Gujarat results: PM Modi’s high pitched campaign for Phase 2 saved the day for BJP
Gujarat election results show BJP is set to improve its performance in constituencies that voted in Round 2, the campaign for which saw PM Narendra Modi imply that a Pakistan link with Congress leaders
The second phase of the Gujarat election, marked by acrimonious exchanges and rhetoric over Gujarati ‘asmita’ and Congress leaders’ meeting with former Pakistani foreign minister and high commissioner, seems to have saved the day for the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The party was leading in 59 out of 93 assembly segments spread across 14 districts of central and north Gujarat. This is seven seats more than the BJP’s 2012 tally of 52 seats from this region.
This was the phase where the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a high-pitched campaign in the backdrop of a meeting between top Congress leaders and Pakistan diplomats in Delhi.
Addressing a rally in northern Gujarat’s Palanpur on December 10, a day after the first round of voting was over, Modi referred to a Facebook post by the former director general of the Pakistan army Sardar Arshad Rafiq, saying that senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel should be the next Gujarat chief minister.
“There were media reports yesterday about a meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house. It was attended by Pakistan’s high commissioner, Pakistan’s former foreign minister, India’s former vice-president and former prime minister Manmohan Singh,” Modi said.
“The next day, Mani Shankar Aiyar said Modi was ‘neech’. This is a serious matter,” he said adding that they met for almost three hours.
Ahmedabad and Vadodara, two major urban centres of Gujarat, contributed the maximum to the BJP’s tally of 59. It won 17 out of 21 seats of Ahmedabad and nine out of 10 in Vadodara. So, these two cities alone fetched 26 seats to the BJP in the second phase.
The BJP also leads in four out of seven seats of Mehsana, Hardik Patel’s hometown, and four out of five in Panchmahal district. It leads over Congress in all the three seats of Chhota Udaipur district.
The Congress had on December 7, the last day of the campaign for December 9 vote, suspended its leader Mani Shankar Aiyer for calling Prime Minister Modi a “neech aadmi” (vile man). Modi blamed it on Aiyar’s “Mughal mentality” at a rally in Surat and warned that the remarks would have consequences in the elections.
The invoking of Gujarati asmita seems to have worked in favour of the BJP in the second round of voting.