Home » News » Politics » Narendra Modi's Leadership Trumped All Factors – GST, Notebandi & Patidar Agitation
2-MIN READ

Narendra Modi's Leadership Trumped All Factors – GST, Notebandi & Patidar Agitation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addesses an election campaign rally. (PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addesses an election campaign rally. (PTI Photo)

A lot was being expected from the three young leaders and the Congress, who were hoping to break the 22-year-old hegemony of BJP in the state. But the 2017 Gujarat state elections only proved to be a redux of what has been transpiring for over two decades – the BJP winning its sixth straight election in the state.

New Delhi: A lot was being expected from the three young Turks of Gujarat, Patidar leader Hardik Patel, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and OBC leader Alpesh Thakor. Clubbed with the pertinent issues of GST and demonetisation, the three key challengers were riding high ahead of the results. However, all that disillusionment with the government has perhaps not translated into anti-BJP votes.

Despite early morning trends giving significant leads to opposition Congress, it soon started proving the exit polls right and it looks like the saffron party is all set for a sixth term in the state.

A lot was being expected from the three young leaders and the Congress, who were hoping to break the 22-year-old hegemony of BJP in the state. But the 2017 Gujarat state elections only proved to be a redux of what has been transpiring for over two decades – the BJP winning its sixth straight election in the state.

The disillusionment over slow growth, economy, GST and demonetisation did not translate into “anti-government” or “anti-Modi” votes. While it has fared well for Congress and the party has made a clear headway in the state, BJP might still manage a lot many seats to comfortably form the government.

Speaking to News18, Dr BM Parmar, head of the department Political Science Sardar Patel University said, “Surprisingly, where we thought the BJP would lose, it has won. Of all the places, Surat, where the anger against GST was most intense, has voted for BJP.”

Abhay Kumar from CSDS had already predicted that the GST anger won’t translate into a “change” in the elections. He told News18 that analysts expected factors like GST and demonetisation to translate into anti-government verdict.

However, Kumar added, “But Gujarat elections is a lesson for all analysts. Such ruptures, small or whatever, are not going to alter the electoral equation for the party. It might make some difference, but astute leadership can recover from all that.”

Parmar said, “The Patel agitation, that should have dented the BJP’s support in North Gujarat, too, has given not harmed the ruling party and that is because the Patels are quite well-off in this region. They were not affected by the reservation agitation and the Congress has only done well in rural areas of Saurashtra-Kutch as farmer distress played an important role here.

“The splintered movement could not counter the well-organized BJP election machinery on the ground and PM Narendra Modi’s aggressive campaigning also counted. He was present at all times in the state and no local leader was leading the show."

Political scientist Dr Arpit Patadiya said, “Polarization is quite seeped in the psyche of Gujarat voters. They still think if Congress comes to power, Muslims will become empowered. That has also contributed to BJP’s return and these young leaders’ defeat.”

A day before the verdict Hari Desai of Sardar Patel Research institute had told News 18, “The psyche of Gujarat is polarized and changing that cannot happen overnight.”