Trouble seems to be mounting for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat. The perception that the Election Commission withheld announcement of poll dates there at the BJP’s behest so as to enable it to announce sops which it did does the party’s image no good. It is now in the unenviable position of not only facing onslaughts from the Opposition, but also dealing with growing disillusionment with it for a host of reasons from economic distress in the aftermath of ill-advised moves like demonetisation and goods and services tax and joblessness to the dip in GDP.
The revelation by Hardik Patel’s aide Narendra Patel that he was offered bribe to join the BJP
was a huge blow to the party. The quitting of another Patel leader, Nikhil Sawani, after joining it a fortnight ago is another indication that the BJP’s chances are getting slimmer by the day. A grand social and political coalition is taking shape with Alpesh Thakore, Jignesh Mevani and Hardik Patel representing OBCs. Narendra Modi’s emotional appeal and invocation of Gujarat asmita (pride) betray a lack of confidence in his party’s prospects. That Rahul Gandhi
pulls crowds and relates to the people while delivering his speeches on the campaign trail must enthuse the Congress workers and worry the BJP.
G David Milton, Maruthancode
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