Some people believe that the renewed enthusiasm of Congress party led by Mr. Rahul Gandhi will produced a surprise Congress victory. And indeed the performance of Congress in the past few months, based on media coverage and positive social media response, indicates that there is some merit to this argument. But I believe BJP will win the elections hands down. Let me quickly enumerate a few reasons.
Shared communal DNA
Gujarat is a Hindu majority state and Hindus are, by and large, communal, yes, even the marginalized ones. Reasons for Hindu communalism have been discussed in detail elsewhere. It is sufficient to say that the Hindu communalism varies only in degrees. And BJP has successfully tapped into our communal DNA to convince us that majoritarian communalism is an essential positive virtue and a prerequisite for growth and prosperity of our county.
Due to saturation media campaigns depcting success in economics, fight on terror, law and order, international outreach, anti-corruption, muslim containment, etc., people see a purposeful Hindu government, with a Hindus first agenda, fighting hard to Make India Great Again. Who can have a problem with that?
Ground realities don’t matter much, people believe what they want to believe. 1930s?
So no matter how much Congress and the likes point to the failures of the government or its communal agenda, people will not turn against a party that they believe is working for them and winning. Rahul Gandhi can do all the temple visiting he likes, but for the people of India only BJP (along with the larger RSS family) represents the interests and honour of Hindus and Hindutva.
Grievances are not enough for relationships to break down
It has been repeatedly pointed out that recent governmental debacles like De-monetisation, botched GST implementation, slow economic performance, anti-incumbency etc., will turn people away from BJP and push them into the waiting arms of the Congress party. It doesn’t work that way. Relationships don’t break down because of grievances, they break down when at least one side loses hope of reconciliation due to a lack of commitment, effort, empathy, responsibility, etc., and to their credit, BJP has made sure that they appear sincerely committed to the cause of their electorate. So the possibility of people abandoning BJP due to economic issues is moot, especially when those issues have been cleverly laced with the nation building and anti-corruption narratives.
So as long as people are convinced that BJP is doing or trying to do everything it can for them, they will not abandon it. And people are convinced.
What about patidar agitation, dalit identity assertion, farmer distress, etc?
We need to understand that everyone’s experience of an event/tragedy/calamity/problem is different. Some are affected more then others and vice-versa. So the cause of these unrests may be deep but not every one feels them with the same intensity. Not every Patidar will abandon his relationship with the ruling party. And BJP can always makup for the lost Patidar votes by cozying-up with some other caste group(s) of which there are many in Gujarat.
Same goes for dalits and farmers. Dalits are not a unified block. There are many caste divisions that can be easily played against each other. There are no signs of the entire dalit fraternity coming together to vote against BJP en-mass.
As for farmer distress and associated issues, farmers too are caste-conscious. They also consider caste and other allegiances before voting. And not every farmer shares same distress across the state so its hard to believe they will vote against BJP en-mass.
So once more BJP it is in Gujarat
So to conclude, a Congress victory in Gujarat is an unlikely event. Congress may be able to increase its vote share and post a few surprise victories here and there but BJP with Mr. Narendra Modi is heading for yet another victory. Some may say, anything can happen in politics, and its true, but I don’t see ‘anything’ happening this time in Gujarat.
Hinduta is BJP’s Excalibur!