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Dinesh Narayanan
Based in Delhi, I write on policy, politics and economy.

Narendra Modi wins Gujarat but Delhi seems farther

Narendra Modi won, decisively, again. It was never in doubt that Modi’s’ BJP would return to power in Gujarat, especially after the principal opposition, the Congress Party, showed that it was woefully short of ideas and strategy. The only debate was whether the BJP  would improve upon its tally of 117 in 2007 or not. It has ended with a total of 115, two short of the previous score. Surprisingly, despite its lack of strategy, the Congress improved its vote share by about a percentage point and converted that to 61 seats.

Gujarat BJP treasurer Surendra Patel said the results were as he expected. “I had expected this result, give or take five seats,” Patel told Forbes India. It was, however, not the result Narendra Modi wanted and targeted. The undisputed leader of Gujarat and potential contender for party nomination as the prime ministerial candidate in the next general elections was targeting to break Madhavsinh Solanki’s record of 149 seats with a vote share of 55.5 per cent in 1985. Five years before that Solanki had led the Congress to win 141 seats with a vote share of 51 per cent. BJP’s vote share also dropped by about a percentage point.

The results show incremental votes benefited the opposition more than the BJP. Even though the number of registered voters did not increase significantly, that of those who purposefully trekked to the polling booths did. Gujarat’s voting percentage went up from 59 per cent to nearly 70 per cent. As was seen in the UP elections earlier this year, women turned out in large numbers; their turnout increasing from 57 per cent to 68.9 per cent.

Had Modi been able to win another 20 seats, the stalwarts of BJP would have found it hard to ignore his claim to lead the party into the next general elections, now scheduled for 2014, and perhaps become Prime Minister if it were to win. However, that agenda remains paved with obstacles.

Without doubt, it took every bit of Modi’s brilliance as a strategist and charisma to effectively neutralise Keshubhai Patel’s rebellion and the swell of anti-incumbency. However, even that could not save many of his ministerial colleagues such as health minister Jay Narayan Vyas, agriculture minister Dilip Sanghani and finance minister Praful Patel lost. Modi’s trusted lieutenants, revenue minister Anandiben Patel and industries minister Saurabh Patel won only because they moved to safe seats.

Many leaders cutting across parties also sank. State BJP president RC Faldu, state Congress chief Arjun Modhwadia, leader of Opposition in the legislature, Saktisinh Gohil, and Gujarat Parivartan Party’s Gordhan Zadaphia all lost.

A Sangh Parivar leader said that it showed that the personalist politics of Modi is unsustainable in the long run. He said Modi had a legitimate claim to nomination as BJP’s prime minister candidate. But that would need a change in his style of politics, he said pointing out that Modi had already started doing it. “The visit to Nagpur (to the RSS headquarters before the elections) was unusual. It meant that he understands the ground reality much better than anyone else.”

There will be those in the BJP who would see the Gujarat victory also in the context of the Congress botching up its strategy. Its candidate selection was poor and close to the polls it even let go of an influential Patel leader Narhari Amin, whom Modi lost no time in welcoming to the BJP. Party leaders have so far avoided answering the question of who would lead it in the 2014 elections.

The Sangh Parivar leader said Keshubhai has certainly made a dent in the unity of the Parivar in Gujarat. Many RSS and VHP leaders have shifted loyalties, overtly and covertly, to his side.

For Modi it will be a dilemma. He knows that within the Parivar, he would need to be conciliatory to win friends. However, the essence of his leadership is concentrated power that brooks no opposition or debate. As we had argued in a previous article, his is a personalist government focussed on keeping the spearhead sharp. Narendra Modi’s Gujarat model of development is difficult to replicate on a national stage where a large number of interests converge. Balancing that will be tough for the Modi who was on display until now. But immediately after his victory he gave indications that he may be willing to change. Modi visited Keshubhai Patel at his residence and touched his feet before exchanging sweets.

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rajinder nath
GENTLEMEN, YOU NEED TO MOVE AWAY FROM CONVENTIONAL POLITICAL THINKING. E.G. PARTY POLITICS, PAST ELECTION STATS, ALLIANCES, THIS VOTE THAT VOTE.. ETC ETC... FOCUS ON ONE WORD .PHENOMENA. .. YES PHENOMENA ..... WHEN THIS OCCURS ALL CONVENTIONS ARE BYPASSED. NOW , DON'T LOOK AT BJP AS THE SAME OLD PARTY WITH SAME OLD PRINCIPLES AND IMAGES LIKE ADVANANI ETC... LOOK AT BJP WITH ''MODI PHENOMENA''... '' HAATH KANGAN KO ARSEE KYA ....'' MODI IS A '' GO GETTER'' HE HAS PROVED IT IN THREE CONSECUTIVE TERMS IN GUJRAT.. HE HAS PROVED HIS SENCE OF GOVERNANCE AND ABILITY TO DELIVER AND IN TIME IN GUJRAT'S PITCH...HE CAN PLAY ON ANY PITCH. HE HAS MADE PEOPLE OF INDIA START THINKING AND RE-THINKING OF THEIR CHOICES. FRIENDS , BJP IS HAVING A NEW FACE LIFT, BJP'S OLD LOOKS ARE GOING TO BELONG TO THE PAST TENSE. AND NEW FORCE HAS EVOLVED AND THAT IS 'M O D I' . FROM NOW ONWARDS THINK 'MODI BJP'.. NOT JUST 'BJP'.... OK.. YOU ARE THINKING OF VOTES... WELL INDIA IS IN ITSELF IS A PHENOMENA... 'EVER HEARD OF CHANGE OF HEARTS ? PEOPLE OF INDIA COMPRISE OF MEN WOMEN RICH POOR OF DIFFERENT CASTE COLOUR AND CREED...AT THE END OF THE DAY THEY ALL APPRECIATE RESULTS . NOT FALSE PROMISES. BUT PROMISES TRANSFORMED IN TO REALITY.. AND THAT IS MODI. GUJRAT IS HIS PORTFOLIO. GUJARATI PEOPLE HINDU MUSLIM AND THE REST ALL ARE HIS REFERENCES... HIS RESUME IS FAULTLESS, FLAWLESS. IN A DEMOCRACY PEOPLE KNOW HE WILL BE APPOINTED TO HOIST THE TRICOLOUR AT THE RED FORT ONLY THROUGH MANDATE.. THEY WILL GIVE IT TO HIM . BECAUSE HIM, THEY WILL GIVE IT TO BJP.. BECAUSE OF HIM THEY WILL WITHDRAW FROM CONGRESS AND THE REST OF THE PARTIES OF OPPORTUNISTS AND IDEALISTIC EMOTIONAL SHNOOKS. BEFORE I FORGET,LET ME TELL YOU, THAT MAN DOES NOT READ HIS SPEACH.. HE SPEAKS SPONTANEOUSLY.HE IS A GOOD ORATOR TOO. MOREOVER HE IS SELFLESS. HE HAS AN AURA. WHICH, BY HIS RESOLVE , DETERMINATION AND EXPERIENCE IS ACQUIRING MORE LUMINOSITY BY THE DAY.. HOWEVER, HE IS A HUMAN. AND TO ERR IS HUMAN. AND ARN'T WE ALL LEARN BY TRIAL AND ERROR ?. YOU GROW AND MOVE ON... EVENTS OF BABRI MUSJID/ RAM TEMPLE AND ITS REPERCUSSIONS ARE TRUE AND SORROWFUL. WHO KHOWS WHAT ELSE TO THIS SEQUEL FUTURE HOLDS. MODI, CANNOT BE JUDGED AND CONDEMNED TO ROT IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT, OF WHAT HAPPENED IN 2002 IN GUJRAT..I AM SURE MODI AND THOUSANDS OF OTHERS MUST HAVE REPENTED IN SOLITUDE. DON'T FORGET EVEN MORE SO.. INDIA IS PRONE TO CHAOS AND THERE IS ORDER IN IT TOO...AND THAT ORDER IS GAINED THROUGH STABILITY AND HONESTY .. MODI IS HONEST MAKE HIM STABLE... REMEMBER... PHENOMENA..... LIKE PHENOMENA OF GANDHI,.. CHURCHILL, JAI PRAKASH NARAIN..,AND NOW HAPPENING IN NEIGHBOURING PAKISTAN OF IMRAN KHAN..... THANK YOU.. RAJINDER NATH
The question electing Modi as PM arises only when the NDA gets majority and BJP gets more than 180 seats. As things stand today BJP is unlikely to cross 120 marks and NDA around 180. Hence Modi will be stay put in Gujarat.
I agree with u dinesh sir. Modi won eletion in gujrat but delhi is far away from him. Bjp should touch with reality, if Modi will project for pm candidte then most of d party is far away from bjp. First we understand whole samikaran in bengal; mamta or cpm will not go for suport him. Bjp will not going to win 2seats alone in d bengal. Then come to bihar there is nitish kumar who will also definatly not suport him, there is bjp not very strong. Then we come to up here SP or BSP will come out in election with very big seat or atleast 1st or second. They will suport bjp. It is impossible. Then about south Andhra, keral or tamil here bjp get nothing more dan 10 seat. In south karnataka is only d state where bjp is rulling but 2014 election yeduraapa is also there for throw out of state. If we conclude assam mizoram nagaland here also bjp has not any chance then we dont think dat only gujrat or 2, 3 state like mp aur chatisgadh vote is sufficient for making PM.
The way the article is written, it seems to imply that had Congress prepared better, they would have won! No credit is being given to decades of hard work that has been put in by the ruling party which makes voters vote for them again and again. In an assembly of 180+ seats, to imply that a reduction of 2 seats means that the leader's popularity is on decline seems farcical. Also, there is no reasoning given behind why Modi's claim to prime ministership would have been better received by BJP stalwarts if he had won 150 seats as opposed to 115. Does it takes away from his achievements in any way? I don't see any real point being made in the article apart from the conjecture that Modi needs to target women and new voters as their percentage is increasing over time. The elections need to be analysed better than this.
Agree with you Deepansh, the article is very superficial and lacks any analysis or reasoning for the points made. Given the dynamics of India with so many regional parties, Modi who has governed and developed the state with concentrated focus, may find it very difficult to create conciliatory relationship with other regional stalwarts.
Myself gujarati,We doesn't want modi to go to delhi because, for us, His policies are good for us,His commitment and hard work we all saw.We are happy with this growth model,what ever growth model u people want to apply for india apply it,we simply don't care. It's fashion to criticise modi.keep on doing same god bless you
Hitesh Rabari.I appreciate your love for Gujarat.But pl. understand that Gujarat is part of Bharat & Bharat(I don't like to call it India) needs salvation from corrupt leadership.This leadership has looted extensively our country.Our only hope is Narendra Modi,who has shown the path of good governance.It is ill luck of our country that we don't have another selfless leader like him at national level.We have very talented orators,intelligent statesmen to represent BJP, but not administrators of his calibre.I am sure,he must be having some deputies to fill up the space.Also his nomination seems to go undisputed.
 
 
Dinesh Narayanan
A senior editor at Forbes India, Dinesh Narayanan sits in Delhi and writes on policy, politics and economy.
 
 
 
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April 05, 2013 03:22 am by rajinder nath
GENTLEMEN, YOU NEED TO MOVE AWAY FROM CONVENTIONAL POLITICAL THINKING. E.G. PARTY POLITICS, PAST ELECTION STATS, ALLIANCES, THIS VOTE THAT VOTE.. ETC ETC... FOCUS ON ONE WORD .PHENOMENA. .. YES PHENOMENA ..... WHEN THIS OCCURS ALL CONVENTIONS ARE BYPASSED. NOW , DON'T LOOK AT BJP AS THE SAM...
March 04, 2013 12:09 pm by K A PRASANNA
The question electing Modi as PM arises only when the NDA gets majority and BJP gets more than 180 seats. As things stand today BJP is unlikely to cross 120 marks and NDA around 180. Hence Modi will be stay put in Gujarat.
February 11, 2013 13:00 pm by Md fahad jafry
I agree with u dinesh sir. Modi won eletion in gujrat but delhi is far away from him. Bjp should touch with reality, if Modi will project for pm candidte then most of d party is far away from bjp. First we understand whole samikaran in bengal; mamta or cpm will not go for suport him. Bjp will not go...
December 23, 2012 19:18 pm by narendra kapoor
Hitesh Rabari.I appreciate your love for Gujarat.But pl. understand that Gujarat is part of Bharat & Bharat(I don't like to call it India) needs salvation from corrupt leadership.This leadership has looted extensively our country.Our only hope is Narendra Modi,who has shown the path of good governan...
December 23, 2012 14:09 pm by Sachin Joshi
Agree with you Deepansh, the article is very superficial and lacks any analysis or reasoning for the points made. Given the dynamics of India with so many regional parties, Modi who has governed and developed the state with concentrated focus, may find it very difficult to create conciliatory ...