Is BJP’s desperation in Gujarat precursor to its imminent defeat?

About a four per cent swing in favour of Congress would be enough to turn the tide of the election


Nachiketa Desai

The BJP is on the backfoot in Gujarat, fighting the assembly elections with its back to the wall. A strong anti-incumbency wind appears to be blowing.

About a four per cent swing in favour of Congress would be enough to turn the tide of the election and pave way for the defeat of the BJP, which has been in power for the last 22 years.

Besides the lingering anti-incumbency, BJP’s caste arithmetic, too, seems to have been upset. Twenty-three year old Hardik Patel has taken the fight to the BJP, with the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS)‘s 'Bhajapa Bhagao' motto catching the pulse of the community in Gujarat.

PAAS has also put up 'no entry' signboards for the BJP workers at the entrance of about 4,000 villages in the districts of Mehsana, Patan, Aravali, Morbi, Rajkot, Junagadh, Jamnagar, Surat and Navsari in north-central and southern Gujarat.

The OBC, SC, ST Ekta Manch of Alpesh Thakore, who recently joined Congress, has also added to BJP’s woes. Thakore recently directed the youth of 'Thakore Kshatriya Sena' to campaign against the BJP.

Further, Jignesh Mevani, who has emerged as Dalit icon after the infamous Una flogging incident, is administrating oaths in the name of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar to thousands of Dalit men and women all across the state to defeat the BJP not only in the forthcoming assembly elections, but also in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Cutting across caste lines, the Gujarat Khedut Samaj leaders, who had organized massive farmer rallies against demonetization, too, are campaigning against BJP candidates.

BJP's master strategist Amit Shah is employing the age-old tactic of 'saam, daam, dand bhed' (diplomacy, allurement, force and division) to 'neutralize' as many grassroots level workers of PAAS and OBC, SC, ST Ekta Manch.

Blatantly false and misleading news reports are being planted daily in the mainstream media by the BJP to confuse the supporters of Hardik, Alpesh and Jignesh.

Local media were flooded with false news reports for three consecutive days before the last day of filing of nomination papers for the first phase of polling. The fake news reports indicated that the talks between Congress and PAAS, Chhotubhai Vasava faction of JD(U) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had failed.

Simultaneously, Amit Shah has embarked upon micro-level management exercise targeting key workers of these youth organizations.

"BJP is invincible, Modi-Shah duo will somehow manage to form a BJP government in the state," is the message being spread to condition the mind of the masses.

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