Still, Narendra Modi’s hat-trick is remarkable. But what are the real factors of his success? He claims that his popularity results from his economic achievements. But Gujarat is far from the top 10 of the Indian states, in terms of literacy and malnutrition or according to the Human Development Index.
So why do people vote for Modi? The short answer could be: by default. The Congress has been facing a leadership crisis for years. It has never been able to project a strong contender for the post of chief minister — lest this would unleash faction fights. Besides, the party has an ideology problem: it has always promoted a conservative brand of Hinduism in the state and cannot easily invent an alternative to Hindu nationalism. Its only leader who has been re-elected this time, Shankarsinh Vaghela, is a former RSS cadre.
But in other states — like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar — the decline of the Congress has not resulted in the rise to power of the BJP. In contrast to these states, OBC and Dalit politics are conspicuous by their absence in Gujarat and cannot operate as counter-forces to Hindu nationalism.
In fact, Gujarat calls to mind pre-Mandal, clientelism-based politics — with the BJP in the role of the Congress. Modi, indeed, benefits from the support of the savarnas, including the Patels, the dominant caste of Gujarat which left the Congress when it embarked on positive discrimination schemes in favour of the lower castes in the 1980s. They rallied around the BJP even more decisively when it articulated an aggressively Hindu nationalist agenda that provided them — like the Swaminarayans and other similar movements in Gujarat — with a more secure identity at a time when this erstwhile rural group was experiencing a rapid process of modernisation (and urbanisation).
Hindutva is of course the other reason why Gujaratis (at least the savarnas) support Modi — hence the notion of “Moditva”. They first did it in the 2002 elections because of the polarising effect of the anti-Muslim killings — which resulted in the Hindu majority rallying behind him. Certainly, Gujarat has not experienced any major riot since then, but the communal divide remains, as evident from the ghettoisation that Muslims of Ahmedabad and other cities experience today. Mixed neighbourhoods are not the order of the day any more since Muslims are not welcome in their own cities but pushed to peripheral townships like Juhapura, near Ahmedabad.
In addition, the recent election campaign has shown that Modi was a very effective populist. Never before — except Indira Gandhi in the 1970s — had an Indian politician saturated the political space the way he did. A symbol of this ubiquitous presence was the appearance of his image in 3D simultaneously on huge screens in dozens of cities. He then presented himself as an “avatar” of “Hanuman” — and called Ahmed Patel “Ahmed mian”. For years, this marketing genius has been advised by the American company APCO Worldwide which has already worked for the Nigerian dictator, Sani Abacha and the life-president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Each of his performances in 3D cost Rs 5 crore according to other BJP leaders disturbed by such extravaganza. Modi can afford such expenditures — and many others! — because of the support he gets from the corporate sector. All the CEOs of the large companies of India — some of them with Gujarati roots — are all praise for the state government, which has offered them land at a throwaway price for their plants, tax concessions, zero interest loans. On the top of it, they can have direct access to this “one window man” and save the bureaucratic detours and red-tape of other states.
The re-election of Modi may propel him to the national stage since he is very popular among the Indian middle class throughout the country. More importantly, even if the BJP and its mother organisation, the RSS, do not appreciate the personality cult à la Modi that unfolds itself at the expense of the traditional collegiality of these organisations, they may well rally around him by default. L.K. Advani is too old and the party president, Nitin Gadkari, is facing allegations of corruption. Senior BJP leaders like Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley have already supported him in the perspective of the 2014 general elections.
Modi will benefit from his clean image and the general assumption that Gujarat is a model of development, at a time when corruption and the economic slowdown have become key issues — especially for the middle class. But the rise of Modi may be resented by coalition partners of the BJP, including the
JD(U) which may hesitate to alienate its Muslim voters.
Another restraining factor may come from the judicial side. Modi may not be directly affected in spite of the credible allegations of a senior policeman, Sanjeev Bhatt, that he was responsible for the 2002 killings. But his right-hand man, Amit Shah, has been recently chargesheeted — like half-a-dozen other senior policemen — for a series of fake encounters.
Last but not least, external pressures may play a role. After the 2002 riots, the US decided to not issue Modi a visa and the EU decided to boycott him. The Gujarati diaspora, a major force to reckon with, will now lobby the Obama administration and European governments. David Cameron has been the first to send his high commissioner to meet Modi just before the elections. Other leaders willing to develop business relations with Gujarat may follow suit.
The resistible rise of Modi (to paraphrase Bertolt Brecht) is revealing of the banalisation of Hindu nationalism — and the correlative marginalisation of Muslims; of the growing importance of mass communication and money in Indian politics — and more particularly of the nexus between politicians and the corporate sector; and of the declining impact of the judiciary on political personnel — the fact that Amit Shah has been chargesheeted and the condemnation to a
34-year jail sentence of a former member of Modi’s government, Maya Kodnani, because of her role in the 2002 killings have made no difference. The former has been re-elected, of course. Certainly, the popularity of Modi reflects the valorisation of development issues, but this priority is interpreted in a very specific manner by the middle class which is more interested in consuming more than in fighting inequalities.
The writer is a senior research fellow at CERI, Sciences Po, Paris and professor of Indian politics and society at the King’s India Institute, London
Another biased article by english language media to propagate falsehood. It would have been better for the author to check the EC website get an idea about GPP's vote numbers and then decided for himself as to how it hurt congress. leadership crisis for congress in states in a national phenomenon not just restricted to Gujurat. The fact of the matter is Modi consistently drew more crowds than Sonia or Rahul in all his meetings.
The author is either blind or is having biased nature.The fact of the matter is that Keshu's GPP party snatched away around 15 seats from BJP,otherwise BJP could have easily crossed 130 seats.I'm on the ground zero and can access all voting patterns better than the author.It's a fashion,specially in English Media to belittle Modi's emphatic win by posting falsehoods.
Why cant we just move beyond religion ,caste etc and see that Gujarat's development is not just for Hindus or upper castes only but everybody including Muslims,backwards also.Nobody can win an election for a third time in a row just by default.The article is just ridiculous.The GPP,Congress or any other factors were barely able to make a scratch on the public support for Modi.
The author starts with claiming that GPP took away Congress party's Patel votes and in next few paragraphs says that BJP traditionally gets Savarna votes including Patels. So if at all it is BJP who was hurt by GPP and not congress. Secondly, for whatever conclusions he has drawn, he has not given and reasoning. He also does not explain how Sanjeev Bhatt's allegations are credible and when was Amit Shah convicted. In all an example of DOSA, which means: Decision Oriented System Analysis. He has first decided that Modi is bad for Gujarat/India/Mankind and then started throwing around 'evidence' and 'analysis'. Very unconvincing article.
Mr.Christophe Jaffrelot u seem to right per se.... Yes Narendara by default! and Berlusconi was by fault! You may need a crash course on Indian politi asap.
Apparently the author is convinced that no Indian ever can or should vote based on common sense, but only on basis of caste and creed. Why is this pathetic foreigner allowed to pronounce on India, making a fool of himself? Do French papers carry such a patronising and partisan analysis of French election results by an ignorant Indian hack sitting in Kolkata?
Mr.Keshubai of GPP claimed that BJP lost more than ten seats because of GPP in the Election fray. If we go through votes polled in various constituencies,this may be observed. However in elections the simple mathematics of 1 1=2 can not be applied.
Author must be definitely a congress pet. Forgive and Forget Him
This is very true about higher caste in gujarat closed them eyes elected bjp candidate...they even not see the candidete,people believe congress is muslim,lower caste party if we not geting benefits from government other also not get benifit. other thing is devlopment!! where is devlopment??? this is hype created by mr.modi. gujarat always devloped state gujarat have good road, infrastructure suppoting people,industrial environment. so all former chief minister and government should get credit of devlopment...even channel operator not allowed broadcast media news channel like NDTV because they showing truth. media should not created hype about Mr N.Modi...
You are a blind person.First tell me your location than only one can review your above comments. NDTV is a pro-congress channel and is widely known for it's biased reporting.What's your take on hype created by Media on Rahul's over exposure.Congress is 1000% Muslim party,a truth never can be dismissed.Just visit Gujarat and see the development and also undertake a survey on Modi's development,you will get the answer.
The lies and dishonest business is the fact in this Article. People see what they want to see. Nothing can be done and I believe that huge percentage of population lives in imaginary world.
I strongly believe that you are a blind or a mad, who could not see the development of Gujarat..
Columnist must exercise self restraint and analyse facts without and bias or any stereotype mindset. In India when panellists and activist try to prove their secular credentials first thing is blast modi and second talk about minority which are Muslims. Now with 40% of Indian population as Muslim I doubt using Minority for them, rather talk about Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhist, etc. But one never gets to hear about it,solely because these groups do not convert to a bigger vote bank. There was a controversy when Modi refused to wear a muslim cap offered by one imam, but that was blow out of proportions to target his secular credentials though its a matter of personal choice, so my question to them had we offered some saffron shawl to the maulvi with "Om" printed on it at any public function had he worn it? Or if we had offered him Non-Veg(NOT HALAL) then would he eaten it? The Answer should be its his personal choice without trying to speculate any further..
This is more of an accusation note rather than an article . All accusations without any substance . Appears as writer is some congressman .
Writer is sad that in Gujarat OBC and dalit politics has not been able to counter Hinduism? Probably he doesn't know in Gujarat there is not much caste politics and Modi himself is from OBC community and still all communities vote for him. Large chunk of Muslim population has voted for Modi, as he has ensured safety for all and got rid of gundas harassing Muslims themselves in their locality.
If all the Modi's achievements would have come about through a Congress person or Dalit or OBC, they would have been hailed. But whatever Modi does is inherently tainted. Business proposals cleared efficiently are seen as suspicious. The American Consultancy firm mentioned in the article, I am sure is a legitimate company that works for Modi in a completely legal framework. As far as the "Ahmed Mian" comment is concerned, this type of thing happens all the time and is fair enough. Right in this article you can see it happening when the writer mentions that the firm advising Modi also advises some dictator in Nigeria with an implied intention of equating Modi to the dictator. The other thing I feel is that the jd (U) support or lack of it is quite overrated.
If Mr.Christophe Jefferlot, doesn't want to use his eyes, ears and his faculty for thinking so be it. I don't want to call him an idiot or a fool like some in this post have done. He just doesn't want to use his faculties. Social developments in the areas like malnutrition, infant mortality etc, take a generation to to percolate. Shri.Modi right on day one of his chief ministership worked on 3 vital areas of social development: infant mortality, particularly at birth, malnutrition and girls' education. In all these indices Gujarat was abysymal in performance. Now they have come up a long way and yet to reach the top. If GPP had not entered the fray BJP would have ended up with 130 . Probably the writer is a friend of Mr.P.Chidambaram.
Dear Christophe Jaffrelot, Even leader of opposition has more knowledge on why Narendra modi has won. Better you shut you mouth and stop writing article.
Pity is there are experts on Gujarat who hardly knows Gujarat. All non Gujaratis like his gentleman sitting in paris and London is making expert comments. Leuva Patels are Congress vote bank? What a joke? To the contrary majority of them vote for BJP. GPP didn't get any Muslim or dalit votes, which is Congress vote bank. GPP did definitely cost at least 10 seats to BJP this time particularly in Saurashtra. All other things are also rubbish. Does these guys know about Juhapura? There are gangs operating there and murder happens regularly. Residents don't pay electricity bills and get illegal electricity from GSEB cables. How can Govt. can ensure proper electricity if nobody pays for it and steals it? It is very easy to give such picture without knowing reality on ground as it has become business to earn or prosper by Modi bashing.
I am amazed how such a third class article could be published....anyway same Indian express report false army movement thier pro wadia approach in eighties are not a secret, in total useless article publishd on deserving platofrm.
IT is return to the old casteist description of elections and that too wrong. To think Leuva Patels is congress votebank is such a foolish statement.
All this english media are so negative. Someone wants to lift india up and others just pulling it down constantly. Do they just love money? Do they feel about motherland? I can understand some but almost all of them? Do they think public is fool and they are only wise? I pity on them the ones who sell motherland for the money. Just see someone who devoted life for motherindia and some are just for some pieces of paper, never to be regarded in history of India. I pray god, give them good sense, love for mother india, turn them positive and India shall cheris prosperity and love. With best wishes,
The writer has absolutely no Idea of the ground reality. Sitting in Paris and writing articles, being sponsored by congress is pretty easy I guess. THe creation of GPP by keshubhai, cut out the share from the BJP vote bank, as the people loyal to keshubhai who had been voting for BJP all these years now voted for him. Had it not beent he case then Congress should have won those extra seats last time around. BJP managing 115 seats even after being in power for more than 15 years (anti incumbency does play a role after all in elections), and keshubhai's distancing himself from it and forming a new party, is infact a big defeat for congress. They couldn't capitalise on any of these factors. One more thing, Please stop polarising this nation by writing articles which keep alive the the communal divide. People are not foolish,they understand its the part of congress strategy to fuel this divide. Bloody Vote bank politics by Congress.
THIS is all Wrong..modi won because of the developement he has done and because of the faith and trust people have on Modi.
Hopefully, before he castigates Gujarat next time for Muslims living in ghettoes, the Frenchman will in future look closer home at the impoverished districts where the French Muslims have been forced to live (and die) by the insensitive French and their brutal police. To improve his knowledge, may I request him to begin by searching for names like Seine-Saint-Denis, Bagnolet, Fafet-Brossolette(Amiens), Bagatelle (Toulouse) and Uriage-les-Bains(Grenoble). He can also search for terms like ZSP and ZUS, for a better appreciation of the situation. And that will just be a start.
Modi told in his victory speech that thodi to sharm karo yaar - 93 seats aati fir bhi sarkar to BJP ki hi banti Gujarat me.
The writer is mentally sick. Please someone take him to the mental hospital.
Bloody Idiot, How much have u taken from Sonia and co. Now there is no hope for congress. Anyhow Modi become PM in 2014. Why are you doing these feats for congress? First behave like Indian. then you think about Sonia & co. Don't repeat again these type of silly articles. Behave like INDIAN. not like Italian.
He is leader of Gujju's CM of Gujjus, PM of Gujjus, President of Gujjus, God of Gujjus, Out of Gujarat He is nothing but killer