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The Gujarat Elections
|by Suresh Mandan|
Elections have been announced for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. They are to be held in December 2012. While elections to Himachal Pradesh State assembly may not create the noise and din, the elections to Gujarat Assambly would be full of noise, news and nasty remarks.
Narendra Modi, the fire brand CM of Gujarat and an eyesore to the Congress set the ball rolling by questioning Sonia Gandhi and Congress over the alleged Rs.1880 crores spent on Sonia Gandhi's health treatment over the last three years. Though the Editor of Jai Hind newspaper which initially published this news declined to authenticate this news, Narendra Modi went ahead with the allegations, though it was expected that he will apologise for his remarks after the RTI activist denied that he had ever received such information.
Perhaps Modi wanted to intimidate Sonia Gandhi who was on her inaugural election campaign to speak something personal of Narendra Modi. Though Sonia Gandhi spoke on the failures of Modi in Gujarat, she did not speak anything personal. This was a good strategy. Her advisors were careful not to repeat the "Maut Kay Saudagar" syndrome which went against Congress party in the 2007 Elections. Modi still enjoys lot of popularity in Gujarat and even outside, though called Hitler by ex BJP leaders like Keshubhai Patel and the ilk and any personal hit on him is likely to boomerang. Sonia has played her cards well in her speeches at Rajkot and Junagadh and it is good of a national leader to avoid personal attacks. Modi had waived a red rag to Congress and Sonia, but good that they did not respond aggressively.
Congress would have to work hard in a state like Gujarat which is smitten by love for Modi. Congress has no state leaders worth eminence and people like Shankersinh Vaghela have no influence beyond their own office compound. Sonia Gandhi would be the star campaigner with her woman power, her looks and her aura. She does not have the charisma which Modi enjoys as her prepared and prompted speeches do not carry the conviction. Modi speaks with authority and in chaste Gujarati and Hindi which is not the hallmark with any Congress leader.
What may go wrong with Modi this time is his authoritarian style of functioning. Though this style brings good results as visible on the ground, it is not good politics. Politics means compromise and this is where he has lost the support of Keshubhai Patel (ex CM), Suresh Mehta (exCM) Gordhan Zadhaphia (ex state HM), Rajendrasinh Rana (ex State Party Chief). Though all of them are marginal leaders now, their pin pricks can create a hole in Modi's armour. The biggest support of Modi lies in the people's support and his effective network through internet. But whereever there is long rule, there is rebellion and this is where Congress has plus point.
It would be interesting to watch Solo Modi on one side and Sonia Gandhi and her battalion of pnamby pamby leaders on the other side.
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