What message is the Modi wave giving in Gujarat, which is looking bigger than before?

BJP has dominated every parliamentary election in Gujarat since 1989. Especially in 2014 and 2019, BJP had won all 26 seats. This election also seems to be no different as perhaps the fastest and biggest Modi wave is going on in Gujarat so far. Let us tell you that BJP’s 2022 victory has been recorded as one of the biggest victories of any party in the history of assembly elections in India.

In this Lok Sabha elections, BJP won the Surat parliamentary seat unopposed in Gujarat. After which Congress claimed that opposition candidates were dropping out because there is no democracy in Gujarat. Congress started calling BJP the killer of democracy. But Congress is not seeing that the real reason for the race among its leaders, workers and MLAs to leave the party and join BJP is that people do not see their future in Congress. Be it Arjun Modhwadia, who served the Congress for decades, or the MLAs from South and North Gujarat who left the Congress and joined the BJP, everyone says that the anti-Sanatan face of the Congress is the biggest obstacle in the way of our progress. If seen, the people of Gujarat are of very religious nature and they feel that if any party is working for the protection of religion and culture along with development, then it is BJP only. Due to the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, the happiness of the people here was visible. Apart from this, you will find almost every house in Gujarat whose family members are associated with BJP in some way or the other.

In Gujarat, especially the two seats of Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad, you will understand within a few hours that the question here is not about BJP’s victory but about its victory margin. Here you will not find anyone who talks about any party other than BJP. Here we did not even see candidates of Congress or other parties campaigning, whereas despite its strong position and developed organizational structure up to the booth level, BJP was seen trying to win the elections round the clock.

During CricketInFocus’s election campaign in Gujarat, we found that political gossip was rife in tea shops here. People were discussing that Congress candidates were dropping out because they were not ready to become political ‘scapegoats’. Given the humiliating margins with which Congress candidates have to face defeat, the party has to struggle to find candidates. However, one thing was clearly visible in Gujarat that despite all the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the people of Muslim community are clearly against BJP. He feels that the biggest role in the party’s victory is not the popularity of Modi or the development of BJP but the setting of EVMs.

Apart from this, compared to the previous elections in Gujarat, a new thing was seen this time that an attempt was made to create caste tension here so that BJP can be prevented from winning 100 percent seats for two consecutive times. Although caste has always been at the center of politics here, this time it seemed more dominant. Politicians often keep caste equations in mind while addressing rallies. A statement by Union Minister Purushottam Rupala became a powerful example of how a slight slip of the tongue can create a huge uproar. Union Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Minister and Rajya Sabha member Parshottam Rupala’s comments on Kshatriyas were the biggest issue in this election.

If seen, after Godhra, Gujarat had adjusted to a new reality where all castes had come together under the big umbrella of religion. Caste issues would rarely have come up during Narendra Modi’s tenure as Chief Minister, but the situation changed after he moved to Delhi.

It was only after Modi went to Delhi that various communities started reorganizing to derive maximum benefits from power. Patel reservation movement, Dalit movement and the show of strength of Thakors in 2016-17 are big examples of this.

However, these movements came under control after two of the three key people behind the caste movements – Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakor – joined the BJP. Let us tell you that Patel belongs to the powerful Patidar community, which has been the mainstay of BJP’s success since 1980. It is said that the rise of BJP in Gujarat is largely due to the Patels. Former Congress Chief Minister Madhav Singh Solanki said that the Patels had whole-heartedly supported the saffron party in protest against the social engineering formula KHAM (Kshatriya, Harijan, Tribal and Muslim).

The BJP had won all 26 seats in Gujarat’s one-sided parliamentary election battle in 2014 and 2019. But this time the political situation became a bit difficult after Rupala’s statement on Kshatriyas and Rajputs. BJP fielded Rupala from Rajkot constituency of Saurashtra where caste issues remain dominant. Therefore, when the controversial statement came out, Rajputs staged strong protests demanding cancellation of Rupala’s candidature. However, the protesters expressed their loyalty to the BJP and said they had no problem with Modi.

Concerned about this situation, Rupala went to Delhi and in some meetings there he was given the mantra of victory, after which he returned with full confidence and devoted himself completely to the campaign. As soon as he filed his nomination, it became very clear that BJP was not going to bow down to the demands of the Kshatriya protesters.

The question arises that why did BJP support Rupala at the cost of angering a community? The answer to this is that in fact, Kshatriya votes are not the basis of victory on any Lok Sabha seat in Gujarat. Although they may reduce BJP’s vote share, they cannot become the reason for its defeat.

Furthermore, protesters who identified themselves as Rajputs within the larger Kshatriya group in Gujarat did not receive nearly as much support from other aspiring Kshatriya castes such as the Thakor or Koli. Let us tell you that Thakor and Koli together form the largest electoral group in Gujarat.

If seen, efforts by organizations like Gujarat Kshatriya Sabha (GKS) to unite all the sub-castes under one roof were never successful. Let us remind you that when the GKS demanded integration for reservation benefits, they faced resistance from the erstwhile ‘royal houses’ who strongly opposed reservation, emphasizing their superior status. Later, Thakor and Koli were included as OBCs.

During coverage of the election campaign, we found that the BJP did not feel any need to worry about any possible electoral fallout from the protests. In fact, these protests could not have disrupted the party’s plans the way angry Patidars did after the quota agitation, which brought the BJP’s tally below 100 in Gujarat’s 182-seat assembly in the 2017 elections. .

This time, the BJP’s support to Patel Rupala resulted in the consolidation of Patidar votes in towns and villages. There was competition between Kshatriyas and Patels in the villages. But Kshatriya opposition united the two Patidar classes, Leuva and Kadva. Let us tell you that Rupala is a bitter Patidar. Not only this, it is said that BJP got full support from the so-called lower castes in this election because the party did not bow down to the demands of the Kshatriyas.

Apart from this, one more thing we saw was that the Rajput protesters could not mobilize resources the way the Patidars did during the reservation movement of 2015. On the other hand, apart from making its own efforts to convince the Kshatriyas, the BJP also took the help of people from the former ‘royal house’ to appeal to the protesters.

One more thing was seen in Gujarat that irrespective of age or class of women, their first choice is Modi. Whether a businessman is small or big, his first choice is Modi. Modi seems to be the first choice of the youth because they feel that only he can make their future bright. The youth said that instead of making them run after jobs, Modi’s schemes are making them capable enough to provide jobs.

However, overall, the biggest issue in the elections in Gujarat is Modi. All the issues appear dwarf in front of his name. The people of Gujarat feel that their son Modi is running the country properly, hence they will stand by him in any situation.

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