Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Other Papers's views on Modi's win

Hindustan Times:

At the end of the day, the sweetest revenge for Modi came from several predominantly Muslim areas where the BJP won. Gujarat’s 45 lakh Muslims form over 9 per cent of the state’s population

In criticising Modi, his critics have long painted Gujarat’s Muslims as little more than second-class citizens, although the community has a literacy rate of 73 per cent — higher than the national average for all communities, and fares better than the national average for all religions on several counts including sex ratio and work participation.

Economic Times:

The election is a major setback for the Congress, which led itself to believe that mere condemnation of Mr Modi as someone fronting for the saffron cabal would deliver Gujarat to a Sonia Gandhi nominee. The Congress' seething rhetoric against Mr Modi during the campaign clearly didn't find many takers. The hyperbole, usually associated with the Left, was used to paint Mr Modi as a violator of human rights. The election results showed that this campaign strategy, besides earning the party praise from similar minded quarters, did precious little for the Congress's fortunes.

Mr Modi virtually repeated his party's last assembly election's performance by ensuring the victory of 117 MLAs in the 182-member House. The outcome showed his grip over rural as well as urban pockets of the state. Barring a minor setback in central Gujarat, the BJP posted impressive victories all across the state, including the Leuva Patel-dominated Saurashtra and tribal South Gujarat.

Defying anti-incumbency factor, rebellion within the BJP ranks and a high decibel campaign against him by his rivals — they fought the election on a "Modi as the murderer" template — the chief minister demonstrated that good governance coupled with charisma is a potent mix. While the Congress did not even nominate a chief ministerial candidate, not to speak of a charismatic rival, Mr Modi was virtually the BJP's candidate in all 182 seats of the state.

Chindu calls this demagogic:Place An election rally in rural Gujarat.Scene: Chief minister Narendra Modi asks, “Who brought electricity to your homes?”; “Who ensured water supply for your fields?”; “Who brought the motorable road to your doorstep?” The crowds go into a frenzy responding — “Narendrabhai,” “Narendrabhai.” Above the din, Mr Modi says, “So vote for me.”

Among his other dialogues that usually had the crowd in splits was the one about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Responding to Mr Singh’s observation at an election rally that those who were not with Mr Modi had to live “Bhagwan bharose” (left at the mercy of god), Mr Modi replied thumpingly that it was true that Gujaratis lived “Bhagwan bharose” as there had been seven years of good rains in the state. “Dr Manmmohan Singh aap bhi Bhagwan bharose raho/ Sonia ben bharose nahin/ aapka bhi bhala hoga (be at the mercy of God and not of Sonia Gandhi/ you too will prosper),” Mr Modi would joke.

Congressmen and women, over the next few days, will keenly discuss the question of who is to be blamed for the Gujarat defeat. But even as they prepare to point fingers this way and that, there is one direction that has already been insulated from criticism — 10 Janpath.

Despite being the principal campaigner for the party, Congress president Sonia Gandhi will not figure in the list of those who bungled the campaign. But there is nothing new about this. In the Congress, ‘Madam’ takes the credit for the party’s electoral victories but is kept beyond the pale of defeat even if she has not been able to deliver.

Only this time, the story is not that simple as the contest was billed as Modi vs Sonia show. In the absence of the Congress having a tall enough Gujarat leader to take on Narendra Modi, the Congress president had to take on the mantle of the principal opponent. And Ms Gandhi took her job seriously. She addressed 10 rallies (13 if her son and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s meeting are also added) which were all dubbed as the “massive” and seen as “turning points” in the Congress campaign until the results were out. This is the highest number of rallies she has addressed for any state in recent times other than Uttar Pradesh, which is considered home turf of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

So, even as party leaders look set to take the blame on themselves, the explanation might not wash as it was the Congress that raised the stakes of this election by pitting its top leadership against Mr Modi. Along with Ms Gandhi even PM addressed rallies attacking Mr Modi directly

No comments: