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The Prime Minister & His Poll Campaign

BY R.K.MISRA
Prime Minister Narendra Modi who sired the Clean India Campaign of 2014 has left the 2017 Gujarat poll narrative patently polluted.
Irrespective of what the outcome may be, the Prime Minister led from the front in sullying election campaigning, plumbing dismaying depths in a desperate bid to beat down a two decade old anti-incumbency and a youthful combination welded by Congress president Rahul Gandhi that was giving the BJP nightmares.
The BJP had only one ace, Modi and he, in turn, always has an ace up his sleeve, went the common refrain. Predictable in his unpredictability, the Prime Minister  was quick to pull off the velvet gloves and bring out the ugly clawed hand as the race for Gujarat moved past the roundabouts into the straights for the final dash. The ace was nothing but harking back to hindutva (mandir-masjid) and the age old ploy of communal polarization as well as injustice caused to Gujarat by criticizing Modi.
Very early in the campaigning Modi discarded the d…

Gujarat Elections 2017 : The Final Face - Off

BY R.K.MISRA
The end of polling  in the western India state of Gujarat 2017  on December 14, brought the curtains down on one of the most bitterly fought Assembly elections in the last quarter century , with two national entities  sweating it out for a state neither can head.
The election campaign was a face-off between Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had a tough fight on home ground from emergent  challenger Rahul Gandhi of the Congress even as exit polls unanimously voted his BJP to power in Gujarat. The truth, however, will emerge only on December 18 after the counting is completed.
Though assessments varied in terms of quantification but the common thread of all of them gave a lead to the BJP forecasting it’s return to helm the state. The Times Now-VMR exit poll predicted 115 seats to the BJP and 64 for the Congress while the Republic-C Voter exit poll gave the BJP 108 seats and the Congress 74, the ABP-CSDS survey by ABP news predicted a BJP victory in 117 seats as against Congress…

BJP V/s Congress :Polltime Pole Dance

BY R.K.MISRA
Polls pulverize political parties, making them explore the range of antics from about turns to headstands. With love at a discount, all is fair in war and elections.
Gujarat, which is poll bound a week from now, is a case in point .Here we have the sanctimonious spectacle of the Congress vice-chief going temple hopping and the BJP prime minister’s partymen courting maulvis to convass for them. In what is increasingly veering towards a tight fight with the Congress playing the caste card as well if not better than BJP, the ruling party is realizing to it’s chagrin that there can be no pariahs in this poll, where every vote will count.
More so with the Congress strategizing to neutralise the BJP propaganda of muslim appeasement through a conscious resort to soft hindutva. If the BJP is perturbed over Gandhi’s temple visits(20 in the last 50 days),the congress seems disturbed  over news that a team of maulvis shall be campaigning for the BJP in minority dominated areas of gujara…

The Mortal Caste Combat In Gujarat

BY R.K.MISRA
A no-holds barred battle  is on the cards in Gujarat as the ruling BJP gets  down to defend it’s Congress besieged turf in the Vidhan Sabha elections slated to be held in just over a week from now . 
Polling is due on December 9 and 14 with results to be declared along with the Himachal Pradesh contest on December 18.
This is the first  Assembly elections being fought by the ruling BJP in Gujarat after Narendra Modi, it’s longest serving  chief minister left for Delhi to take over as Prime Minister in 2014 after having ruled the state  for a record 4610 days  through three Vidhan Sabha elections since 2001.
Battling a debilitating ‘hangover’ of the Modi-era which reduced those who succeeded him -Anandiben Patel and the present incumbent Vijay Rupani-to lilliputs, their  problems have been further compounded by burgeoning anti-incumbency. Adding salt to sore wounds is that the BJP which has been ruling Gujarat for over two decades ,this time also faces a triad of three caste c…

A Tale Of Two PM's & Other Poll Pointers

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BY R.K.MISRA A shoe and bangles are hurled at the Prime Minister while he is in Gujarat.The reaction and the outcome in both cases are different.The first incident took place in the run up to the 2009 lok Sabha elections and involved Dr Manmohan Singh, then UPA Prime Minister.The  second incident took place in Vadodara on October 22 this year in the run up to the state Assembly polls and involved Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the incident involving Dr Singh,he had directed that no action be taken against the youth and had even asked officers accompanying  him to ensure that no action was taken against him. The large heartedness of Dr.Singh notwithstanding,,the youth who hurled the shoe at the UPA Prime Minister seems to have been rewarded by the then BJP government. And last heard he works in the private staff of a top elected BJP functionary holding a  high constitutional post. In the recent incident, the woman who had hurled bangles at the convoy of Prime Minister Modi in Vadodara  …

PM's Carrot And The Club Capers

BY R.K.MISRA
Over two decades ruling Gujarat, BJP is getting an attack of nerves with less than a month to go for  polling on December 9 and 14. How else do you account for Prime Minister, Narendra Modi dangling a caramel coated carrot one moment and menacingly wielding the club the very next .
Three days before elections were declared in Gujarat, (October 22) Prime Minister Modi was in the state, sweet as sugar enumerating the manifold benefits of having the same party government, both at the centre and in the state to ensure speedy development. Modi was making a case for continuing with the BJP government in Gujarat where he was the chief minister from 2001 to 2014. He reeled off names in support of his argument. Morarji Desai as PM and Babubhai Patel as CM in Gujarat: Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Delhi and Keshubhai Patel in the state and off course he in Delhi and Vijay Rupani in his home, state conveniently choosing to omit the long line of Congress CMs  in Gujarat with the same party …

Gujarat Polls : BJP Pensive But No Pushover

BY R.K.MISRA
It will take a fool or a fanatic to write off the BJP in the run up to the Gujarat elections scheduled for Dec 9 and 14 this year.
Almost 33 years since it last won an election in Gujarat in 1985, the Congress is on the upswing but the BJP is exactly not a pushover though it is on the back foot, battles anti-incumbency and a host of other factors, mostly of it’s own making. It’s ace, son of the soil, longest serving chief minister of the state turned prime minister, Narendra Modi is yet to open his cards though some indications are available.
This is understandable if you consider the fact that the BJP has been ruling Gujarat for good of two decades after veteran leader Keshubhai Patel first brought it to power in 1995. BJP leader  Shankersinh Vaghela’s rebellion the same year  and his move to split the BJP brought him chief ministership heading a regional party with the support of the Congress. 
However Vaghela’s decision to go in for early elections through a 16 month rule …