The poll results have not only put to rest the talk about Modi's
"mass appeal" and "charisma", but have also prompted attacks on him
from within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). BJP leaders are
also saying it was probably a mistake to have projected him as a
future prime minister.
But in the status quo lies a major loss of face for Narendra Modi.
Unlike in 2004, this time Modi assumed the role of one of the lead
campaigners for BJP, was touted as a dynamo of development and
projected as the party's prime ministerial aspirant for the next Lok
Sabha polls. Considering his top billing, the fact that under him
the party actually lost vote share in his state shows up the limits
of his appeal.
Results of Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat have nothing much to console
Bharatiya Janata Party and its star campaigners the Prime
Ministerial candidate L K Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra
Modi. BJP has won 15 seats in Gujarat, one more than the seats it
had got in 2004 elections.
The victory by one seat in the state which has 26 parliamentary
constituencies may give numerical edge to BJP to boast positive
achievement, but the performance of candidates in the election
battle reflects a sad story of BJP.
For almost one year BJP was projecting Advani as its Prime Minister
candidate and like US elections it wove its entire campaign round
Advani. However, from the word go for these elections, anti Advani
mood of voters of Gandhinagar constituency was evident and really
became a tough challenge by the last week of the elections.
Advani, Modi and team of senior BJP leaders had to work overtime for
crisis management to plug the holes Congress candidate Suresh Patel
drilled in Advani’s bastion. Even after the polling, BJP managers
felt panic waves on possibility of Advani defeat. Though Advani has
won, his margin has been drastically reduced giving Suresh Patel a
sense of satisfaction of dignified defeat by 1,21,747 votes. Last
time, Advani had won this seat by 2,17,000 votes.
In Gandhinagar constituency Advani polled 4.34 lakh votes while
Patel got 3.12 lakh votes. Reduction in victory margin by almost
half in the background of extra time efforts by BJP leaders is
certainly a very costly victory for the Prime Ministerial candidate.
BJP leaders are trying to turn the defeat of two union ministers
Naran Rathwa and Shankarsinh Vaghela as prize catch in Gujarat.
Vaghela is no doubt a big gun. He lost in Panchmahal he lost to
Prabhatsinh Chauhan of BJP by over 2000 votes. It was not a keen
tussle between Vaghela and Chauhan that brought humiliation to the
great BJP rebel Vaghela. Two candidates, one of BJP and a muslim
candidate of LJP have got 34,000 votes in Panchmahal. That proved a
fatal blow to the ballot prospectus of Vaghela and not the ballot
box of Chauhan.
Of the 26 seats, 15 have been won by BJP and ten by the Congress.
The result of Kheda seat where Union Minister Dinsha Patel is
contesting against BJP candidate is withheld because of problem in
one EVM. Patel is already 305 votes ahead of BJP candidate. The EVM
has votes of an area with Muslim votes only. Both Congress and BJP
admit that Patel will be the victor.
This time BJP had more than half a dozen candidates from Congress.
Though they had tainted record, BJP had chosen them because of their
muscle sway in the area to make a clean sweep in the elections
dropping many of its stalwarts on the pretext of new faces.
Something like old congress wine in
new BJP bottle. Despite this logistics, the result is one up, with a
pained and strained thumb!