The caste-centric politics which had buried long back in Gujarat under the garb of secularism and hindutva, has now taken a revival ahead of the Gujarat polls scheduled in December.
The BJP and the Congress is now all set to face the first caste based election after 1985.
The last caste based election battleground was won by the Congress party under the leadership of Madhav Sinh Solanki. Solanki’s record of winning 149 seats out of 182 seats in Gujarat still remains unsurpassed.
The 1985 Assembly elections paved way for the Congress to earn a good repute among the Gujaratis as an all caste favourable party. But then the dramatic Babri Masjid demolition in 1992, had entirely turned the status of the Congress party.
The VP singh government’s implementation of the Mandal commission recommendations in 1990, granting reservation to OBC’s, put other caste people over displeasure.
The Sangh Pariwar as usual tried to enforce the hindutva ideologies which in turn helped the BJP to form government under the BJP veteran Keshubhai Patel.
After the unforgettable Gujarat riots in 2002, Narendra Modi who emerged as the ‘Hindu Hridaya Samrat’ tactically covered hindutva and casteism with the blanket of development.
Modi’s shift to Delhi in 2014 after becoming the Prime Minister had led the BJP leaders- Anandiben Patel and Vijay Rupani to tackle with the three turks – Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mewani. There is no doubt that the three leaders will certainly have a great impact on the election results.
Out of the blue, the congress had been so flexible in compromising the demands of these three which in turn will now give a stiff opposition to the ruling BJP.
The revolting voices from the community based parties had now reduced the popularity status of the BJP in the state.
The huge crowds at the Congress party should not be misjudged as the matter lies in bringing up the party as the primary choice among the Gujaratis and not as a choice for an anti-BJP option.
The task for the BJP now lies in building up confidence among the different caste groups in the state.
With the set of the political changes, the Gujarat polls had now turned out to be an interesting event to look forward. The election results have so much significance as it even be considered as a foreword for the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Gujarat polls are bound to leave national footprints, who will it be directed to, is something which one has to wait and watch for.