22 June, 2021

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Measuring The Mood Of Gujarat Voters

Nationalism reigns over much of Modi’s home state, giving BJP a post-Pulwama glow. But there are sullen sections of society that stand aloof.

Photograph by Nandan Dave
Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Measuring The Mood Of Gujarat Voters

There are two ends to this journey of images. One is the frontline, where the troops are deployed—a tough, bleak place in reality, and a place of high, almost mythic aura in the public consciousness. As PM, Narendra Modi has often found himself there, donning military fatigues, seeking to blend himself with that air suffused with taut, vigilant power. The other end is Indian society, where those ima­ges circulate. In Modi’s case, there is no better venue to judge this than his original home, his place of birth and the one that catapulted him to natio­nal consciousness. Those NaMo pictures, with him wearing aviator glasses and personalised fatigues, standing amidst soldiers, often with a rifle photoshopped onto them, fill the lanes and bylanes of Gujarat. His words are emblazoned across these banners, proclaiming him the vanquisher of the enemy and saviour of the country. 

There is a ready audience for these motifs in what was once, and...

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