By Shruti Kesavan:
Winning seems good but outperformance is better and staying true to this statement is three time winner Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Narendra Modi. By winning with a margin of 115 seats when the Congress had a minor 61 votes, it would be safe to say it was a clean sweep for the BJP. Even though Mr. Modi ran short of beating his own margin of 117 seats in his 2007 elections, this victory only shortened his journey from the lanes of Gujarat to the highways of Delhi.
Narendra Modi is known for his good administrative and oratory skills. He attracts people by not mincing with his words but by standing by what he says which appeals to what people believe in. He is someone who made it big by himself. He had no God father to teach or guide him; he had to start from scratch. If you are pro-Modi or anti-Modi you just can’t ignore the fact of how far he has made it. From someone who helped his brother in their tea stall to now gracing the title of being the Chief Minister of Gujarat, he has indeed come a long way.
Despite his victory, he was scoffed by the Congress saying that the BJP’s victory (indirectly hinting towards Modi), was only limited to Gujarat. In reality it stands true because Modi refused to promote the BJP in Punjab and they happened to win but even though he promoted two rallies in Himachal Pradesh they lost. This not only indicates that his Midas touch disappears when he leaves Gujarat but also raises questions of whether he would be nominated for the prime ministerial elections in 2014 and whether the BJP would risk their ties with Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) to give Modi a chance.
Modi has been seen as a liability ever since the mass Muslim killings and has also been accused of only restricting himself to the urban areas by ex chief minister Keshubai Patel. Despite this, BJP surprisingly won 8 out of 12 constituencies which were Muslim dominated. The Muslims voted for Modi for two reasons one being that for the past decade since 2002, there has been peace and harmony within the state and secondly it’s a known fact that the Muslims are any day better under Modi than others who just use them for their votes. The relationship between Modi and the Muslims seems to be more symbiotic than it appears on the surface.
Keshubai Patel goes on to accuse Modi of linking his goals of becoming the next PM to the pride of Gujarat. He also justifies that he was over thrown by Modi in the 2001 elections simply because of Modi’s marketing gimmicks and use of technology. The president of GPP (Gujarat Parivarthan Party) who won 2 seats also adds that they lost because of two reasons being that they could not connect with the youth and the lack of resources.
The brand name Modi is made of three important components as mentioned by Santosh Desai, managing Director of Futurebrands India Ltd. The first being his Hindutva cause, the second being Gujarat’s developmental story and the successful corruption free government under the firm hands of Modi and the third being his aura of clarity and authority that he carries. Santosh Desai also brings up an interesting question of “whether Modi is too strong for his own good” as his ideals and goals maybe questioned if he would have to apply the same as the PM of the country.
Post the victory Modi was seen giving his victory speech in Hindi, showing he was addressing a larger public and not restricting himself to Gujarat. He also apologized to the ‘6 crore Gujaratis’ out of which 54 lack people where Muslims and were directly or indirectly related to the mass killings. This clearly shows his keen interest in contesting for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
What’s interesting is he would soon shift to his 150 crore office which is his newly built office named “Panchamrut” which literally translates as the elixir for 6 crore Gujaratis. This would be a four floor building of 35,000 sq feet which is built by the Roads and Buildings department. It would consist of bullet proof glass windows and doors and a central AC system and which also has 24*7 camera surveillance. The costs incurred on the tax payer’s money are rather questionable, but then again his government is a ‘corruption free‘ government. Now only time would tell us if he would be restricted to Gujarat or would soon grace the title of Prime Minister. If he does become PM, I only hope he would do a better job than Mr. Manmohan Singh and bring about the same changes in India as a whole as he has done in Gujarat.