The Gujarat Assembly Elections have just been completed and though the results have yet to be declared , all exit polls conducted by the media suggest that Bharatiya Janata Party Chief Minister Narendra Modi is all set to return once again as Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Readers would recall from my last week's Column that the Gujarat Assembly elections were fought bitterly and that the Congress Party and its President stooped low to demolish Chief Minister Narendra Modi's hold over Gujarat. The Indian English language media especially the two leading TV channels who based on the first round exit polls were possibly expecting the exit of Modi from the Chief Ministership of Gujarat had to concede grudgingly that after the second round of Assembly polls the Congress Party had no chance to displace Modi from the helm of Gujarat affairs. If this be true and it seems so as the margins in exit polls do not seem to be giving any leeway for the Congress Party's return the n the Gujarat Assembly Elections throw up a number of significant implications for Indian politics.
The first and foremost is a lesson for India's 'secular fundamentalists' that no amount of their so called secularist ideologies and venomous propaganda can wean away people from strong Chief Ministers even those wedded to Hindutava philosophies especially when such Chief Ministers have produced visible results in the development and economic progress of their States.
Secondly, election campaigns in which in the absence of any alternative worthwhile political agendas the campaign is solely directed at the personality of a strong Chief Minister popular with the masses and he is demonized for lacking secular credentials as per their norms ,such a campaign is bound to be counter-productive as the final outcome would indicate to the Congress Party and the Congress President.
The third implication is for the Congress Party to come to the political realization that their brand of secularism which only has political space for Indian Muslim vote banks stands rejected by India's majority community who have all along followed a philosophy of tolerance towards all religions. It is also a lesson for India's pseudo-secularist glitterati who go running to file Public Interest Litigations for every conceivable statement by those who adhere to Hindutava.
Is there an implication for the dynastic politics of India's ruling Congress Party ? Well , it seems so because if India's foremost political dynasty had the charisma that it is credited with by the Party's spin-masters then the exit polls would have predicted a win of the Congress Party. It has not happened so because even those who hate Modi's guts are conceding that he is likely to return even though the margin of victory may be less than last time.
At the level of India's national politics a number of political implications arise. Firstly, the shot in the arm that the Congress Party was badly hoping for in the run-up to early General Elections does not seem to be forthcoming and a number of political calculations of the ruling party would need to be revised. It definitely would provide timely oxygen for the Bharatiya Janata Part's revival and morale.
Thirdly, the Leftists hold and dictates over the ruling Congress Party would now stand that much more reinforced.
Finally, in terms of a Modi-centric political analysis it needs to be recorded that even within the Bhatiya Janata Party. Gujarat's Chief Minister Narendra Modi would have to be provided political space at the national level ultimately. To many both within his party and outside Modi carries a certain resonance of Sardar Patel who awes another strong political leader from Gujarat.
This Column would be incomplete if it did not comment on the number of socio-analysts marshaled by a leading English TV channel who over-analyzed Modi's personality down to his body language and found demonic meanings in his 'mudras' during his election speeches. Maybe they would need to do more research as to why the Indian electorate is looking and searching for 'strong political leaders' with courage of conviction to articulate Indian nationalism.