Gujarat Poll is Game-changer!

The most significant aspect of the current Gujarat election is not whether it throws up a future prime minister, or whether it will make or mar the electoral prospects of this or that party in 2014. The most significant change of this election will be its impact on India’s political culture.

With Europe, China, Japan, Britain and a host of Indian and foreign big business firms openly endorsing Mr. Narendra Modi for reasons entirely commercial it was inevitable that corporate expertise would intervene in this poll as witnessed never before in India. Not surprisingly Mr. Modi’s deployment of experts to exploit the Internet for effective propaganda followed. However, apart from a new high in media management there is fallout of this campaign that can become a political game changer.

Mr. Modi’s grasp of development as his main electoral thrust led to similar expertise utilized for preparing the party’s manifesto. For the first time his election manifesto is not confined to populist sops but attempts to take a futuristic view based upon demographic and economic forecasts. Departing from tradition Mr. Modi has not simply thrown sops for the usual vote banks such as farmers and minorities. He has focused upon the emerging class that is being created by economic reforms. Increasing urbanization, increasing aspirations that propel new entrants to the middle class and an increasing youth vote have been addressed by his manifesto. These are people who will rise from the bottom of the social strata to become the consumers of tomorrow. But this aspect of the manifesto too is not the real political game-changer.

The real change of political culture manifests from how the electoral rivals of Mr. Modi have reacted to his manifesto. The Congress fielded Mrs. Sheila Dixit to release the Congress party manifesto in Gujarat. The Congress too has focused solely on development issues and attempted an alternative model to Mr. Modi.

Most interestingly, both the Congress and the BJP are attacking each other’s policies and manifestoes and not personalities and integrity. This is unprecedented. It is an old truism in India that election manifestoes count for nothing in the polls. That seems to be changing. For the first time politicians are discussing the merits of respective policies and are not simply bandying about populist slogans.

Does this portend that finally Indian democracy will become mature? With new generation voters accessing the Internet it might. 


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

Top | Analysis

Views: 3363      Comments: 5

Comment Mr. Puri, it is nice that you have written this article. Gujarat has been a focus
point for decades. Krishna in Dwarka--Mahatama Gandhi in Porbandar--
Sardar Patel in Charotar-Dayanand Sarswati from Tankara, Gujarat- --and
it is Narendra Modi=====and thus Gujarat has been a game changer in India.

And wait till you Gujarat becomes a game changer for the world.

It is indeed a good thing that politicians are discussing merits of respective
policies instead calling 'motana sodagar' by Sonia Gandhi. She has learnt
a lesson.

One has to see what happens if BJP wins in Gujarat.

Pranlal Sheth
07-Dec-2012 22:26 PM

Comment Dear Sir and fellow readers who commented,

A mature democracy requires well balanced system. A system (1) where intellects are cautious and honest enough to caution rest of the population about potential issues that the rest of the population generally misses to observe and understand (2) where there is balance of economic power - absence if huge gap between rich and poor, so that rich do not dictate their terms on poor and vise versa (3) where there is balance of authoritative power - where govt officials, police and all politicians holding offices can not misuse the power given to them (3) where there is an honest media which keeps masses informed about goods and bads of the system and current affairs and helps imbibe thoughts in right direction into the mins of masses (4) where there is quick and right justice available through judiciary, and (5) where the education system moulds children with right mindset, honesty, sincerity, and essential skills to earn living peacefully.

If big business houses and foreign economic power favor openly certain politician and polls are fought just on economic reforms (that would basically help right - the big business houses more than the aam aadmi) - Which one of the above qualities of a good democracy will be fulfilled ?

So, how can we expect that the democracy is getting matured ?

Modi's accent will help India definitely, given the current situation. But I am sure it won't amount to a turn around. A lot more is needed for turn around. We need someone like Vallabh Bhai Patel - imbibed with multiple qualities to take the nation towards a long term comprehensive growth path. Until then, let;s be happy with intermittent times of reasonably fair rules. By the way, such problems exist in other democracies as well – USA, European, Japanese etc. After all, democracy does not promise rule of the best candidate available. They just have more balance of power than India and Pakistan have. (Naming Pakistan here as the state of governance and administrative affairs are comparable at the moment).

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
06-Dec-2012 09:23 AM

Comment i disagree that indian politicians are maturing. as far as guj is concerned, cong is refraining from attacking modi coz it wins more enemies than admirers on attacking modi and the point on guj riots for which they have attacked modi for a long time has gone stale...everyone wants to move forward.

and modi is not attacking anyone in congress because there is no one to attack!!

if there is anyone maturing may be the indian voters. ppl want something concrete. bjp has become another indian voters are ditching party sentiments and looking what the parties have to offer. ppl have also realised that populist schemes may give them 10 bucks, but will take back 100 bucks in the guise of price rise, petrol price, etc.

05-Dec-2012 13:15 PM

Comment Mr Rajinder,,why are you still uneasy about Modi?

05-Dec-2012 06:25 AM

Comment Excellent point of view Rajendra ji. I look forward to a leapfrog decision in Election India 2014 and Modi might just be the man to herald in a new era.

Julia Dutta
04-Dec-2012 23:47 PM

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