president Amit Shah had to urge the youth of the state to not fall prey to “anti-BJP propaganda” on the internet.

But four months after his Facebook post and months of intense campaigning, does Savaliya feel that development has returned to center stage? “Absolutely not,” says the 20-year-old emphatically, “If anything, I would say that Vikas has gone even crazier in the last four months!”

He adds, “The Congress has been in opposition for the last 22 years. So it isn’t their responsibility to talk about development. But what about the BJP? Does Modi have nothing to show for the last two decades? Modi has not spoken about ‘Vikas’ at all during his whirlwind campaign. In fact, not once has he even uttered the phrase ‘Gujarat model’. Today not just me, but the entire public of Gujarat is saying Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe!”

Sagar Savaliya
20-year-old engineering student Sagar Savaliya

When asked how he felt after having cast his first vote, he says, “It felt great to use the power of my vote. Not only have I voted against false claims of development, I have also voted against a tyrannical government. My vote was against BJP. During the Patidar agitation, cops came into our colonies, homes and went berserk. We remember how we were treated. I am not the only one. Everyone in my colony was angry.”

Gujarat Congress spokesperson, Manish Doshi called Savaliya a “brilliant young man” and said that the Facebook post had sparked the fire now raging within people’s hearts and minds. “The condition of Gujarat has worsened in the last 22 years and people can see that. Hence why the sentiment of ‘Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe’ found resonance with so many young people on social media. When we got to know of the post, the Congress social media team also promoted these memes. However, we stopped after Rahul Gandhi Ji told us to,” he said.

The exit poll results, however, have given the BJP a reason to smile. Gujarat Tribal Affairs Minister and senior BJP leader Ganpat Vasava said, “You look at the exit polls result. I am certain that we will get a huge majority. This campaign is part of anti-BJP propaganda by the Congress. They are hiding behind some youth when it was, in fact, they who started this mud-slinging campaign. On December 18, they will get their answer from the people of Gujarat.”

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| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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