21 October, 2020

Which Way The Wave?

Modi isn't the central figure of '02, but is better off than in '04

Which Way The Wave?
Election 2007 in Gujarat is unique. For the first time in 22 years, no single emotive issue is driving the campaign. In 1985, it was on the back of the reservation wave that Madhavsinh Solanki came to power; in 1990, the anti-KHAM politics of the Congress was a pivotal factor; in 1995, the BJP swept to power by building its campaign around Chimanbhai Patel's highly unpopular rule; in 1998, the "injustice" done to Keshubhai Patel saw the BJP romping home again. And in 2002, Godhra and the following violence determined the final results. But in 2007, the dissidence within the BJP and the divisions in the Sangh parivar are part of an array of issues.

Indeed, I recall vividly the charged atmosphere in 2002. Opinions on both sides of the communal divide, then, were sharply polarised—and articulated. Muslims, at the receiving end of most of the violence, were determined to turn out in large numbers against the BJP to register their protest, whether in Ahmedabad, Mehsana, Godhra or even far-flung Junagadh in Saurashtra. On the other side, barring...


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