In the wake of the just concluded
Gujarat State Assembly election that Modi's Gujarat state BJP won,
some people have said that if Congress party had tried real hard
it could have defeated Modi's BJP. Is that a credible statement?
Let us analyze the political background and the ground realities.
A few weeks before the polling many election observers had noted
that Modi's BJP will win. The factors being:
a. A very large number of Gujarati Hindus are excellent
people and very fair to minorities. Yet, the majority of Hindus of
Gujarat being anti-minority is a fact that goes back several
decades to 1947, including the lifetime of Mahatma Gandhi. Even in
his lifetime, in Gujarat Gandhi was less popular among Hindus than Vallabhbai Patel. More institutions in Gujarat are named after
Sardar Patel than after Gandhi.
b. The pre-BJP Congress in
Gujarat too catered to pro-Hinduttava sentiments; although they
were not militant against Muslims & Christians.
c. The population of Muslims
in Gujarat is barely 9%; most of them live in urban areas; very
few live in rural areas. So their electoral weight is not much.
d. Modi and his cohorts have
greatly exploited all ugly incidents happening in India as being
the handiwork of Pakistan that shares its border with Gujarat.
has totally brainwashed Gujarati Hindus against Muslims and has
put fear of Muslims in their minds by years of continual degrading
statements against Muslims.
Look how in the current election he
exploited the name of Ahmad Patel as Mian Ahmad Patel and said
that Congress wants to make a Mian the chief Minister of Gujarat.
Was that not fear mongering?
e. Modi did bring significant
development in industries & infrastructure in Gujarat
f. Majority of Gujarati
Hindus do not pay that much attention to the human rights of
Muslims, whom Modi has painted as evil.
g. Despite all this, Modi's
BJP won 115 Assembly seats in 2012 against 117 in 2007, and 127 in
2002 - a continuing decline in seats won. He fell much short of
his own 2012 target of 125 seats in the Gujarat Assembly.
It is true that if Congress had
tried substantially harder and had spent much more money, they
could have won another 5 to 10 seats. With their all-India
calculation of money and strategy for 2014 and knowing well that
they were not going to get seats more than or equal to Modi's BJP,
they choose not to make Gujarat election a do- or- die contest.
Muslims will like Congress to make a do- or- die issue of Gujarat
because of Modi's 2002 atrocities, but Congress does not think in
Does not BJP adopt a similar
strategy in Assam, Bengal, UP, AP or such other states where their
opponents are very strong? So this is real politic.
The Muslim community should analyze the facts and circumstances of
the 2012 election before swallowing an incredible/emotional line
that someone may give us.
Muslims have to learn how to deal with Congress and how to
pressurize it for the interests of the community but they should not hit Congress in
Muslims have electoral strength in Assam, Bengal, Bihar,
UP, Kerala, and some parts of AP, Karnatak and Maharashtra. In
other states (Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Orissa, Tamil
Nadu, small NE states) their population is about 5% (9% in
Gujarat). So they have to strategize accordingly.
In the post Gujarat election, Muslims have to develop a strong
all-India strategy to isolate Modi in Gujarat state and not let
him be a leader anywhere outside Gujarat. That should be their clear
The writer is
Washington based activist. He can reached at email@example.com