The sagging morale of Gujarat BJP workers after the loss in local body polls and the Patel quota agitation has worried party president Amit Shah, who feels it could be a serious impediment for fighting the state Assembly elections in 2017.
BJP is a cadre-based party which is dependent on its workers for its victories in elections. Even as Shah accepted that there is “disappointment” among the party workers, the task cut out for the BJP is huge.
Shah, on Saturday, had organised a big party workers’ meet where he gave a pep talk accepting that sitting in Delhi, he could see the dampening morale of Gujarat BJP workers.
He had also said publicly that BJP cannot afford to lose Gujarat as it is a “laboratory” of ideology of Sangh Parivar. In his pep talk, he called on party workers to leave behind all “disappointments, infighting and work collectively” for the 2017 polls.
Shah said that as the 2012 state elections was the stepping stone for 2014 Lok Sabha win, in the same way 2017 victory will pave the way for win in 2019 national elections.
The Patels, a numerically and socially influential caste in Gujarat, are up in arms against the state government for the last six months demanding quota. Their agitation had turned violent killing 10 people and damaging public and private properties worth crores of rupees.
Acting tough against the leaders of quota agitation like Hardik Patel and his team, the state government has put them behind bars in sedition cases.
There is a simmering discontent among a large section of the Patel community as their quota agitation leaders are behind bars since last four months.
This, according to political pandits, led to the BJP debacle in the local bodies polls where it lost badly to opposition Congress in the district and taluka panchayats elections.
Absence of popular leaders like Narendra Modi from the political scene of the state, who had defeated Congress in elections after elections, was also a factor for the party’s dipping spirits in Gujarat.
“All this things have affected the morale of the party cadres and Amitbhai Shah was able to recognise it. The party is passing through a bad phase in Gujarat for the first time after the 2001,” a party leader said.